Learning To Love Green
Amateur Gardening|March 27, 2021
Forget the razzle-dazzle of brazen yellows, blazing reds and shocking purples, the colour of sophistication and quiet beauty is green, says Graham Rice
Graham Rice

GREEN is the predominant colour in all our gardens. Foliage is green, our lawns are green, some people even paint their sheds green or lay green plastic turf – so why would we also want green flowers? There are two answers.

The first is that green flowers have an unexpected quiet beauty that is always appealing. Clearly, they don’t stand out as scarlet or yellow flowers do but the fact that our first glance misses them and then they register with us a moment later gives their presence a special kick.

Plants with green flowers also allow us to create some intriguing plant associations by grouping them with coloured foliage, in particular bronze and coppery shades, as well as silver and grey.

Perfect for arranging

The second answer as to the value of green flowers comes with the discipline of flower arranging. In classic flower arrangements, in more contemporary hand-tied and other informal bouquets and in smaller, place-setting-scale posies, we get to inspect all our flowers a little more closely than we do in our beds and borders. And on this more intimate scale we come to appreciate the structure in green flowers, the arrangement of the petals and the other floral parts through subtlety of colour, without the dazzling distraction of the rest of the rainbow.

Greater variety than you think

And there’s such a variety of shapes and sizes in green flowers. From the green mist of alchemilla to the dramatic dangling tassels of Amaranthus caudatus ‘Viridis’ and the dainty bells of nicotiana. There’s the big green daisies of echinacea, our native hellebores feature green flowers, and there’s the unexpected variety of green chrysanthemums, large and small, in a range of flower forms.

There’s even a green relation of the sweet pea, Lathyrus chloranthus, but few other climbers, although a number of winter clematis have pronounced green tints.

Green flowered shrubs are also a little thin on the ground. Hydrangeas top the list, although there’s also a rhododendron with pale green flowers, and one of the most lovely of flowering shrubs, Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’, starts out with heads of green flowers, although they mature to white. ‘Roseum’ is supposed to describe the shape (like a rose), not the colour of the balls of florets but I can’t see it, myself.

Such a variety! I’m sure you’ll find something green and subtle to try.

Green options for all needs

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