Grey doesn’t have to be synonymous with dull and dreary, and it need not be the last colour you consider when planning a garden. Grey-green and bluish-green foliage add depth to any landscape. Grey plants are highly desirable choices for the garden because they are hardy and need less water than other plants do. And, when it’s full moon, you can admire the way in which their filmy foliage is illuminated by the moonlight.
There are a number of Echeveria species, which are all members of the Crassulaceae family of succulents. This attractive plant, with its fleshy leaves arranged in rosettes, is well suited to dry corners in your garden as it doesn’t need much water. Echeveria also makes an excellent pot plant because it looks beautiful all year long and doesn’t need much attention. Plant them in well-drained soil, and place them in a sunny spot where there is good air circulation.
Finding something that is both functional and attractive to plant in the spaces in-between stepping stones or sleepers in your garden path, is always a challenge. Dymondia margaretae (silver carpet) with its dark green and grey foliage is a ground-hugging creeper that forms a carpet that will effectively soften the area between the stones. It is hardy so it won’t die off if people walk on it. Tiny yellow flowers on short stems will appear now and then, adding charm to your pathway. It’s also an excellent ground cover on slopes because it binds the soil, reducing erosion.
The hairy, silvery-grey leaves of the everlasting Helichrysum petiolare (liquorice plant) creeping over the rim of this wooden box soften the sharp lines of the container. In summer, it puts on a beautiful show when it produces creamy white flowers. The leaves feel wonderful to the touch and give off an enchanting scent when you rub them between your fingers, so place the box in a sunny corner of your garden where you like to spend time. Bear in mind, however, that the liquorice plant doesn’t have a very long lifespan and needs to be cut back regularly.
Finish off your lawn and keep it under control by edging it with pebbles in natural shades of grey and brown. Place a layer of plastic with some drainage holes punched into it beneath the pebbles to keep out weeds. The grey pebbles provide a visual contrast between the lawn and the hedge that would otherwise blend into one. On a clear evening, the grey pebbles will also reflect the moonlight so that children running around on the grass will easily be able to tell where the lawn ends.
Text and image: Ideas