For nearly three years Christina of Creating my own garden of the Hesperides has been hosting the meme which focuses on foliage in the garden. I believe her intention was to explore the important role which foliage plays in the garden, and remind everyone that although flowers often steal the stage, foliage remains to carry the show. Going out this week with the intention of focusing on foliage surprised me in two ways. First of all I always assumed I was one of those “immature” gardeners who always falls for the flash of flowers and doesn’t have much foliage interest. That was wrong…. apparently nearly all flowers come with some kind of foliage (who knew!) and even the most flower blinded gardener will have foliage. Secondly I learned another important revelation…. my garden looks much, much better in close-ups!
Starting with A and Artemisia is as good place as any, and while we’re here I guess we’ll just keep going along the front street border. Soil improvement this spring and moving things around brought in plenty of seed-laced compost, and “Hopi Red Dye” amaranthus is easy to spot with its dark red leaves.
I like purple leaves, but I don’t think I can resist a plant with yellow foliage, and this “Golden Sunshine” willow was an impulse buy last year. Rabbits mowed it down last winter but willows don’t sulk and this one bounced right back. Actually I think cutting this one back to the ground each spring would probably be the best way to keep the bright new foliage coming.
If pushed I might even admit to having too much yellow foliage around the yard.
Here’s a little blue in the blue spruce I moved last spring…. and more yellow.
A foliage post without mentioning a cyclamen is just crazy, so here’s my little c. purpurascens plant (probably two or three plants since I see at least two leaf forms).
I took a lot of pictures so this may be all over the place, but I’ll try to finish up the front yard first. Sometimes people think of hosta when they hear the word foliage, and I’ve seen them in a few gardens here and there (just a few!). Here’s “August Moon” a favorite old variety which lightens to nearly white when in full sun.
Moving into the back near the (another yellow) sunflowers is the new heuchera patch. Someday you’ll suffer through an all out heuchera post, but until they grow in a bit I’ll let you off with just one.
The reason the heuchera can survive here is from the shade of a Seven Sons shrub/tree (heptacodium miconioides). My plant gets cankers and loses trunks every now and then but I hope it someday gets past that. Right now I’m enjoying the rich green of the curled stiff leaves. Kind of a coarse look, but for a guy with so many cannas and dahlias refinement isn’t one of my strong points.
Enough with the babbling. Look but don’t touch.
Almost good enough to eat, plants in the vegetable garden (or potager when I’m feeling fancy) also can put on a good show.
Not all the foliage news is good. Miscanthus giganteus was off to a good start but our dry spell threw it for a loop and killed off all the lower leaves.
Back by the house is a panicum “Cloud Nine” which is much more comfortable with drought. I hate this bed and constantly neglect it, but nature did its own thing and filled the gaps with rudbeckia, phlox, and patrina scabiosifolia seedlings. Sure beats the boring mulch I had there before.
So much for anything that even approaches subtlety. My tropicals come next, and first off are the geraniums (pelargoniums) which in my delusion and denial I have added to the overwinter and collect list.
A scented leaved geranium (pelargonium actually) with cut leaves, variegation and scent. Too much or something for everyone?
Another one to overwinter in the garage, my first aeonium is looking well. Hopefully it can handle the high-water location I planted it in -a pot with a variegated hebe and cape fuschia (phygelia).
Now to wrap things up (so I can finally get to work on the stupid basement tiling job I started) here are my foliage stars.
Morning light on the sunflower patch.
And same cannas at noon. A sculptural plant I think.
So that’s my foliage, thanks for sticking it out. I did manage to keep all the coleus out (but of course there’s still all of September for that) and I hope that gave a little relief, but I was really surprised by how much color and interest I get from foliage. Maybe I am growing up and my tastes are maturing…. but I hope not. I like my messes of color too much!
Thanks Christina for hosting and thanks for opening my eyes to all that foliage does in the garden.