Tag Archives: artemisia

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.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – June 2012


I embarked on a major garden renovation in January 2011, installing some new privacy shrubs, a picket fence and a meditation circle with a labyrinth.  These projects made a large impact on the garden and measurably increased my enjoyment of it. So I coasted for a year, just enjoying the flowers, but lately I have begun thinking again about various aspects of the garden’s design, structure and views.

Fortunately Christina at Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides hosts Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD) each month, and this prompt provides an opportunity to examine the role foliage plays in the garden.

Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ (Spurge)

Summer officially arrived this week and temperatures in the nineties reinforced this changing of the season. This time of year the sun’s glare can pale even the strongest-colored blossoms, making the garden appear washed out. Strong foliage color and varying texture can add interest, especially during these next couple of months. I am often drawn to plants with leaves of deepest greens, reds and purples and find these plants help anchor the garden in summer.  Silvery foliage, such as that found in Lavender, Dusty Miller and Artemisia, is equally useful and serves to complement the dark-leafed plants.


Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)

Canna’s strong form and deeply patterned, smooth, waxy leaves add interest at many levels as it grows.


This week the first reddish-orange canna flower appeared. (The actual blossom looks yellowish in this picture, but in fact is orange, similar in color to that of the Echinacea cones in the background.) The long, slender leaves of Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) are quite graceful and delicate when juxtaposed with the boldness of the Canna’s leaves.

Canna and Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Several weeks ago I transplanted some of the volunteer Cleome (Spider Flower) seedlings from the Southern path to other areas of the garden that needed filling in. These transplants have not grown very tall yet, just 2-3 feet, but they can reach 4-5 feet. The medium green palmate leaves are but one part of the interesting and complex structure of Cleome.

Cleome (Spider Flower)

This Cleome below is opening in front of a stand of Monarda stems; the mid-range dark purple is Setcreasea ‘Purple Heart,’ a reliable plant used as a ground cover in this garden. A gift from a friend many years ago, Purple Heart dies back but easily survives the winters here.

Cleome (Spider Flower)

Setcreasea ‘Purple Heart’

When viewing the Cleome flower from above, the foliage assists by providing the perfect backdrop for the flower to be seen.

Cleome (Spider Flower)

The garden holds many examples of foliage variations, but over time as plants have migrated, decreased, multiplied or died out altogether, many original plant pairings have ceased to exist. Much of what is left is happenstance. As I consider the garden’s overall design, I need to look closer at foliage and other characteristics of plants in the garden, noting what combinations work well and under what circumstances.

Check out other GBFD bloggers by visiting Christina at Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides.

Almanac And Plant Tour

With temperatures in the forties, yesterday a brief rain fell midday. Walking through the garden afterwards was pleasant as the sun peeked in and out.

Plants are changing quickly, full of hope and promise in this early growth period, as they prematurely signal spring’s arrival. Weekend weather forecasts call for a low of 20 degrees on Saturday, 17 on Sunday and 28 on Monday.

Before the chill arrives, here is a close-up look around the garden.

A Few Days Into Autumn

Fall 2011 began September 23 and the time since has been filled with many rains. The moisture has encouraged continued flowering in the garden. After a brief shower early this morning, the sun has been in and out of clouds all day. The temperature is currently eighty-five degrees.


In early spring first the lenten roses, then the daffodils and spirea dominated the garden. By mid-April the first bearded iris had opened. Now, three and a half weeks later, a few irises, along with the old-fashioned rose and the clematises, remain in bloom.  Take a quiet stroll around the perennial beds and it is easy to notice the garden again is in transition.

Verbena bonariensis

A verbena bonariensis is blooming and echinacea (purple coneflower) are beginning to open.

Several foxgloves are forming their complex flowers. Nearby an ‘Irish eyes’ rudbeckia already has reached two of its expected five feet.

The monarda (bee balm) also is tall and seems primed for a big display of red and fragrance.

A soft gray mound of artemisia accents the border and a perennial Dusty miller is creeping through the garden. Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed) will soon add its bright reddish-orange color to the blue palette that has predominated the garden in early spring.


The very tips of the white tubular flowers of Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue) are becoming visible.

These two penstemon are planted inside the meditation path forming a wall at one of the turnaround points.


One of the small pink yarrow is just beginning to open among the lamb’s ears. Rising only 10-15 inches, it has a lacy flower and a dark green, feathery-soft foliage.

Lavender will soon be adding its beautiful color and unique fragrance to several locations. The lavenders responded positively to severe pruning in February.


A Garden Highlight

An exciting highlight is the single bloom on the peony recently added to the garden, Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait.’  Although its planting tag indicated a June bloom, it was ready yesterday without regard to the calendar, as was the gardener.

Paeonia 'Pink Parfait'

Paeonia 'Pink Parfait'

Changes Bring Chores

As the focus transitions away from roses and irises there are many required tasks this week that will help keep the garden looking nice. The faded iris blooms and the bloom stalks need to trimmed back to tidy up, although the leaves need to remain for several months before being trimmed back to 6 inches in a fan shape. Is this the year the irises will finally get divided?

Rose Campion

The southern path is full of white rose campion, but none of the favored magenta-hued rose campion survived the winter.  Deadheading is a must if they are to continue to look attractive and to keep them from self-sowing so heavily.

The many Eastern Red Columbine is done for this year and needs to be cut back severely; it will maintain a nice green mound all summer.

Tradescantia is pretty now but needs to be thinned, as it has spread too widely. Many were sheared heavily ten days ago. The daylilies, the sweet peas–all overgrown.  The spirea finished its bloom weeks ago and should be pruned back hard to maintain its size. Other chores abound.  The fence installation was completed last week and paths to the gates need to be improved.

How to finish planting the meditation circle is still an interesting problem to solve, something to ponder while working on these maintenance tasks this week and contemplating transitions.

March Surprises

Garden surprises abound today including two bitten off daffodils, which is highly unusual. Suspiciously, deer tracks abound as well.

Elsewhere the daffodils look lovely and seem not to mind that it was twenty-nine degrees last night.


Artemesia shows new growth, as does the hydrangea and the clematis.

Iris gain height daily.

A heart-shaped leaf must be a redbud volunteer.

Near the front walk a few deep magenta hyacinths emerge from among the newly opening candytuft at the base of the crape myrtles.

Garden Textures

Including plants of varying textures is a satisfying way to create garden interest and style. Looking back at my garden through the years, I find some textural combinations were planned arrangements, but happenstance is welcome in my world as well.

The fern-like leaves of tansy, narrow grass-like blades of tradescantia, unfurling softness of rose campion, and feathery wisps of artemisia provide textural contrasts to the structures of echinacea, phlox paniculata, sweet pea, and black-eyed Susan as well as to each other.