Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – August 2013

I am joining Christina at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD). These photographs come from today’s very brief walk through the borders before mosquitos drove me back indoors. Mosquitos are not just annoying this year, they are frighteningly vicious and numerous.

As summer blooming perennials begin to slow and before the autumn blooms have opened, foliage takes on more responsibility to carry the garden.

Along the northern border an elegant Arborvitae stands tall. It is the sole survivor of what was originally three. The other two succumbed in a severe drought year. Across the fence a neighbor’s ‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress towers, providing contrast in texture and color.

Thuja occidentalis 'Emerald' (Arborvitae) and a neighbor's 'Carolina Sapphire' Arizona Cypress

Thuja occidentalis ‘Emerald’ (Arborvitae) and a neighbor’s ‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress

Former neighbors planted that ‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress after seeing several of them planted at the corners of my garden’s western border. One of mine had to be replaced last year and though still small, it has grown significantly.  Unexpectedly though a volunteer Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) showed up in close proximity to the young tree. As the beautyberry gets quite large I suppose it needs to be removed. Or I could wait and see. Which would win? Could they live in harmony?

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) and 'Carolina Sapphire' Arizona Cypress

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) and ‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress

Still visible are some of the Callicarpa’s pale pink, rather insignificant, flowers. When I first noticed this plant I mistook it for a hydrangea based on the look of the leaves and my hopes for the flowers. (I have planted hydrangeas near this spot before so I thought it was possible.)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) and 'Carolina Sapphire' Arizona Cypress

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) and ‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress

The native beautyberry will provide food for birds. Already the berries are forming but none display the signature purple color yet.

Berries forming along stems of Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Berries forming along stems of Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Berries of Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Berries of Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

A new part-shade border planted this spring using colorful foliage annuals has added extra interest in the southwest corner of the garden. The Caladiums I planted here have been less than stellar but Coleus worked well. It may have been too cool and wet this spring for the Caladiums.  An Elephant ear never emerged and when I investigated I learned the bulb had completed rotted.

Coleus

Coleus

Also in the new part-shade garden, a transplanted Heuchera villosa ‘Big Top Bronze’ (Coral Bells) bloomed and is now forming seeds.

Heuchera villosa 'Big Top Bronze' (Coral Bells), Coleus, Caladium

Heuchera villosa ‘Big Top Bronze’ (Coral Bells), Coleus, Caladium

A few other things stand out. A long row of Thyme circling part of the path in the labyrinth looked healthy and nice for most of the spring and summer. Finally in the last month large sections have turned black from the wetness and humidity I suppose. This section still looks pretty nice.

Thyme in Meditation Circle

Thyme in Meditation Circle

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ bloomed well this summer and continues to do so, but some seed pods are forming, which attracts American Gold Finches.

Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

The American Gold Finches also are drawn to the Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower), another perennial that has flowered extremely well this year.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

In spring I planted a bare-root dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea in a shady spot. It is almost too difficult to get to so I may move it to a spot where it will be easier to see. The foliage is supposed to turn red in fall.

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Ruby Slippers'  (Lil' Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

A large grouping of pass-along Chrysanthemums displays healthy leaves, which intertwine with nearby Angelonia Purple.

Chrysanthemum, Angelonia Purple

Chrysanthemum, Angelonia Purple

At mid-morning the day was hot, sticky and humid. Later an afternoon thunderstorm passed through.

Thanks to Christina for hosting GBFD on the 22nd of each month. Visit her site  for more foliage-oriented posts.

19 thoughts on “Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – August 2013

  1. Cathy

    Both the Thuja and the Cypress look lovely. The contrast with the neighbour’s tree is also very pretty. I like the cone flower seed heads – mine are still in flower, but I have never seen a bird on the seed heads yet, even thoughI leave them as long as possible!

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      I have some white Echinacea in the front yard that was starting to look brown and worn. Thought I’d trim them back, but as soon as I thought that I saw the bright yellow of a little goldfinch enjoying lunch. So I decided to leave them for the birds. Hope the neighbors will ignore the messy look for a while longer.

      Reply
  2. Christina

    You are lucky to have such a lovely tree as borrowed landscape, it works well with your own Thuja. I love the coloured leaves of the Coleus, I’d like to try some in pots on the shady terrace, BtW our mosquettoes have been bad again this year too, my ankles get bitten every evening when we have dinner outside.

    Reply
  3. Pauline

    Your Callicarpa berries are going to be stunning when they change colour. The contrast of your conifer with your neighbours is beautiful, that what I like, borrowing your neighbours plants! What a good idea, planting the coleus in the garden in the shade, I have always thought of them as house plants!

    Reply
  4. bittster

    You have a good eye for mixing foliage and I’ve never noticed the seeds on heuchera. Very interesting! My thyme always used to die out like that too…. was never sure why.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      I’m becoming a fan of Heuchera, although I have only this one kind so far. Should I just remove the bad spots and hope for the best? Did yours recover or did it take the whole plant in the end? Susie

      Reply
      1. bittster

        If there were enough green spots left they would eventually spread back into the dead areas, but the blackened growth never came back. It must be like you said, heat and humidity. Whatever survives the summer should recover well…. Your photo of the happy, healthy clumps look great btw!

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      All around my neighborhood I’ve already seen purple berries of the non-native Callicarpa dichotoma. This one is apparently native American beautyberry. I’ll be sure to get some photographs when they ripen. Take care.

      Reply
  5. Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

    You will love that callicarpa, it looks like it is loaded with berries. Oak leaf hydrangeas have beautiful fall color. Ruby Slippers is one of the newer cultivars that I have never tried. It’s flowers are supposed to age to a ruby color. Can’t wait to see how yours turns out.

    Reply

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