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Do you ever look back on your plant crushes from the early years, when you were a beginning gardener? I definitely went through a flower-floosy stage in my mid 20’s. Then there were the anti-color years. I don’t think I’d even heard the romantic notion of an all-white blooming moon garden but I was still obsessed with the idea of keeping out those annoying colorful flowers, only the white ones for me!

Once my love for foliage took center stage I embraced variegation, again preferring shades of white – I liked the stark contrast. I remember a dynamic duo of ribbon grass (Phalaris arundinacea ‘Picta’) and variegated iris planted quite near each other, the idea makes me shudder now. What was I thinking?

As my tastes have changed I’ve found myself shying away from white in the garden. Flowers, foliage, containers…all of it. My eyes read white like a spotlight, or a sort of black hole, sucking everything in, calling far too much attention to itself. Instead I’m drawn to yellow and green variegation, or increasingly green on green.

The daphniphyllum below (and the star of last week’s blog post) is a perfect example of what I mean. Sure the pink petioles crank up the attraction factor…
daphniphyllum my garden winter

But it looks pretty darn fabulous the rest of the year too (photo taken at Hersonwood).
daphniphyllum Heronswood

My first plant purchase of 2015 was Ceanothus griseus var. horizontalis ‘Diamond Heights’ from the 40% off rack at my local nursery, Garden Fever. Sure it looks a little sad but what do you want for $3.50? And those leaves that are alive? Love them and I’m hoping they’ll soon be joined by others.
Ceanothus griseus var. horizontalis 'Diamond Heights'

I’ve been harboring a crush on this variegated Fatsia japonica since I saw it in a friend’s garden, and I think I’m ready to make the purchase the next time I spot it at a nursery.
variegated Fatsia japonica at Seans

Similar leaves, but smaller, x Fatshedera lizei ‘Annemieke’ is another favorite. I could stare at those leaves for hours. Seriously.
x Fatshedera lizei 'Annemieke'

A gift from a friend, I’ve never had certain I.D. on this variegated ginkgo. It could be Ginkgo biloba ‘Summer Rainbow’ or maybe ‘Majestic Butterflies’, either way those leaves are so much more interesting than a solid green, don’t you think?
variegated ginkgo

Agaves! Of course I even have a few green on green variegated agaves. Agave funkiana ‘Fatal Attraction’
Agave funkiana 'fatal attraction'

And Agave lophantha ‘Splendida’, which has variegation on the top of the leaves…
Agave lophantha 'Splendida' 1

And the bottom.
Agave lophantha 'Splendida' 2

I’m not 100% sure this is Agave victoriae-reginae ‘Kazo Bana’ as I can’t find the label but it was lust at first sight when I spotted this gorgeous agave at B&B Cactus Farm in Tucson, AZ. They did a fine job of shipping it to me…
Agave victoriae-reginae 'Kazo Bana'ed

Looks like the beginnings of an obsession right? Well like every good collector I’m on the hunt for more and would love to hear any suggestions you have for adding to the green on green mix. In the mean time I think I might be ordering these…