Foliage Follow Up – November 2014


With my interest in plants becoming more and more foliage based there are few flowers in the garden at the moment.  However, the garden is still full of colour and texture from the various evergreens.  I adore the Melianthus major; it hasn’t stopped performing all year.  Grown from seed probably three years ago this plant is around 4ft high now.  I have two other plants all grown from seed at the same time but they are much smaller and in shadier situations so it shows how much the plant benefits from some direct sunshine.


And you can’t go wrong with Fatsia japonica for evergreen interest.  This plant is probably around 7ft tall and is smothered in flowers at the moment.  I see so many Fatsias planted out in full sun looking ill and more yellow than green; despite their exotic looks they need shade to do well.


A plant that is increasingly growing on me is Buddleja salviafolia.  A new acquisition this year which seems to like its location on the back bank.  The leaves are gloriously soft and velvety a little like Stachys byzantina.  It will be interesting to see how it fairs through the winter.


It wouldn’t be a Foliage Follow Up post without the inclusion of some ferns. The two I have chosen are deciduous so will probably disappear in the next couple of weeks.  Above is Athryium niponicum, the most elegant of ferns. This variety is probably ‘Burgundy Lace’.  Below is an unknown fern although I suspect it is another Athryium as the foliage shape seems very similar to the Athryium niponicum. I like the warm buttery tones it takes on in the Autumn which until recently were picking on up on the autumn colouring of the Prunus kojo-no-mai which it is planted by.



Another plant that delivers in more season than one is the Kirengshoma palmata whose leaves also take on a buttery tone as they fade.


Getting to the other end of the size range to the Fatsia we have cyclamens which are really winning me over.  I find myself buying them for their foliage rather than the flowers which are to be honest either white or a shade of pink. But who could not fall for the marbling on the leaves above.  I am pretty sure this is Cyclamen hederifolium but this assumption is based purely on the fact that it is an autumn flowering cyclamen.  Below is another one and you can see how much the leaves can differ.


I have recently discovered Cyclamen graecum which generally have darker green leaves and the one below was bought because of the darkness of the leaves.  It is still a young plant but hopefully in a year or two it will be stunning.


For more foliage follow up posts visit Pam at Digging – a favourite haunt of mine on a grey damp Autumn day.

14 Comments on “Foliage Follow Up – November 2014

  1. It will be interesting to see if that lovely buddleia is hardy, Helen. The cyclamen really cheered me as well!

    • Hi Cathy
      It should be and is fairly sheltered. I will give it a good mulch to protect the roots

  2. Love the Melianthus have grown mine from seed last year, I gave one to a neighbour and it has grown to 150 mts and flowered , it is in full sun. Mine is in a lot of shade so I think it will be moved next year…. 🙂

  3. Helen,I love the Athyrium niponicuum family too…I’ve got one named ‘Ghost’ that I bought at a local nursery , very pale and etheal, and looks lovely with the cyclamen coum. Want to get more but it is proving elusive locally! For autumn colour I am very impressed with Epimedium x versicolor Versicolor that I purchased at Keith Wiley’s talk, looks great planted with my apricot hardy chrysanthemum.

  4. That Melianthus is really gorgeous. And I love the way the water forms on the serrated edges. The burgandy lace Athryium is also beautilful. You mentioned Kirengshoma palmata reminded me to look it up and yay – it likes Acid/Neutral soil and shade – perfect for my Long Shady Border. I’ve been admiring this plant for a while so I’ve now added it to my want list. Thanks for the inspiration Helen, and for reminding us just how gorgeous foliage is.

  5. A buttery fern is such a nice thing in the autumn garden. I love all your selections, Helen. The melianthus will forever remind me of Danger Garden, as she features it so often on her blog.

    • hi Pam
      I can understand why Danger features it on her blog so much, it appears a lot on mine too

  6. You have reminded me to buy another Melianthus Major, I had one for a number of years but the cold winter of 2010/11 finally killed it off and I still haven’t replaced it. It really has the most beautiful foliage, in shape and colour, a must for any garden.

  7. That melianthus major leaf is looking soooo beautiful !!! How winterhardy is it ? I have a fatsia japonica in my garden, it is in the shade but doesn’t grow well, do you give it a lot of feed or what ? yours is looking great !

  8. That melianthus looks postively glowing Helen. Mine is looking rather sad. How is your fatsia japonica ‘Spider’s Web’ doing?

    • hi Anna
      Fatsia Spiders Web is doing OK and I did have a photo but I forgot to include it

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