Enchanted Forest Series: Best Ideals to add Bright Greens and Colour to Your Garden


My inspiration for colour: Enchanted Forest in the movie Snow White and the Huntsman
After watching the movie Snow White and the Huntsman I started dreaming of turning our yard and garden into an enchanted forest.  I've been working on a post about my ideals inspired by the ideal of an enchanted forest for a long time now and I realized today working on it that I have just too many good ideals to put them all in one post.  I was really trying to write 7 posts into one.  So I'm going to turn this into a series and this post will be the first in the series.   In part two we will look at how to attract wildlife.  And part 3 how to add whimsey and mystery to your garden.  Because what's an enchanted forest without life?
So what makes a forest and enchanted forest?  Here's what I think makes an enchanted forest.  
 In this post we will address how to add lots of bright green with pops of colour to your yard or garden in small spaces (since our yard is small) while still maximizing veggie output.  In the next posts we will look at how to add wild life, charm and whimsy.

Add Bright Green Colour With Plants and Moss

Have you noticed in the picture of the enchanted forest above how green everything is with pops of bright colour.  Come to think of it every garden I've ever considered pretty always has lots of bright green.  It's pretty just by itself, but when paired with colour it makes the colours stand out even more.  


Just Add Moss

Moss Covered Objects
Nothing says romantic landscape like moss.  Just put in the search terms moss garden or forest in an image search and almost every image looks dreamy.  luckily it's easy to add almost anywhere you want even without dirt. 

Once you have some moss you can just keep using it to grow more.  Luckily I have a patch of lawn that's always water logged and therefore mossy so I am hoping that will work.  Look for posts to come this spring and summer about how I try to add moss to our yard.  You can use already made fake moss objects, add fake moss to objects, or you can grow your own moss by putting some moss with water and buttermilk, yogurt, or beer in a blender and painting it to your desired surface (make sure it's porous like a rock or bricks).  There are different variations on how to do this.  One I found said to use moss, beer, sugar, and water.   Another tutorial said to use moss, buttermilk water and water stabilizer.  And yet another said to use yogurt, beer, buttermilk, sugar, and moss.  Welcome to Whimsy says to just use buttermilk, water, and moss and also has great tips on growing it on different surfaces and maintaining it too with personal tips from her own experience.

DIY Moss covered balls these would be cute hanging from a tree or structure Tutorial at Love Megan  

Moss covered high heels or maybe a purse?   Could be featured like artwork in the garden    image via Francois Weeks


Moss Covered Furniture
Moss covered furniture  found via the knot
 I love this ideal, just not for wood furniture.  Something tells me adding moss to wood won't help with durability, so I would suggest trying this on metal or plastic furniture.  This would be a great way to spruce up any old outdoor furniture!

Add Lots of Green Plants In Containers
One easy way to add green plants are with green plants in large containers. Since we don't have a lot of garden space I plan to plant green veggies. 

Green Veggies that You Can Grow in Containers
This year I plan to collect a lot of large planters at estate sales this spring and add green edibles like lettuce, kale, and spinach.  I also plan to plant grapes as well as green herbs in containers. 

Check out how to regrow lettuce from stumps from Peculiaritie
I plan to try to grow some lettuce from stumps leftover from our produce.  We haven't done this yet.  As anyone tried this?  I plan to try this with a lot of other produce this year so of course there will be posts coming on this.

Add green to your garden and grow food with this grape vine trained tree in a pot.  Check out other cool stuff like this in the book "Grow up! by Susan Morrison and Rebecca Sweet. 
I also plan to try to grow a grape tree in a container.  We've never grown grapes ever and I've been wanting to but I can't add any pre-annuals to our yard until we get geothermal in a few years (we're waiting until the energy tax breaks expire).   This will be perfect for us.  I can't wait to try this.   Has anyone ever done this? 

If you want to grow green plants that aren't edible here are my favourite picks.

Low Maintenance Green Plants that You Can Grow in Containers
 
Box woods in containers via A Well Traveled Women

Trimmed box woods provide great structure and year round green to any space.  Why not put them in containers so you can move them around where you pleaseShrubs are a great option for patios or small spaces and shrubs are pretty low maintenance. They're great to define an entrance or create privacy too.
 
Before planting losen up any root bound roots.  Find more tips at Fiskars

So what type of boxwood will work in a container?  In order to find some suitable boxwoods for containers and zone 4 (Minneapolis is zone 4) I visted Saunders Brothers Nursery's website and checked the boxes for zone 4, green foliage, and containers and what came up was Chicagoland Green Boxwood, Green Mound Boxwood, Green Mountain Boxwood, Green Velvet Boxwood.  If the pot and plant will be outdoors all year round, choose a heavy pot that can withstand freezes (very important in MN) and a plant hardy enough to weather winter conditions in your climate.  According to some one on pinterest, "‘Green Mountain’ boxwood (Buxus ‘Green Mountain’, Zones 4–9) is a slow-growing shrub that, unlike many other boxwoods, retains a dark green color throughout the winter. I particularly like this cultivar because it grows into a graceful pyramid rather than turning into a meatballshaped shrub. It’s tough, but living in a container will keep it smaller than its normal 5-foot height and 3-foot width. Place ‘Green Mountain’ away from strong winds in a semishaded location if possible."


Add Pops Of Colour  

Obviously an easy way to add colour is to add bright coloured flowers, but since we are limited in space (and especially space that gets sun) we try to use that space to grow veggies, so the question is what veggies can I grow that are pretty and colourful and what flowers can I grow in small places or shade.  Here are my Top picks:

Colourful Heirloom Veggies
 Check out more great colourful veggie ideals at Better Homes and Garden
Heirloom Tomatoes come in lots of different colours  Cherokee Purple, yellow 'Lemon Boy', pink 'Brandywine', 'Green Zebra', orange 'Tangella', and creamy 'Snow White' are just a few ideals.  We've grown heirloom tomatoes before but the only colours (besides red) we have tried is Cherokhoee Purple.  They grew to be huge tomatoes, great for making sauce.  They did crack a lot more than my other tomatoes at the time that were much snaller.  What's your favourite heirloom tomato?

Some other heirloom vegetables we've tried are purple podded pole beans (pictured below), and purple basil.  We also grew purple broccoli (pictured below), but I don't think that's heirloom.  I like purple veggies because it's unexpected (except for eggplant) and the colour pops so beautifully against green.  I also think if you don't have many opportunities to add colour it's best to pick just one or two colours to plant since it will make a bigger impact.

Our heritage purple podded pole beans with pretty purple blooms
from Seed Savers Exchange 2012
Our Purple broccoli 2012
our purple basil and beets end of August 2012

Check out this colourful garden photograhed by Laura Berman Green Fuse Photography
I love the use of bright low peppers (Medusa hot peppers) as a boarder and colourful swiss chard in the back (bright lights, and rainbow)

Colourful Low Maintenance Flowers For Small Urban Spaces

I love this pic from Celadonsusan via flicker
Since we don't have a lot of space in the sun to devote to flowers we need low maintance plants used in creative ways or flowers that can tolerate shade. One creative way to add flowers to a small space is to use cracks.  My inspiration for this is the photo above by Celadonsusan.  The extra bonus of planting cracks is that hopefully it will crowd out the weeds.  I plan to try this in the steps we have, our concrete paths, and in the cracks in the pathway in our garden.
Alpine Rock CressCheck out Dave's Garden for more hardy prennuals

Most likely I will plant with Alpine Rock Cress (Arabis alpina) which according to Dave's Garden is "low growing (6 to 12 inches) perennial that blooms light pink to white blooms and grows best in full to partial sun. Hardy to Zone 3, it is one of the first plants to bloom in early Spring even in very cold climates. It is easily propagated by cutting and also by burying shoots in soil to create new roots. Alpine rock cress makes an excellent rock garden plant or a ground cover among spring bulbs."  This could be pretty to use in areas in place of mulch or a lawn too.  I also think it would be a great accent to a walkway like the pic below.

Chapel of Kate Moss's wedding via Serendipity
I also love the ideal of using wire boarders as a trellis for flowers as pictured in BHG (Better Home and Gardens) below.  Maybe I'll do this with our Garage (which we really use as a shed) with a bright coloured pre annual climbing flower.

Vertical Gardening with a wire boarder via BHG
 How do you add colour to your garden?  I'd love to hear your ideals and stay tune for more post in this series How to make your Garden Into an Enchanted forest.  Next we will look at how to add wildlife into your garden.

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Check out other posts in our Enchanted Garden Series:
Enchanted Forest Series Part 2: Best Ideals For Attracting Wildlife to Your Garden
Enchanted Forest Series Part 3: Best Ideals to add Whimsy and Mystery to Your Garden 
How to Create an Enchanted Fairly Forest Garden 

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