Foliage Follow Up – June 2018

A day late but am joining in with Pam’s Foliage Follow Up meme.  I thought I would share some photos of my front garden which is in transition from its spring bulbs to late summer perennials.  However, I am thrilled at how much texture and interest there is at the moment just from the foliage.

There are numerous grasses including Stipa tenuissima, Molinia ‘Skyracer’, and Calamagrostis ‘Overdam’. The verticals are added to with Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ and another bronze leaved crocosmia which I don’t think I have ever known the name of, as well as a Phormium.

The horizontal leaves are made up of sedums, geraniums, euphorbia, rudbeckia, persicaria and asters.  Currently there is a pale chartreuse glow from the Alchemilla mollis. Airiness added with the bronze fennel (Foeniculum vulgare purpureum). The structure is provided by trees and shrubs including two different Sorbus, Grevillea‘Canberra Gem’, Grevillea victoriae, Corokia cotoneaster and Cotinus ‘Grace’.

 

Foliage Follow Up

Well lookee here two posts in three days! Anyway, I have been reading gardening posts this last few days especially those from across the pond because I am planning to go to the Garden Bloggers Fling in Austin in May and I want to reconnect with the blogs that inspired me some 9 years ago to start blogging.

One of the first blogs I started reading was Pam’s Digging.  Pam is based in Austin and her blog is very much about foliage plants especially those that thrive in the heat of Austin – lots of Agaves. I was fascinated by the different look of Pam’s garden and continue to find the difference fascinating. Anyway, Pam hosts a Foliage themed monthly blog on the 16th of each month, following on the day after Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, and having spent an hour or two starting to re-engage with the garden I thought I would do a foliage post, albeit 3 days late.

This combination is one of my favourites in the garden.  The Melianthus major IS my favourite foliage plant and I have three dotted around the garden, grown from seed some 5-6 years ago.  I especially love the leaves at this time of year when they sparkle with rain drops or morning frost. The abutilon was acquired three years ago and is thriving so much so that my son can’t see out of his workshop window sometimes.  In the top photo you can see Euphorbia characias ‘Silver Swan’ which I have also had for a few years and has to be heavily pruned from time to time.

To the left of the Euphorbia is Fatsia japonica ‘Spiders Web’, planted at the same time as the Euphorbia. This photo is an indicator of the state of the garden with one plant becoming swamped by another. It’s that fine line between the borders looking full and generous and looking neglected and overgrown.  I need to do some careful editing and some rejigging to give the plants more space but I have plans to gain a little more space by losing the top path which goes nowhere!

I have decided to embrace my love of foliage going forward which should have the benefit of keeping the garden looking interesting through most of the year.

 

 

Foliage Follow-Up – April 2017

Blechnum chilense

Sorry I’m a day late in joining in Pam’s Foliage Follow Up although to be honest it is months since I last joined in but I’m sure she will forgive me.  I thought I would take ferns as a theme this month especially as it is the month of the emerging ferny frond, with croziers and fiddleheads all over the place.

Onoclea sensibilis

Whilst Blechnum chilense (above) is an evergreen fern, many of my ferns are deciduous, going dormant over winter.  Onoclea sensibilis, better know as the Sensitive Fern, is one of the first to push up its fronds which initially emerge with a red hue to the stems but soon the frond and stem go a delicious soft green.  It needs moisture to do well, mine are in my old bog garden, and have a habit of dying back in the summer if it gets too hot.

Osmunda regalis

Osmunda regalis, the Royal Fern, is another one that benefits from some moisture.  These emerging fronds are my favourite ones each year.  I’m not sure if it is the elegance and fragility of their appearance of the grey/brown of the stems; whichever it might be I always know the season is progressing when they appear.

Athyrium niponicum

I have a number of Athyrium niponicum in the garden, this one may well be ‘Burgundy Lace’. I certainly have ‘Burgundy Lace’ somewhere and to be honest I struggle to tell the difference between the Athyrium niponicums at times. Anyway it is a very pretty small deciduous fern that bring a nice purple and grey highlight to the border.

My final fiddlehead and not only can I not remember the name of this fern, I can’t even remember where this plant is located.  I took the photographs on Friday ready for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day so who knows which it is .  However, as with all the ferns there is something prehistoric about the fronds unfurling which I enjoy.

Thanks to Pam for hosting this meme which I strive to join in with as I love foliage but generally I fail to remember!

In A Vase on Monday – Evergreens

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So this week’s In a Vase on Monday (thats two weeks now) is foliage from the garden, with the obligatory munched corner courtesy of the slugs. I think it is a good demonstration of how a winter garden doesn’t have to be borrowing or rely on coloured stems; which I’m not that keen on. The contents are a random selection of evergreen foliage including but not limited to:

  • Prostrate rosemary
  • Choisya ‘Sundance’
  • Arum
  • Buddleja salviifolia
  • Euphorbia characius ‘ Silver Swan’
  • Some form of unknown variegated ivy
  • A yellow variegated form of euonymus
  • A silver variegated form of suonymus

The vase is a simple cheap glass one, I could try and tell you that this was an artistic decision but really it was the only vase that held the foliage together.  So to make up for the lack of interest in the arrangement I decided to take the photograph outside …

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…and within minutes our Ladyship, currently called ‘The Management’ decided to get in on the act.

Thank you Cathy for hosting this meme – for more vases pop over to Rambling in the Garden

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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.

My Garden This Weekend – 6/12/15

Hellebore Anna's Red
Hellebore Anna’s Red

I hate to say I have had a good gardening weekend when so many people are coping with floods or howling gales,  but I have.  At this time of year I think we are grateful for any time we can steal to get outside and work in the garden so I was thrilled to steal about 3 hours over the two days this weekend.

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I have spent most of the time picking up leaves, weeding, and cutting back perennial flowers.  I’m not a great one for leaving lots of winter debris as I believe this provides homes for slugs and snails and I think when you garden a space extensively you need to try to maintain good garden practice.  I tend to start the Autumn/Winter tidy up with those areas that are heavily planted with spring bulbs so that I don’t damage emerging shoots.  I’m a little behind due to the recent wet weekends so was really pleased to tidy areas such as the Asiatic Fern border, which I look at when I wash up.    There aren’t many bulbs here as it is constantly moist throughout the year but as the ferns are wintergreen and this is their real season of interest I want them to look their best.  I spent quite a bit of time removing the ever invasive Soleirolia soleirolii (Mind Your Own Business) which normally carpets this border and wondering what possessed me to plant it in the first place.

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There are more ferns on the slope.  Different ferns which like a bit of better drainage.  This border is also full of spring bulbs so it was delightful to clear away the debris of the fallen leaves and spot shoots pushing through the soil.  As you can see, if you look carefully, there are some random self-sown plants appearing.  I think the grey leaves at the top of the border is some form of thistle and I am inclined to leave it to see what it does.  I have also found a Geranium palmatum seedling which is good as I love that geranium but I am wondering what the border will look like in the summer with its mad big pink flowers everywhere – I can always move it if need be though.

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Tidying up revealed that the Crocus speciosus had been flowering but for some reason not well.  Some of the plants have long lax stems, some of the flowers haven’t formed properly barely covering the stamens and some flowers have been eaten.  I can understand the cause of the latter but I don’t understand the first two problems.  The crocus are meant to flower in late September/October, roughly when I planted the corms.  I wonder if the mild wet weather have confused the crocus causing the lengthening and weakening of the stems.  Whilst some were covered in leaves which might add to the problem, there are just as many growing in this way where the leaves were removed a while ago.  Hopefully next Autumn they will flower better and create the lilac haze I was hoping for alongside the top steps.

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Clearing the leaves also allows you to discover all sorts of delights.  As I posted last time I discovered the first snowdrop of the year yesterday, I suspect it might be Mrs McNamara.  Today I spotted another one with the first signs of a flower forming, this time I know it is Galanthus plicatus ‘Colossus’ as the label is still there.  It appears that this snowdrop often flowers around Christmas so I think it is on track to do that.

Also found where the fat buds of Hellaborus niger; an extra flower stem this year so I think it is safe to say that this plant is well and truly established now although it has taken many years to achieve this.  I also spotted that some of the other hellebores were already budding up to the point that I removed the leaves from Hellebore Anna’s Red and one other.  I am waiting for the buds on the other hellebores to be a little bigger before I remove the leaves.  And then there are the Epimediums to think about – I need to work out which I should remove the leaves on and which not, oh dear….

Foliage Follow Up – November 2015

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Having managed to do the Garden Bloggers Bloom Day post in a timely fashion this month I thought I would also join Pam over at Digging in the Foliage Follow Up.  I have read Pam’s blog ever since I started blogging some 8 years ago and met her when I went to the Garden Bloggers Fling in San Francisco.  Having a growing preference for foliage it is a logical meme for me to join but I often find myself thinking oh I have shown this or that and so I don’t join in.  This month it dawned on me, I can be a little slow at times, that I should show some of the foliage on my decidious plants so this month I am focussing on the Birch jacquemontii which lives in my front garden.

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My sons bought the tree for me probably about 8 years ago and I love it.  Its one of the few plants that I will be upset to leave if I ever move house and I keep an eye out for seedlings which I might be able to pot up but they are few and far between.  I see this tree every morning from my bedroom window when I look out to see what the weather gods have decided to present us with and it struck me yesterday morning what a wonderful colour the leaves had turned.

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Due to our mild temperatures this Autumn the leaf colour seems to be changing quite slowly and amazingly the birch seem to be hanging on to the leaves despite the strong winds we have had.  The leaves look almost orange in the photographs but this morning in the dull light of an overcast day there was a distinct pale yellow glow to the tree.

So there’s my foliage follow up post this month, not a succulent or evergreen leaf to be seen, makes a change for me.  To see more fabulous foliage pop over to Pam’s Austin garden and check out the comments box for other links.

My Garden This Weekend – 20/9/15

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We have had a lovely early Autumn weekend which has allowed for some gardening as well as a wander round the local flea fair.  Parts of the garden are looking really good right now and I am particularly pleased with the combination of Salvia ‘Phyllis Fancy’ and the Melianthus major.  I hadn’t heard of the Salvia before this time last year when I bought my first one from the local HPS group but having included it in my September GBBD post I then spotted it in Helen Dillon’s article in The Garden.  It really is a beautiful salvia and I would highly recommend it; though it needs winter protection.

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Having felt inspired about the big border in the front garden after Kate’s recent visit and having pondered a visit to a nursery to buy some beefier plants, I decided in the early hours the other morning that I probably had everything I needed already around the garden.  So I have been busy relocating plants, all of which were too crowded in the back garden,  to the front garden. The objective is to try to stop the Grevillea ‘Canberra Gem’ from dominating the border.  It is a beautiful plant especially when it is covered in its spidery red flowers but given its size it really draws the eye.

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I have struggled with this border for a few years now and because I don’t spend much time in the front garden I have never really engaged with it so my mind doesn’t ponder it late at night and no ideas form.  But my front garden is a good size, it is the size if not bigger, of many a suburban garden and so it is outrageous that I, a keen gardener, neglect it.  The planting here has been too polite and the plants too dinky to compete with the Grevillea.  Kate and her husband’s comments triggered something in my mind and I had one of those light bulb moments.  I decided to embrace the space and to find large evergreen foliage plants to provide some balance to the Grevillea.  So I have moved in an Euphorbia stygiana, a Melianthus major that was in too shady a site, a Phormium Yellow Wave, a young rosemary and a young sage.  These will hopefully add substance to the existing planting which include Libertia, some bearded irises, and other Euphorbia whose name escapes me.

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I relocated the Libertia peregrinans to the driveway border as the amber leaves were just jarring.  In the driveway border they pick up on the orange tones of the crocosmia and of the flowers of Grevillea victoriae.  The driveway border is coming together especially as I have made an effort over the last few weeks to tidy it up!  The new Stipa tennuissima add some movement and I have also added Oenothera ‘Sunset Boulevard’ whose flowers are of a similar colour to the Libertia foliage.

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I also added some Wallflower ‘Fire King’ which should take over the red baton from the Geums. Now that I feel I have got a handle on two sides of the ‘lawn’ I need to turn my attention to the third side – alongside the beech hedge.

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Not very inspiring is it!  My son suggested widening the border along the hedge but that will mean the proportions of the lawn will be affected and I think its size works well in the space.  I have Alchemilla mollis planted along here to mirror the same on the other side of the lawn.  I want to break both sides up and I am thinking that maybe some ferns might work here – I will need to research some tough native ferns I think. But then again maybe I should consider widening it by a foot?!

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The end of this border nearest the house has a little more variety and I have a rodgersia and another euphorbia to add which I think will work.  The soil here never really dries out and the clay in it means that most things grow well.  But I am constantly improving the soil in my garden.  I have confessed before to being a bad compost maker, I am more a compost ingredient piler upper.  My excuse of a bees nest in one of the heaps has now gone so I have also removed the top of one of the heaps and I will now start to add the compost to the borders as I plant and weed.

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You can see how out of control my compost making is from the photo above.  The gap through which you can see the wheelbarrow is where the middle bin is – somewhere under there! The compost just a few inches from the top is ready to use, I just need to excavate the actual compost bin.  Then it will be a case of emptying the tops of its two neighbours into it and over the winter and spring emptying them as well.  It really isn’t the right way to make compost but it works for me.  I want to get on with this as we are planning on putting a screen here in front of the heaps to disguise them.

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The hardy exotic border on the slope is filling out having been planted about 18 months ago.  I have had to do some thinning as I was over optimistic about the space and this is where the Euphorbia stygiana in the front garden came from.  I have added some ferns to the slope behind the bench which should fill out well and add a nice backdrop to the bench.

I am now going to order Will Giles book on the new exotic garden, so sad I didn’t get to visit his garden and meet him before he died recently. I am slowly beginning to focus my efforts and plant buying on the plants I really love and move away from my normal magpie tendencies to plant buying and I intend to be less polite in my planting from now on.

Apologies for the misty photos. I thought when I took them first thing this morning they would be atmospheric but actually they just look foggy!

 

End of Month View – July 2015

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July has whizzed past in the flash of an eye and here we are at the end and you would be forgiven in thinking that we have gone forward to the end of September it is so cool.  It feels as though the garden has slowed down with flowers lasting longer in bloom and the later flowers taking longer to open.

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I thought I would start this End of Month tour in the woodland area which really focusses on foliage at this time of year apart from the hosta flowers. There is a space where I had to cut the Solomon’s Seal down as it was being stripped by Solomon Sawfly.  I think I will relocate the Solomon’s Seal as it was suffocating the Hosta; this will also allow me to plant something new in the area between the Hosta and the Witch Hazel (just on the left hand edge of the photo and I am wondering about including a smaller and darker leaved hosta or a fern to provide some contrast – I need to sit on the bottom step and consider it more.

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Going back to the bottom path between the Cottage and Big Border this area isn’t doing too bad but it needs to mature and fill out.  I have been adding plants to both border so hopefully now if I sit back and wait they will fill out and have good interest throughout the year.  I do need to add more bulbs to each area.  I want to add some more Alliums to the Cottage Border to give a rhythm through the length of the border and maybe add some daffodils to the Big Border.  It already a significant number of Camassias but I think would benefit from some earlier daffodils.

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The middle path between the Big Border and the Rowan Border (formerly the Bog Garden) and I am really pleased with how this area is beginning to work.  Moving the purple phlox along a foot or too  and adding the Anemanthele lessoniana seems to have connected the two sides of the path.  The Agapanthus and Phlox appear to mirror each other and the grass and leaves of the orange Crocosmia are connecting. There are still pockets where I want to tweak the planting but that was ever so.

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The popular shed shot.  I realise now that I should have removed the Ammi majus before taking this photo as it is flattening the Stipa tenuissima, probably as a result of the rain.  I want this area to have airy planting as it is very good for catching the afternoon sun and I think this would have a nicer feel than dense heavy planting.  I was learning today about transitions between areas of gardens and how you need to have quieter areas between those of sun and shade or bright colours and pastel.  I found myself realising that my planting has begun to have the same feel throughout the garden with the exception of the woodland/shady area.  I think I had got into a mindset that everything had to be ‘look at me!!!’ with lots of interest and all points of the year.  So I am now thinking about what I learnt to day and how this would work in my space. IMG_1943Back to the shady part of the garden and I suppose you could say that this area has a different feel to it and that the seating area by the shed is a sort of transition area.  I am pleased with how the old Bog Garden has filled out, although the Regal Fern seems to be engulfing everything.  I know I want lush and full planting here but not if other plants are going to be swamped.  It maybe that I need to swap the Siberian iris with the plant that is under the fern so that the iris’s foliage can grow up through the fern.  Another thing to ponder over a cuppa in the sun.

So that is my garden at the end of July.  I have just had a look back to last July’s End of Month View post which had some of the same views and I’m glad I did.  I can see from that post how much things have filled out since last year and how my efforts are starting to pay off not just with the appearance but with the health of the plant.  The woodland border looks really parched last year but this it isn’t doing to bad and I think the mulch I put down in Spring when the soil was very damp has helped.

Anyone is welcome to join in with this meme.  All I ask is that you include a link to your post in the comments box below and you link to this post in your post.  That way the circle is completed and we can all find each other and come for a visit.