Foliage Follow Up – September 2013

Aralia Cordata Sun King & Sorbaria
Aralia Cordata Sun King & Sorbaria

I’m beginning to enjoy the monthly Foliage Follow Up Meme more than the Garden Bloggers Bloom Day post.  It makes you really look at your plants and see what is interesting aside from the flowers.

This month I have two new additions to the garden (above) Aralia Cordata Sun King (paler broader leaf) and Sorbaria.  They are to go at the far end of the garden where I am beginning to create a kind of foliage screen to the fence.  They are both deciduous and the Sorbaria is meant to have good autumn colour.  I have been warned it can sucker but that’s fine as I need something to fill a biggish gap and I can always sell the suckers.

Melianthus major
Melianthus major

The Melianthus is my favourite foliage plants this month particularly as it had disappeared under rampant Cosmos and was looking sorry for itself.  It is now much happier and perky especially since we have had quite a bit of rain over the last week.


My unidentified Acer is beginning to change colour.  I was particularly struck with how it looks like someone has been daubing the leaves with a paint brush.  I can’t remember noticing this before but then I might not have been looking.

Castor Oil Plant
Castor Oil Plant

The Castor Oil plants have provided a wonderful contrast to the Dahlias and I find it amazing that they have grown as much as they have from seed in one year.  They are quite magnificent.


I do seem to like purple leaved plants like this Cornus and again they are providing a good back drop to the bright colours of the Dahlias and Chrysanthemums.

For more Foliage Follow Up posts pop over to Pam’s blog Digging

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Alison says:

    I planted that Aralia this spring, and it’s doing well, I love it! I planted a Rubus that suckers last year, and it’s kind of a PITA. I remember seeing a Sorbaria during the Seattle Fling a few years ago, and it was huge!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Alison
      What’s a PITA? I saw some beautiful Rubus on television the other day and was quite tempted

    2. Alison says:

      PITA = Pain in the Ass

  2. Pauline says:

    My Aralia has moved about 10ft in my border, all by itself! The original plant died, but then others have popped up just a few feet away, each year it moves about 2/3 ft. My Melianthus died in the bad winter of 2010, must buy another. Your foliage is stunning and I agree, it is so important, especially when there aren’t many flowers about.

  3. Ricki Grady says:

    Agreed: life beyond flowers is far more interesting. The photo with the raindrops on the Melianthus catches my eye.

  4. Anna says:

    I think that foliage often plays second fiddle to flowers Helen and it should be the other way around. What great veining in the castor oil leaf. I like your new additions especially the sorbaria.

  5. Scott Weber says:

    I’m always drawn to that ‘Sun King’ Aralia in nurseries…now I just have to find room for it 😉

  6. Pam/Digging says:

    So glad you’re enjoying the foliage meme, Helen! I love all your reddish purple leaves, especially the maple leaves that are already showing some autumn coloring. We won’t see any of that in Austin, TX, until December.

  7. Yvonne Ryan says:

    Yet another rampant weed here the melianthus in northern NZ! So pretty leaves and also the dark red towering flowers. At the Tutukaka property there is a clump 4×4 metres at least and 4 metres tall and thousands of seedlings!! Also I have commented about the olive oil plant! Rampant weed again yet so pretty. Our climate and conditions too kind for some plants. Had trip over to Tiritiri Matangi Island today that has been replanted with thousands of trees (the usual story of clearing forest off in the 1800’s to make ‘English farmland’ and now a flourishing forest island with thousands of endangered birds – oh the beautiful songs!!! I am exhausted – the ‘Old Grey Mare’ is not what she used to be!!!! Had lovely knowledgeable guide – fascinating!!

Please feel free to leave comments as its always lovely to get feedback. I try to respond to comments as much as possible but sometimes life and work get in the way but I will do my best to respond especially if your comment is a question.

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