Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – August 2012

Again I am joining Christina of Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides for Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD). I do not have deep or wide vistas where foliage is the main highlight, but will concentrate on the foliage of individual plants. Surprisingly some of the foliage in my garden appears nearly as it did in spring.

Aquilegia canadensis  and Monarda didyma

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) bloomed in mid-April and Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm) began the end of May. Both of these were cut back after blooming and Monarda has rebloomed in a few places. Here, grouped into bright- green triplets, the lobed leaves of Aquilegia have regrown into mounds of soft foliage through which opposite-facing and coarser-textured leaves of Monarda emerge on square stems. At the top of this image seed pods of Clematis (Spider Flower) are a clue that it is indeed August, rather than early spring.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) and Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)

Stachys byzantina and Achillea filipendulina

I pulled up lots of Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) during the summer and was more careful than usual to remove flowers this year before it could set seed.  But here is Lamb’s Ear biding its time and sitting next to another rather aggressive grower, a dwarf Achillea filipendulina (Fern-leaf Yarrow). The soft, hairy-textured silvery leaves of Lamb’s Ear contrast with the delicate fern-like leaves of this Yarrow.

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) and Achillea filipendulina (Fern-leaf Yarrow)

Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’

This Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint) spills out-of-bounds to soften the edge between the lawn and one section of the northeast border. The spear-shaped leaves are a pleasant grayish-green in color and are fairly aromatic.

I have trimmed this back several times this summer and while not evident here, it continues to form lavender-blue blossoms, though not as vigorously as when it first bloomed in early May. Another large mound of Nepeta, planted in the middle of this same border has been invisible most of the summer. It is surrounded by Echinacea and other taller plants and is essentially lost from view. I plan to relocate it toward the front of the borders where it can be seen and appreciated.

Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint)

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)

By mid-March Artemisia was forming slivery-green foliage that has added interest and contrast all summer. It flowered for several weeks from mid-to-late-June, after which I cut it back. The base of the plant is yellowing and looks a bit scraggly still, but these fresh new leaves are fine.

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’

Unlike many of the plants mentioned so far, Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ is one that has not already peaked this year and it is preparing to bloom. Its pale green, waxy-textured foliage is an interesting contrast to the other plants in the garden. This is the first time in many years this Sedum has been so poised and ready to make a statement in the fall. I attribute that to the plentiful rains during most of this summer.

Tanacetum vulgare and Salvia guaranitica

The foliage of Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy) has an even stronger fern-like quality than the Achillea. This is another rather tough-rooted spreader, but I have managed to contain it fairly well recently. Here it brightens up a dark corner of the border, along with leaves of Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue.’

Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy)

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Each time I pass the yellow flowers with green centers of Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes,’ the strong shape and color of its leaves inevitably draw my attention. This leaf measures 10-by-7 inches.

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Iberis sempervirens

Some plants in the Meditation Circle were chosen to withstand the hot, dry summers we have experienced in recent years. It is hard to prepare for every contingency. Though hot, this is a surprisingly wet summer that has improved the behavior of some plants and hurt others. Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’ (Beardtongue) and Iberis sempervirens ‘Purity’ (Candytuft) have suffered the most. This time last year the Iberis formed a lush evergreen accent in the labyrinth.

Iberis sempervirens ‘Purity’ (Candytuft)

Visit Christina at Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides for more Garden Bloggers Foliage Day entries.

9 thoughts on “Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – August 2012

  1. Christina

    Great post, it really shows what a good job foliage does in the garden; as impostant on flowering plants as for solely foliage specimens. We do both have a lot of the same plants but with your rain this year yoursare all looking much happier than mine. Thanks for joining in again this month. Christina

  2. paulinemulligan

    Lovely contrasting foliage PBM, showing that it is just as important as flowers and more so when plants are not flowering. Such a shame about your Iberis, we have all had extremes of weather to deal with this year, too much rain, not enough rain, too much heat, I suppose there are bound to be a few casualities, but we don’t give up do we?!

  3. Cathy

    I really enjoy these posts, comparing what does well for you with the plants in my garden. My sedum is always a hit, whatever the weather, but the monarda just can’t take drought. Yours looks so lush and pretty next to the acquilegia leaves. My iberis flowered well this spring but only lasted until late May. I wonder what next year will bring!

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Cathy. Speaking of monarda, I came across a white monarda online today that looked interesting. The cultivar was from 1955 and still is well-regarded. Think I’ll look for it. Have you see it in white?

      1. Cathy

        No, only reds and various pinky, lavender shades. White would be a nice addition, although I will have to give up on monarda in my garden I’m afraid.

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thank you Janet! I am sorry to admit most of my combinations resulted from me just trying to squeeze in one more plant anywhere I could. Am trying to observe now and then plan more thoughtfully through for the future. Glad you stopped by.


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