Elegant SilversDesigning With Elegant Silvers

Silvers are the shimmering chameleons of the plant kingdom. Their silvery appearance is caused by water-conserving hairs, scales, powder, waxy coatings or air bubbles. The beauty and drought-tolerance of familiar downy silvers such as lamb’s ears and artemisias have long made them favorites in the herb garden and perennial border. Elegant Silvers: Striking Plants for Every Garden, photographed and co-authored by Karen, explores the entire range of these distinctive plants, from grey to almost white to icy blue, including grasses, succulents, tiny alpines, soaring evergreens, herbs, shrubs, perennials, native plants, tropicals and subtropicals.

Silvers were designed by nature to withstand extremes of heat, cold, drought, wind, or, in the case of variegated silvers, to grow in shade. Although many of these plants are adapted to poor soils and desiccating conditions from seaside to mountain and desert (making them especially useful where water – or the gardener’s enthusiasm for watering – are limited), many will also thrive in humid climates or richer or moister garden soils. The silver palette includes many plants that are fragrant, useful and deer-resistant.

Nature’s practical gift of silver plants brings a magical dimension to our gardens. Silver at its purest isn’t a color at all, but the very essence of light. It is elusive, changing with light and season. Silver can be a retiring background or the star of the show, garish or subtle, soothing or distinctly exciting. Silver plants have a unique ability to intensify other colors or to knit them together. It is in relationship to other plants that silvers truly shine.

In Designing With Elegant Silvers I show how gardeners across the United States have used these stalwart plants in containers, borders or the larger landscape. I pay special attention to the use of regionally appropriate silvers, protective adaptations, using color and texture to create exciting combinations and historical uses from medieval times to modern xeriscaping.

Contact Karen to book this talk.