Next time you hit the local garden center, think leaves. Flowers may come and go as the growing season wears on, but foliage remains vibrant nearly nonstop.
"People often don't realize that foliage plants present a kaleidoscope of color possibilities, from gold and chartreuse to blue-green, red, burgundy, purple, and nearly black," says gardening expert Nancy J. Ondra, author of Foliage: Astonishing Color and Texture Beyond Flowers. Some plants have leaves of a single color; others are variegated with stripes or spots. Leaves may be soft and round, straight and spiky, big, medium, or little. In other words, you can get almost any look you imagine. Focusing on foliage can trim time and trouble from your yard work as well.
TOH Tip: Some foliage plants do produce flowers, which you can leave or clip. Removing flower stalks when they're still small produces minimal garden waste and keeps leaves more lush, since all the plant's energy goes into them. This also prevents plants from forming seeds, so you don't have to worry about unwelcome offspring.