Year round foliage color for bright shade
An example from a recent garden installation. Probably one of my less drought tolerant garden designs of late, but the clients were more concerned with having a garden that fit well aesthetically with the shingled Arts and Craft style of the home. The client is a well known architect here in Berkeley, and had already installed all the hard scape before they asked me to help with the planting design. The garden really needs another few months to fill in before I take final portfolio shots, but this one section has filled in nicely. Both Bruce and Linda said they preferred I not use any succulents, and I know they weren't really wild about the idea of bromeliads as not being very "traditional". Instead of designing this garden on paper, I brought out the plants I intended to use, spotted them in the garden, and asked them to say "yeah or neh" on the spot. I think they have been generally pleased with the choices, and more so as they fill in. Additionally, Linda is color blind and doesn't clearly distinguish between reds and greens, so I felt that bringing plants to the job site and getting her reaction on-site was a much safer way to get the colors right; I really wanted the garden to be as colorful for Linda as everyone else, so went after a lot of variegated foliage and bright color contrasts.
I understand that the Oxalis spiralis aurea is a hot new introduction from Proven Winners, promoted as a summer annual in parts of the country where it isn't perennial. I've been using this for the past 15 years here in California gardens, and glad to see it getting exposure elsewhere for gardens, because it really is useful for the effects it gives. (Assuming that chartreuse isn't beating a dead horse for you aesthetically, I know the chartreuse/purple foliage combo is almost a cliche these days).
http://www.flickr.com/photos/20217462@N ... 6468683350