Foliage Follow Up December 2014 – Variegation

Fatsia japonica 'Spiders Web'
Fatsia japonica ‘Spiders Web’

If you were to ask me if I liked variegated foliage I wouldn’t immediately say yes but then again I wouldn’t immediately say no either.  It’s not something I have a firm opinion on and I don’t really understand why some people say such things as ‘I don’t like yellow flowers in my garden’ as there are so many shades of yellow, different shaped flowers and it depends on different light etc.  But I like foliage – a lot. So it isn’t that big a leap when you are fascinated with texture, colour and form of leaves and how they work together to start to develop an interest in variegation.

Arum
Arum

Walking around the garden to take foliage for this monthly meme hosted by Pam over at Digging I realised just how many variegated plants I have and of course at this time of year the variegated plants really come into their own.

Bergenia cordifolia 'Tubby Andrews'
Bergenia cordifolia ‘Tubby Andrews’

However, it is clear from these photographs that I prefer the white, grey, green variegations more than the yellow/green variegations.  I do like the Bergenia above but the yellow is a pale yellow rather than the bright yellow of plants such as Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’ which I really don’t like at all.

Cyclamen hederifolium
Cyclamen hederifolium
Cyclamen hederifolium
Cyclamen hederifolium
Cyclamen hederifolium
Cyclamen hederifolium

I find the variation of the variegated foliage in Cyclamen hederifolium particularly fascinating.  You do get some amazing patterns and now that my cyclamen are seeding around the garden it will be interesting to see what new leaf patterns form. I really like the top almost silver form and if you look at the Arum picture above you can see some other silver leaves which are of a Pulmonaria seedling, which I am really pleased with and am hoping I will be able to divide.

Euphorbia characias 'Silver Swan'
Euphorbia characias ‘Silver Swan’

And I will finish with my most obvious variegated plant in the garden – Euphorbia characias ‘Silver Swan’ which is always magical when it has rained or there has been a frost or dew.

For more foliage follow up posts visit Pam at Digging in Austin.

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13 Comments Add yours

  1. I can see what you mean about the leaf patterns on the cyclamen – quite magical!

  2. Noelle says:

    The patterns are fascinating and your pictures are showcasing this. They are going to get me out into the gloom and seeking out any interesting little gems in mine. Many thanks.

  3. It’s interesting that you started with fatsia japonica ‘Spider’s Web’ as that featured on one of my recent posts.
    I think it depends on what you are trying to achieve in the garden as to whether variegation fits in. If it is a cool woodland garden, then bright variegation is going to stand out like a sore thumb. But if it is an area where foliage is dominant, mixing purples, blues, greys, then variegation works well. My favourite variegated shrub is euonymus ‘Silver Queen,’ but ‘Emerald Gaiety’ is a good alternative for those that don’t want to include yellow. Also look out for pulmonaria ‘Blake’s Silver’ as most of the seedlings come true.

  4. AnnetteM says:

    That is certainly a topic to divide opinions! When I once read a post on this subject I came down on the side of not liking variegation. Then, I looked round my garden!!! It is full of variegated plants and, as you say, they certainly brighten up a garden at this time of the year. I think it depends on the position and what they are with but it seems (from my garden) that I generally prefer the yellow type to the silver ones. Good job we are all different isn’t it? That said, your Cyclamen leaves are wonderful!

  5. Lovely. Silver swan is a great performer.

  6. Ogee says:

    A beautiful combination of too often overlooked foliage…so key to a garden.

  7. With this post you’ve pushed me even closer to taking the Cyclamen plunge, beautiful!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Go on Loree they are beautiful, you know you want to

  8. Pauline says:

    I like variegation too, but in moderation. I think I like green/white best but have to admit that some variegation just look as though the plant is sick or dying! Looking round the garden we do seem to have quite a lot, but we do have plain green to contrast with it.

  9. Pam/Digging says:

    Thanks for joining in again, Helen! I’d dearly love to have Silver Swan euphorbia, but somehow I suspect it would like my garden as much as Blackbird did — i.e., not at all. It’s such a beauty! Like you, I’m a fan of certain kinds of variegation but not all. I guess, as with art, taste for variegated plants is very subjective. BTW, your title has last year’s date. 🙂

  10. Linda from Each Little World says:

    Your Arum looks especially lovely next to the silver foliage.

  11. Love the deep rich greens in your photos, it’s going to be a pretty amazing spring.

  12. The silver and green variegation in some of those leaves are stunning – beautiful photos!

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