Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – May 2015

Liatris spicata 'Floristan Weiss' (Gayfeather)

Liatris spicata ‘Floristan Weiss’ (Gayfeather)

Time again for Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD), hosted by Christina at Garden of the Hesperides.

This very hot, dry May has been a tough month for the garden. A sprinkling of rain on Thursday brought scarcely enough drops to acknowledge. Temperatures at least are cooler and the weekend is forecast to be sunny and beautiful.

Trying to make a positive comment as she walked along the borders the other day, one honest neighbor suggested, “I bet this was really beautiful last week.”  Indeed the garden is moving past is best for this year, but there are a few places where May foliage stands out. Any water droplets on the leaves are probably from nearly daily hand waterings.

I like the loose feathery texture of Liatris spicata ‘Floristan Weiss’ (Gayfeather).  Two of these planted in the northwest corner this year they are beginning form flower spikes.

Liatris spicata 'Floristan Weiss' (Gayfeather)

Liatris spicata ‘Floristan Weiss’ (Gayfeather)

There is a mostly sunny garden, but I protect a few shade-loving plants by situating them under a large juniper in the southwest corner. Heuchera, Hellebore, Brunnera, Phlox divaricata. Tansy, with its ferny foliage, prefers full sun, but underground rhizomes keep it spreading into this area anyway. Similarly, it seems Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue,’ which can take sun or part shade, is spreading in close around the silver-leaved Brunnera.

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose), Brunnera macrophylla ‘Silver Heart’ (False Forget-Me-Not)

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose), Brunnera macrophylla ‘Silver Heart’ (False Forget-Me-Not)

Heuchera villosa 'Big Top Bronze' (Coral Bells)

Heuchera villosa ‘Big Top Bronze’ (Coral Bells)

Also in this area is a pass-along Sarcococca ruscifolia (Fragrant Sweet Box), which after several years now is still very tiny. I look forward to its fragrance when it decides the time has come to bloom.

Sarcococca ruscifolia (Fragrant Sweet Box)

Sarcococca ruscifolia (Fragrant Sweet Box)

Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’ (Gold Dust Aucuba) was added in spring and has adapted well. It may soon get too large for its location but I purchased it because its foliage is nice for flower arrangements, not actually because I had the appropriate space.

Aucuba japonica 'Variegata' (Gold Dust Aucuba)

Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’ (Gold Dust Aucuba)

Moving down into the southern border Daylilies and Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ make a nice paring. Rudbeckia fulgida (Orange Coneflower) nestled under the artemisia by its own desire.

Daylily, Artemisia 'Powis Castle' (Wormwood), Rudbeckia fulgida (Orange Coneflower)

Daylily, Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood), Rudbeckia fulgida (Orange Coneflower)

Artemisia 'Powis Castle' (Wormwood)

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)

A spring addition to the garden Camellia x ‘Koto-no-kaori’ shows some yellowing of foliage, but seems to be settling in well along the back fence of the western border.

Camellia x 'Koto-no-kaori'

Camellia x ‘Koto-no-kaori’

Nearby, Gardenia jasminoides ‘Frost Proof’ looks happy also and seems poised to bloom.

Gardenia jasminoides 'Frost Proof' (Gardenia 'Frost Proof')

Gardenia jasminoides ‘Frost Proof’ (Gardenia ‘Frost Proof’)

Dusty Miller makes a nice ground cover that spreads itself around easily, but is easy to pull out.

Dusty Miller

Dusty Miller

The exact name of this passalong is a source of curiosity. I have not been able to identify it definitely. Christina once suggested it could be simply a fine-leaved artemisia. Someone else suggested Jacobaea maritima (Silver Ragwort) formerly Senecio cineraria. That one looks more like one that is commonly sold as an annual around here. Whatever the name, at this time of year it looks its best,  whether forming a large patch of silver or photobombing a new-this-spring Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow.’

Dusty Miller

Dusty Miller

Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow'  (Ascot Rainbow Spurge) and Dusty Miller

Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ (Ascot Rainbow Spurge) and Dusty Miller

Maybe hundreds of Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower) volunteers are vying for a spot in the garden.

Volunteers of Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Volunteers of Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Anemone coronaria provided a huge boost of color in early spring. I have not quite known what to do with them now so have just been letting them die back. One of two flowers still pop up, but mostly the seed heads are are providing the interest.

Anemone coronaria seedheads

Anemone coronaria seedheads

Anemone coronaria seedheads

Anemone coronaria seedheads

Two large specimens of Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ are zipping upward and outward. This one is against the fence in the western border. Another one fills a corner at the southern side path entrance.

Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Visit Christina at Garden of the Hesperides for a look around her Italian garden and find links to foliage perspectives from many parts of the world.

22 thoughts on “Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – May 2015

  1. Christina

    Thanks for joining in with some very attractive combinations of foliage plants or plants that only have foliage at present. I picked off lots of Anemone seed from mine this year but haven’t tried sowing it yet; I’m not sure if it needs a cold period to push it into germinating. I am very envious of your Cleome hassleriana seedlings – I’ve sown the seed for this plant numerous times but the only time I had any success was years ago when I very naughtily took some seed from a plant in a public garde. They always say the best plants come either from friends or ones you’ve stolen.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Wish I could share some Cleome with you. They’re coming up everywhere. I will try to save some seeds from the Anemone–wish they would self-seed as prolifically is the Cleome.

      Reply
  2. Marian St.Clair

    Your ‘Jack Frost’ brunnera is looking splendid. Mine has finally begun to pick up steam, but it usually dies out by the end of July when it is very hot. We had two thunderstorms last week with some rain, thank goodness, but not enough. It is only 55 here this morning. Love the cool weather!

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Marian, let’s hope we get some decent rains (after the holiday weekend, of course). Yes! Cool weather here too–53 this morning.

      Reply
  3. Pauline

    Your Rudbeckia Irish Eyes is looking so much better than mine, yours looks so healthy and vigorous! A frost proof Gardenia, wow, that is something, I must find out if they are available over here!

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Irish Eyes started out strong but if we don’t soon get some rain it will lose its confidence. The frost proof Gardenia is new this year but I hope it has been appropriately named.

      Reply
  4. Cathy

    Despite your lack of rain your foliage is still looking lovely and fresh Susie. I like the silvery Dusty Miller, Artemisia and Brunnera, and the Liatris is beautiful! Wish I could grow them, but the slugs devoured a new plant last year within hours of me planting it! 😦

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      A shame about your liatris. They don’t seem to be long-lasting plants but lasting just hours is a sad record Cathy. I’ve had to break my rule against watering this year because there are a lot of new things that aren’t established yet.

      Reply
  5. rickii

    Nice parade of foliage. I guess there are several plants that can be called Dusty Miller. I have some that looks nothing like yours and remember yet another one in gardens past.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Rickii. You’re right — many plants share that name of Dusty Miller. I know it’s more accurate to use botanical names so I’d like to know which this is, but I love the whimsy of common names.

      Reply
  6. mattb325

    So many beauties at this time of year – the dusty miller is great, isn’t it? My grandparents used to grow it and it needed absolutely no care at all. I do hope you guys get some rain soon!

    Reply
  7. bittster

    Glad to see the rudbeckia isn’t bothered at all by the dry heat, and overall it seems like there’s plenty to keep up the interest.
    “I bet this looked really beautiful last week”… I wonder if it was joke about how gardeners are always talking about the flowers you just missed or the one you’re a day to early to see. I feel like I’m saying that to visitors all the time!

    Reply

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