Sharp White

I've described some of the types of plants I have growing in the Gravel Garden but not the color scheme. You can see in the photo that accompanies that post that I have some orange Portulacea flowers and that is largely what I have gone for, warm sunset accent colors because they go so well with the color tones of the succulents. Orange is gorgeous with grayish foliage and I remember that red tassel flower looking spectacular against the blue green foliage.

Getting those colors in is still a work in progress with failures like the Portulacea - too messy. I tried a few orange flowered Kalanchoe, they just didn't like it there which is this garden's most challenging problem, a hostile, dry, hot environment. What has worked so far is some Euphorbia Milii including a dwarf variety and a potted Lantana. Both the Jartropha Podagrica, and Pereskia keep in constant bloom. Other constants are the berries of Ficus Deltoidea and occasionally the Duranta Erecta throws out these strings of orange beads.

What also works is adding the contrast of white and not necessarily flowers. I have variegated accents like the Agave Angustifolia Marginata with its white edges pictured above left. I also have a white striped Sansevieria Guineensis, pictured right, in the background. In the top right of that photo you also see some leaves of some Pineapple plants that I planted from some discarded crowns, their dusty white leaves in perfect harmony. In the foreground is an attention grabbing Euphorbia Lactea White ghost. It looks like its been dipped in a white glaze.

Speaking of white glazes, I'm on lookout for more white pots like the one pictured where the glaze is  imperfect as opposed to a clean opaque white which tends to have a colder cast. Also the brushed on quality seems to echo how the white  variegation is expressed in foliage.  I'm also thinking on other ways to get this white element into this space like some whitewashed outdoor furniture. I also like how the bleached look of driftwood would fit in quite nicely here, an idea sparked by seeing this in Singapore's Gardens by the Bay.

When I say 'sharp' white, I am really alluding to the fact that tending to a garden full of thorny plants is a new and painful experience. This in fact deserves a post of its own dedicated to this subject later but let me just say for now, ouch, is the operative word when weeding. Besides the straight forward stab that is likely from the agave, there's also the grazing of the spines on the pineapple leaves that, certainly for me, cause a mild allergic reaction. Wickedest of all is the Pereskia but I'll whine about that another time.


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