Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – July 2015

Aegopodium podagraria (bishop's weed) with Eastern Black Swallowtail (Papilo polyxenes) caterpillar

Aegopodium podagraria (bishop’s weed) with Eastern Black Swallowtail (Papilo polyxenes) caterpillar

I am joining Christina at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD, today. Usually by this point in the summer everything is brown and crisped by the hot July sun. The days have been intensely hot and oftentimes storms have passed us by without providing any nourishing rain, but by watering selectively I have managed to keep the perennials and annuals from dying back this summer.

Years after accepting and planting a friend’s offering of Aegopodium podagraria (bishop’s weed), I discovered it is invasive, so when visitors admire it I have gently refused their requests to share. Yesterday I found a colorful Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillar among its leaves.

I plan every year to tackle eradicating it but other areas of the garden get my attention instead. The variegated version that I have is supposed to be less problematic, and honestly, except for the guilt, it has made a wonderful ground cover along the narrow northern side of my house.

Aegopodium podagraria (bishop's weed) with Eastern Black Swallowtail (Papilo polyxenes) caterpillar

Aegopodium podagraria (bishop’s weed) with Eastern Black Swallowtail (Papilo polyxenes) caterpillar

Aegopodium podagraria (bishop's weed) with Eastern Black Swallowtail (Papilo polyxenes) caterpillar

Aegopodium podagraria (bishop’s weed) with Eastern Black Swallowtail (Papilo polyxenes) caterpillar

Note: This summer I have enjoyed seeing and trying to identify butterflies. I have photographed quite a few yellow and black Eastern Tiger Swallowtails (Papilio glaucus) this month. When I looked up this caterpillar and discovered it to be a swallowtail I thought it was the Eastern Tiger that I had been seeing so often; however, when captioning my images into WordPress I finally realized I had two different swallowtails. The caterpillar is Eastern Black Swallowtail (Papilo polyxenes).

The elephant ears in the blue planter have recovered since the last time I showed them, although they still scorch from the hot sun and they stay thirsty. They are uncooperative when I photograph them but they look nice against the Juniperus chinensis ‘Blue Point’ (Blue Point Juniper) hedge.

Colocasia Royal Hawaiian ‘Black Coral’  (Black Coral Elephant Ear)

Colocasia Royal Hawaiian ‘Black Coral’ (Black Coral Elephant Ear)

Colocasia Royal Hawaiian ‘Black Coral’  (Black Coral Elephant Ear)

Colocasia Royal Hawaiian ‘Black Coral’ (Black Coral Elephant Ear)

Another ground cover I like, Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper) has lived up to its name and has spread across a path into a well-behaved section of Sedum.

Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper) creeping into Sedum

Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper) creeping into Sedum

Planted in March this Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ (Ascot Rainbow Spurge) tends to be lost among the running perennial Dusty Miller. The Dusty Miller needs to be reined in and sheared back. In spring this bed was full of columbine and the rainbow effect of the Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ foliage stood out better.

Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow' (Ascot Rainbow Spurge), perennial Dusty Miller

Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ (Ascot Rainbow Spurge), perennial Dusty Miller

There still is plenty of Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) spreading itself around. Its leaves look fresh and green.

Liriope muscari, perennial Dusty Miller, Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Liriope muscari, perennial Dusty Miller, Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

perennial Dusty Miller, Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

perennial Dusty Miller, Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Another Euphorbia  purchased this spring has lovely color. It is called ‘Shorty’ (Shorty Spurge).

Euphorbia 'Shorty' (Shorty Spurge) with Iris leaf

Euphorbia ‘Shorty’ (Shorty Spurge) with Iris leaf

Euphorbia 'Shorty' (Shorty Spurge) with Iris leaf

Euphorbia ‘Shorty’ (Shorty Spurge) with Iris leaf

Many insects like this dragonfly seem to gravitate to the flowers that are spent or the foliage that is brown, at least when I am trying to photograph them. This is a female (males have the white tails) Common whitetail or long-tailed skimmer (Plathemis lydia) perching atop an iris leaf. In the background is airy foliage of Achillea filipendulina (Fern-leaf Yarrow).

Common whitetail or long-tailed skimmer (Plathemis lydia)

Common whitetail or long-tailed skimmer (Plathemis lydia)

Thanks to Christina for hosting. Be sure to visit her to see her featured foliage and find links to other foliage highlights of other GBFD bloggers.

34 thoughts on “Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – July 2015

  1. Christina

    I’m feeling proud that I recognised the caterpillar as a swallowtail as soon as I saw it! It is very similar to the Swallowtails we have here, although I haven’t seen so many this year so far, maybe it is too hot for them. From your photographs your garden is coping very well in the heat. I like your bishop’s weed and it looks happy so you mustn’t feel guilty. I like the new Euphorbia, I really must find a specialist seed company that stocks a bigger range than I’ve found, I’d love to have some others. Thanks for joining in GBFD so consistently and finding some lovely foliage to share even in this heat.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Good for you for knowing that caterpillar! Maybe you’ll still spot its little swallowtail cousin in your garden this year. Normally I only water my new plants just long enough to get them established, but once I committed this spring to watering the entire garden, it paid off right away. It has made all the difference this year and I’ve actually enjoyed the garden more because of spending the time out early in the day watering. Hope you find a Euphorbia source. The Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ I had for many years looked terrible after the winter and I finally just gave up on it. It had been growing in a pot, but probably would have managed better had it been in the ground. I’d still like to replace it but meanwhile these two others are nice to have.

      Reply
  2. Marian St.Clair

    It all looks so lush, especially considering the hot and dry weather we’ve had so far this summer. ‘Shorty’ is a real eye catcher with its slender foliage and beautiful color. Last summer, I snagged a similar Euphorbia seedling that had popped up in the gravel of a nursery parking lot and pushed it into the soil of a plant I had just purchased. It has thrived, which supports my notion that pilfered plants always grow better:-)

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Perhaps I should get braver and pilfer some things for my garden too! I think the parking lot is pretty much fair game though. We had a 10-minute downpour last night but that amount of rain is no match for daily high temperatures. Hope you get some relief soon.

      Reply
  3. Pauline

    You have some amazing foliage in your garden, all looking very healthy in spite of your summer heat. I especially like your Black coral elephant ear, what fantastic leaves it has and your new euphorbia, must see if we can get something similar over here.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thank you Pauline. I gave in to the idea of watering this year and it carried the garden through better than usual. Otherwise there would be little to show. Hope you get some rain soon.

      Reply
  4. rickii

    I’ve heard many a rant about the bishop’s weed, but if it’s not giving you any headaches…and it feeds future butterflies…and it’s a pretty groundcover…I say keep it. Love that black Colocasia.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      I am going to take your advice Rickii. I have half-heartedly tried to get rid of the bishop’s weed before, but it is a great problem solver for the narrow border. I’ll probably leave it until I come up with an idea for a replacement.

      Reply
  5. AnnetteM

    That is a stunning caterpillar; I’m afraid I didn’t recognise it – I am still learning the butterflies and haven’t progressed to the caterpillars yet.
    Like the others I love the Euphorbia ‘Shorty’ – euphorbias are such useful plants – and your Elephant’s ears are spectacular.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      I’m pretty much a novice when it comes to butterflies and caterpillars. Thankfully there is often easy to access information and images to help us. I planted one Euphorbia ‘Shorty’ in a pot and the one pictured in the ground. Both have done well this summer. The elephant ears are rather pouty by late afternoon, really wanting some water.

      Reply
  6. mattb325

    It looks stunning – I’m especially enamoured of those elephants ears. The dusty miller is such a stand out performer during the heat. I rather like the variegated bishops weed; it’s not available here in Australia (it’s reputation preceded it!) but it is nice to look at on other people’s blogs. I don’t know of any really appropriate substitute; maybe some of the variegated ajuga species would be suitable, but they take such a long time to establish

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Matt. Elephant ears have always been a fun thing to grow, but this is the first time in many years they’ve actually survived. Many people plant ajuga here and swear by it, but it is starting be considered invasive in some areas (not here Yet) but I’ve hesitated to plant it.

      Reply
  7. woodlandgnome

    Gorgeous! I love your blue and silver foliage. Isn’t it nice that at least we don’t have drought to contend with on top of the heat? I’m glad your Colocasia has survived. It looks so nice with the Euphorbia at its feet. They are definitely thirsty plants, and wilt so quickly. At least the new leaves keep coming all season! Best wishes, WG

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Well, we’re not getting much rain here (although we just got a surprise morning shower and just a few miles away my friends are complaining about too much). Hoping for more regular rains. This is the first time I’ve grown that Euphorbia and it’s been great.

      Reply
      1. woodlandgnome

        Is it E. ‘Diamond Frost’? I’ve had great luck with that other years, and it holds up to the worst of summer. It looks so nice in combination with other things in pots and baskets, but doesn’t overtake them. I’m hoping for rain for you and for us today 😉

  8. Chloris

    Lovely foliage, I particularly love the Colcasia. We call the Bishop’s Weed, Ground Elder and it is the most pernicious weed in the garden, virtually ineradicable. I haven’ t tried the variegated one, but I wouldn’ t trust it. I imagine like cockroaches it would survive a nuclear holocaust. It certainly survives anything I throw at it.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Fortunately the bishop’s weed (or ground elder, I like that better) is in a contained border and not totally out of control. Maybe I’ll tackle it one day.

      Reply
  9. gardeninacity

    You have made my day! I have had the same experience as you with the Bishop’s Weed, including the guilt. I had no idea it could be a host plant for Swallowtails. Now the guilt is gone and I’m going to keep an eye out for caterpillars. Though I still won’t give any of the plant to friends.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Sounds like a plan Jason! Bishop’s weed is in the carrot family which swallowtails like. I read (http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/aepo1.htm) “The seeds have no apparent morphological features that would facilitate dispersal. Goutweed seeds require cold stratification to germinate…The primary vector for dispersal to new areas is humans. Most goutweed colonies spread to neighboring natural areas from intentional plantings, or by the dumping of yard waste that includes discarded rhizomes.”
      By the way in the first and third photos you can see a black dot on one of the leaves. I saw several and I believe that is what they look like when first emerging. Seems this caterpillar is fifth instar stage.

      Reply
  10. Annette

    I agree with Brian – it’s a wow plant indeed. Don’t have any experience with it though. Do you live it outside in winter? Plenty of butterflies here too and I’m constantly trying to shoot them. Ground elder is a horrible plant. It was very invasive in my last garden and I can’t help but shiver when I see it in other people’s gardens. The nurseries shouldn’t be allowed to sell it. Happy summer days, Susie 🙂

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      I know people who have had Colocasia overwinter for a lifetime. They do die back. I had one (different variety) that made it through one winter but it needs a lot of water and a drought did mine in. This particular one is is hard only to zone 8a and I’m in 7b, so it’s tricky. The bishop’s weed is not actually listed here yet as invasive I don’t think, but it is in some New England states.

      Reply
  11. bittster

    I have to admit I’ve always liked the variegated goutweed, and it always seems to look fresh but I’m too scared to try it in my own garden. But I do have a bed which will be turned over to vinca. The vinca is too invasive for my other beds but in some cases an aggressive plant is just what you need for a troublesome bed.
    Love the euphorbia photos!

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks! No, I don’t recommend planting goutweed. Not sure I’d put in vinca either though, but I know what you mean. At my last house the soil was so poor not even vinca would live.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.