Tag Archives: foliage

Leaves

Leaves

Leaves

On the first day of middle school (in the US this is ages 11-13, grades 6-8), our daughter’s science teacher announced an important assignment would be due at the end of the school year—a collection of 25 natural items. Flowers, leaves, rocks, insects, bones, the choice was up to the student.

I do not remember how our daughter settled on collecting leaves, but in the following months family excursions often included scouting around for an interesting specimen to add to the collection. Each leaf was sealed in a plastic bag and documented with Latin and common names, location and date found, and the name of the person who collected it.

Some of her earliest items collected lost their nice color or crumbled if the bag lost its seal, but by the end of the school year she had built up enough items. The night before the project was due was a long one as I recall. The leaves were laid out on foam board, hand written labels were prepared and applied and the entire collection was covered in a sheet of self-adhesive transparent acetate.

School projects come and go, of course, but now more than 20 years old, this one has survived the test of time. I love this one for its strong design and for the memories it holds. For many years until I retired, it was prominently displayed in my office. Colleagues and visitors frequently remarked on it, sometimes bringing up stories about their own favorite trees. One day my supervisor made good on a promise and brought in a scrapbook that held his own childhood leaf collection.

Over the years the labels on our daughter’s leaf collection became illegible as the permanent black ink used to record the data faded to yellow. By taking macro photographs of the labels I was able to decipher the writing (and for some reason recently I felt compelled to retrieve the identifications). Although not a focus of concern when gathering the leaves originally, it is interesting to note 19 of the 25 belong to native trees.

 

Leaves – Row 1

Row 1 (left to right)
Quercus marilandica (blackjack oak)
Found Chapel Hill NC. Collected By MLM. Date Found September 9, 1991
Native to the eastern and central United States

Quercus stellata (post oak)
Found Chapel Hill NC. Collected By MLM. Date Found October 12, 1991
Native to the eastern and central United States

Quercus alba (white Oak)
Found Chapel Hill NC. Collected By MLM. Date Found
Native to eastern and central North America

Quercus nigra (water oak)
Found Chapel Hill NC. Collected By MLM. Date Found September 9, 1991
Native to the eastern and south-central United States

Quercus falcata (southern red oak)
Found Coker Arboretum. Collected By MLM. Date Found November 29, 1991
Native to the eastern and south-central United States

Acer palmatum (Japanese maple)
Found Coker Arboretum. Collected By MLM. Date Found November 29, 1991
non-Native (Japan)
 

Leaves - Row 2

Leaves – Row 2

Row 2 (left to right)

Quercus michauxii (swamp chestnut oak)
Found Coker Arboretum. Collected By MLM. Date Found November 24, 1991
Native to bottomlands and wetlands in the eastern and central United States

Quercus rubra (northern red oak)
Found Chapel Hill NC. Collected By MLM. Date Found Unknown
Native of North America, in the eastern and central United States and southeast and south-central Canada.

Quercus macrocarpa (bur oak)
Found Chapel Hill NC. Collected By DVM. Date Found November 24, 1991
Native to North America in the eastern and central United States and eastern and central Canada.

Ginkgo biloba (ginkgo)
Found Coker Arboretum. Collected By MLM. Date Found November 24, 1991
non-Native (China)

Latin Name Unknown (Japanese Lemon)
[yuzu (Citrus ichangensis × C. reticulata]
Found Chapel Hill, NC. Collected By MLM. Date Found April 22, 1992
non-Native (China and Tibet)

Ilex opaca (American holly)
Found Chapel Hill, NC. Collected By MLM. Date Found Unknown
Native to the eastern and south-central United States

Leaves - Row 3

Leaves – Row 3

Row 3 (left to right)

(top left) Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Found Chapel Hill, NC. Collected By MLM. Date April 26, 1992
Native to eastern North America, from southern Maine and southern Ontario west to Iowa, and south to central Florida and eastern Texas

(bottom left) Morus rubra (red mulberry)
Found Chapel Hill, NC. Collected By MLM. Date April 23, 1992
Native to eastern and central North America

Liriodendron tulipifera (yellow poplar)
[Tulip poplar]
Found Chapel Hill, NC. Collected By MLM. Date Found April 22, 1992
Native to eastern North America

Maclura pomifera (Osage orange)
Found Chapel Hill, NC. Collected By MLM. Date April 29, 1992
Native to Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas

Magnolia stellata (star magnolia)
Found Chapel Hill, NC. Collected By PBM. Date April 24, 1992
non-Native (Japan)

Magnolia grandiflora (southern magnolia)
Found [ ] Collected By MLM. Date [ ]
Native to the southeastern United States

Magnolia × soulangeana (saucer magnolia)
Found St. Pauls, NC. Collected By Virgie McDonald. Date November 16, 1991
non-Native (hybrid, France)

Leaves - Row 4

Leaves – Row 4

Row 4 (top center, then left to right)

(top center) Ficus carica (common fig)
Found Coker Arboretum. Collected By MLM. Date April 29, 1992
non-Native (southwest Asia)

Pinus patustrus (longleaf Pine)
Found St. Pauls, NC. Collected By Virgie McDonald. Date Found November 16, 1991
Native to southeastern United States

Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Found Chapel Hill, NC. Collected By MLM. Date April 26, 1992
Native to eastern and central North America

Latin Name Unknown (round lobed sweetgum)
[Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Rotundiloba’ (Round-Lobed Sweetgum)]
Found Coker Arboretum. Collected By DVM. Date Found November 24, 1991
Native, originally discovered in 1930 in North Carolina.

Liquidambar styraciflua (sweetgum)
Found Chapel Hill, NC. Collected By MLM. Date April 22, 1992
Native to eastern North America

Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Found Chapel Hill, NC. Collected By MLM. Date Unknown
Native to North America

 

Sassafras

Sassafras

My favorite leaf in the collection?

To this day a mere glance at the small dancing Sassafras always makes me smile. If leaves can have personalities, this one seems to have a cheerfully upbeat one.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – September 2015

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

I am joining Christina at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD, today. After such a hot, dry summer I have not enjoyed much time in the garden lately. I usually am sad to say good-bye to summer, but Fall begins here tomorrow and I find myself relieved.

The dogwood has limped through these hot days. It gets too much sun in its 14-year temporary (let’s just put it here for now) location. A nearby juniper that used to provide it shade had to come down several years ago, leaving the dogwood quite exposed until the replacement tree can grow large enough to become its protector. Yesterday I noticed the dogwood is starting to form fruit. When I took these pictures, I believe I heard a deep, tired sigh.

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

After displaying its beautiful flowers in mid-July this Iris domestica (Blackberry Lily) put itself to work on the task of increasing the show for next year. This is the first year I have grown Blackberry Lily and it is easy to understand why it got its name. Big green pods formed by mid-August and now a month later, these richly black seeds have emerged.

Iris domestica (Blackberry Lily)

Iris domestica (Blackberry Lily)

Iris domestica (Blackberry Lily)

Iris domestica (Blackberry Lily)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) is native to Southeastern United States. This is a deciduous shrub with loose, open branching. The magenta berries are less visible than in other Callicarpa species, but the cardinals, finches and other birds in the garden find them easily.

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) blooms its heart out in early spring. After being cut back to the ground it drapes itself again in soft, fresh green leaves, making an attractive ground cover.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

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.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – August 2015

Betula nigra (River Birch)

Betula nigra (River Birch)

Christina at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides hosts GBFD on the 22nd of each month to highlight the importance of foliage in our gardens. The past week has been unusually busy with little time for the garden so Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD) sneaked up on me this month.

In a side garden along the front drive Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly weed ) has formed long okra-like seed pods. There are two other Asclepius tuberosa in the main garden, but neither has formed the pods.  I cannot find a label for the shrub in the background—some kind of slow-grower, a juniper I think. Visible in the upper left corner is a Betula nigra (River Birch) that grows at the street just on the edge of our property.

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

I like the river birch. It began dropping leaves very early this summer because of the drought. The shaggy cinnamon-red bark is characteristic of this native tree.

Bark of native tree Betula nigra (River Birch)

Bark of native tree Betula nigra (River Birch)

By the way a week ago in another part of the garden I saw my first Monarch(s) of the year. I usually see them in October here. Without a camera on two consecutive days, I watched one nectaring on remnant flowers of a Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes.’ There is something special about seeing the Monarchs that raises a feeling of gladness and appreciation.

I was recently complaining about how that Rudbeckia had been knocked over in a storm and needed to be cut back, but now I think I will leave it a bit longer.  A child of that one, the ‘Irish Eyes’ below is in the side garden just at the gate. It splayed over also after the same storm, but I managed to tie it up. It is not blooming much now but the foliage is still looking healthy. It received some extra water this summer because I was filling a nearby bird bath almost daily. In the background the river birch is visible again.

Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Silvery Dusty Miller has spread with wild abandon in the western border. It is easy to pull out when I finally decide “Enough,” so I let it roam this summer. It is not as attractive when it flowers so it is time to clip it back. Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ is new this year. Fresh new leaves of Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) add softness to this area.

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

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

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.

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.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – January 2015

Leaves for Creative Design Workshop

Leaves for Creative Design Workshop

Today is Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD), hosted by Christina at Garden of the Hesperides.

I decided to diverge from reviewing my garden this month, as winter foliage here looks very similar to last year’s January GBFD entry, and instead concentrate on some leaves I learned about this week during a floral design class.  I do not grow any of these plants, but I have become interested in adding plants to pbmGarden with foliage that would be usable in flower arrangements.

The workshop teacher purchased these materials from a florist or wholesaler. She encouraged us to take home leftovers, so I have examples of four leaves. The point of using these particular leaves in our class was to experiment with leaf manipulation.  (Leaf manipulation is a very cumbersome term I think.) In contemporary floral design it refers to altering the shape of the leaf through techniques such as rolling, folding, trimming, braiding to create a more abstract shape.

Aspidistra (Cast Iron Plant)

Aspidistra elatior is a commonly grown shade plant with dark evergreen leaves. Many new species are becoming available. There are amazing patterns found in the variegated forms.   This a plant I never would have become interested in growing until I started working with it in flower arrangements, but now I wonder if I can find a shady spot to try it.

Aspidistra leaves are versatile in flower design. They are glossy and thick with strong spines and hold up well to being manipulated or altered. I photographed the leaves alongside a 16-inch ruler.

Aspidistra (Cast Iron Plant)

Aspidistra (Cast Iron Plant)

Aspidistra (Cast Iron Plant)

Aspidistra (Cast Iron Plant)

Fatsia japonica

I first heard of fatsia a few years ago through reading garden blogs. Fatsia is in the aralia family (Araliaceae). It seems to like shade although I came across some reports of it growing in sun. Although rated hardy only to zone 8 (my garden is zone 7b), I have seen it growing outdoors in this area.  As I am entirely unreliable when it comes to pruning, I  worry about the mature size of this plant in my garden, even if I could find partial shade.  It grows 6-10 feet wide and high.

Fatsia leaves are large, with an interesting palmate shape that makes them useful for flower arrangements. In contemporary design some or all of the lobes might be trimmed to create an unexpected element.

Fatsia japonica

Fatsia japonica

Arecaceae (Fan Palm)

I don’t really know which fan palm we used in class and there is no use in me guessing (illustrates the need to use botanical name over common name).  One tidbit I did learn while researching is that Sabal palmetto, which I have always known as palmetto palm, is also commonly referred to as fan palm. Sabal palmetto is native from North Carolina to Florida. It might be nice to have palm leaves outside in the garden to use for arrangements, but currently I have no plans to add a palm to the garden. My sisters have them in their Fayetteville, NC garden.

According to my instructor fan palms are frequently used around Easter time in church arrangements. For contemporary flower design, one example of altering a fan palm might be to cut the fan-shaped leaf in half and use a section turned on its side.

Arecaceae (Fan Palm)

Arecaceae (Fan Palm)

Arecaceae (Fan Palm)

Arecaceae (Fan Palm)

Xerophyllum tenax (Beargrass)

Beargrass leaves are popular in flower arranging. In arrangements these are effective when groups of leaves are held firmly at the base and the tops are allowed to drape softly down, but for a more contemporary feel they can be bunched together and tied, looped, braided or otherwise manipulated. They have finely serrated edges and are rough to the touch.

Native to the Pacific Northwest, beargrass is harvested by Native Americans for basketry. Interestingly the flowers look amazing.

Xerophyllum tenax (Beargrass)

Xerophyllum tenax (Beargrass)

Xerophyllum tenax (Beargrass)

Xerophyllum tenax (Beargrass)

 

This was a rather offbeat GBFD post. By the end of February I should be back out in my own garden, maybe with an aspidistra. Thanks to Christina for hosting GBFD on the 22nd of each month. Visit her at Garden of the Hesperides to discover what foliage displays she and other garden bloggers are featuring today.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – October 2014

It is Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD) and well into autumn, the garden overall remains fairly green. Suddenly this week a few maples around town became brilliantly red. Today is the first time this season the morning seemed really cold when I went out to explore the garden. There was a chilly wind and the garden was still in shade.

Several people commented on the use of Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) in my latest Monday vase. There are many clumps in my garden. This one seems newly regenerated and shows off its silvery, gray-green hue and thick, richly textured leaves.

Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear)

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)

Lavender is another silvery-leaved plant I find useful in flower arrangements and it is always lovely in the garden as well.

Lavender

Lavender

Standing in early morning shadows, the Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood) still holds all of its leaves, but most of the berries are gone. This dogwood from the Arbor Day Foundation has always seemed odd to me. Unlike the trees at my former garden, this one is rather short and its leaves seem smaller and more elongated than normal. Maybe it is my imagination.

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood) In Early Morning Shade

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood) In Early Morning Shade

Next to the dogwood the American beautyberry is still covered with purple berries, although upon close inspection it is clear the birds have been feasting on them.

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) in front of 'Carolina Sapphire' Arizona Cypress

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) in front of ‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress

One flower I remember being fascinated with as a child is Lycoris radiata (Spider Lily), which grew in a mossy area of my grandparents’s front yard near a large blue spruce tree. After longing for some for many years, finally this fall I planted six bulbs courtesy of some special friends who gave me a nice gift card from White Flower Farm.

The foliage appeared almost immediately. Unfortunately this means I cannot expect to see the spidery red flowers this year as the foliage emerges only after the flowers have bloomed. The leaves should overwinter, then disappear in early spring. Next fall seems like a long time away.

Lycoris radiata (Spider Lily)

Lycoris radiata (Spider Lily)

Recently I toured Plant Delights Nursery at Juniper Level Botanic Garden with a group from my garden club.  It was my first visit and I should have brought along a better camera. One plant I was interested to see growing was Ruscus (Butcher’s Broom). Our garden guide said Italy grows tons of this for the florist industry to use as foliage in arrangements.

Sure enough, in a floral design workshop yesterday, we began our project using ruscus foliage to define the line of the design. I cannot be sure ours was true ruscus, or Poet’s laurel, which is apparently often sold as Italian ruscus.

Ruscus - Plant Delights

Ruscus – Plant Delights

Hedera (Ivy) Vine -climbing juvenile ivy form - Plant Delights

Hedera (Ivy) Vine -climbing juvenile ivy form – Plant Delights

Where I live in North Carolina most people recognize two invasive plants, Kudzu and Ivy, so it was surprising to see vines of Hedera (Ivy),  roaming freely up a large tree at Plant Delights.

Our guide explained Hedera (Ivy) is a vine in its juvenile form, but after many years and 30-40 feet later it matures into an adult. The gardeners at Plant Delights allow the ivy vine to run up this one tree so they eventually can have seeds from the adult form.

Hedera (Ivy) runner with variegated leaves. Juvenile form - Plant Delights

Hedera (Ivy) runner with variegated leaves. Juvenile form – Plant Delights

In its adult stage Hedera changes its form from vine to shrub. Its leaf form changes as well and it apparently settles down and becomes well-behaved.

Below, our garden guide is reaching toward the shrub form.

Hedera (Ivy) Shrub -adult (mature) form - Plant Delights

Hedera (Ivy) Shrub -adult (mature) form – Plant Delights

Here are a few more scenes of foliage in the shaded garden at this nursery.

Hosta - Plant Delights

Hosta – Plant Delights

View at Plant Delights

View at Plant Delights

View at Plant Delights

View at Plant Delights

One last interesting plant we saw during this garden visit looked at first like eucalyptus.  In fact it is Baptisia arachnifera, a plant native not to my state of North Carolina but rather to another southern state, coastal Georgia. Because of rules surrounding its classification as a federally endangered plant, the nursery can sell it but cannot ship it outside of North Carolina.

Baptisia arachnifera (Wooly Wild Indigo) - Plant Delights

Baptisia arachnifera (Wooly Wild Indigo) – Plant Delights

Thanks to Christina for hosting GBFD on the 22nd of each month. Visit her at Garden of the Hesperides to discover what foliage displays she and other garden bloggers are featuring today.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – September 2014

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

The first day of autumn coincides with Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD).  The countryside and the garden remain fairly green—very little autumnal leaf color so far. As one sign of the season, stems of the native Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) are covered in purply ripened berries.

In the Northern Hemisphere the fall season arrives today with the occurrence of the autumnal equinox, September 22 at 10:29 p.m. EDT. It was almost 90°F yesterday, but now at 5:00 p.m. it is a pleasant 71°F. The rest of the week should remain in the seventies during the day, dropping into the 50s at night.

There was a surprise shower overnight, not enough to fill the bird baths but any amount is needed and welcome. A few drops remained on this Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine), decorated with bits of red as it transitions toward fall.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Strange as it seems, last week I could detect the fragrance of Winter Daphne. Three of these lovely shrubs serve as hedge at the front of our house.

Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata' (Winter daphne)

Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ (Winter daphne)

Along the northern side yard camellias, gardenias and hellebores add green interest. The camellias are gaining fat buds that will open in another month to six weeks.  The gardenias in this position look healthy, more so than others in the back garden. Stationed nearby Hellebores are full of strong, deep green leaves.

Gardenia and Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Gardenia and Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

For several years I have been monitoring the progress of a small passalong Sarcococca ruscifolia (Fragrant Sweet Box). It requires full shade which is hard to find in my garden. I planted it underneath one of the corner ‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress specimens, where it receives scant early morning sunlight. The plant remains very small but the foliage look great this year.

Sarcococca ruscifolia (Fragrant Sweet Box)

Sarcococca ruscifolia (Fragrant Sweet Box)

Sarcococca ruscifolia (Fragrant Sweet Box)

Sarcococca ruscifolia (Fragrant Sweet Box)

The only featured grass in my garden is Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass). Despite it  not being very well situated, this year it looks very nice.

Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass)

Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass)

A big thank you to Christina at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for hosting GBFD on the 22nd of each month.

 

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – August 2014

I missed last month but today I once again join Christina of Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides for Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD). To my dismay after many attempts I do not have deep or wide vistas where foliage is the main highlight, so I will concentrate on the foliage of individual plants.

After seeing how other gardeners rely on Brunnera, I added this silvery-leaved plant in spring and am pleased with the way it brightens up a dark corner. Its name is Brunnera macrophylla ‘Silver Heart’ (False Forget-Me-Not).

Brunnera macrophylla ‘Silver Heart’ (False Forget-Me-Not)

Brunnera macrophylla ‘Silver Heart’ (False Forget-Me-Not)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower) is towering above the western border, adding welcome height and structure to that area.

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) flowers profusely in spring but its foliage is attractive all summer.  Here it is still covered in early morning dew.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

The native Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) is forming flowers and will make a delicious meal later in the fall when the berries ripen to teenager purple.

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

The fern-like leaves of Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy) add nice textures to the border. This plant is very aggressive, but I have learned to be aggressive in pulling it out when it wanders too far.

Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy)

Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy)

Near the Tansy, something is eating the Ageratum. It has looked like this most of the summer. Most years I try to pull up the Ageratum so it does not overrun the border, but I have not been attentive enough to the garden this year. A few remain and the purple flowers will provide some relief to the autumn border. This is the first year the leaves have looked so poor.

Ageratum

Ageratum

In spring I began planting sedum in the hell strip between the sidewalk and the street where the grass refuses to grow. The sedum has not performed spectacularly but I think it is very slowly filling in. Before the homeowners association sends us a letter this fall telling us we need to replant our strip, I tried to get ahead of the game by also planting Ophiopogon japonicus ‘Nana’ (Dwarf Mondo Grass) . It has been so miserably hot since I bought it last week I could only manage to get a small portion of it planted so far.

Ophiopogon japonicus 'Nana' (Dwarf Mondo Grass)

Ophiopogon japonicus ‘Nana’ (Dwarf Mondo Grass)

Ophiopogon japonicus 'Nana' (Dwarf Mondo Grass) and sedum in the devil's strip

Ophiopogon japonicus ‘Nana’ (Dwarf Mondo Grass) and sedum in the devil’s strip

 

Also near the street is a small planting of shrubs encircling crape myrtles. I would very much appreciate it if someone can help identify this shrub. It is not one I love, but it requires very little maintenance and survives rain or drought equally well.

Unknown shrub

Unknown shrub

Unknown shrub

Unknown shrub

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

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – May 2014

Hard to believe how quickly May is rushing by, but it is once again time for Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD), hosted by Christina at Garden of the Hesperides. This monthly focus is a chance to consider the role foliage plays in creating an interesting garden. My garden is not strong on having year-round structural interest, but at this point in spring the borders are filling out nicely.

There is nice fresh growth on the passalong Hydrangea macrophylla , but it blooms on old growth. I have read several places they will not be blooming this year because of damage from our cold winter. This was shared by Jayme last year and it did have a few gorgeous flowers last summer. I was looking forward to a bigger show this year, but gardening demands patience and the bigger show is being rescheduled for next year.

Sarcococca ruscifolia (Fragrant Sweet Box)

Sarcococca ruscifolia (Fragrant Sweet Box)

This plant is also from Jayme last spring, Sarcococca ruscifolia (Fragrant Sweet Box). It is still very small and seemed not to have made it through the winter, but it certainly came around after the weather warmed up. These shiny, bright leaves are much improved over how they looked a couple of months ago.

Sarcococca ruscifolia (Fragrant Sweet Box)

Sarcococca ruscifolia (Fragrant Sweet Box)

I mentioned Amaryllis in the post yesterday featuring flowers, but its dew-coated stately leaf and fat bud are interesting too. The fine leaves of Achillea filipendulina (Fern-leaf Yarrow) and dark red stem and leaves of Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue) bookend this Amaryllis.

Amaryllis

Amaryllis

Tendrils and buds of  this passalong Perennial Everlasting Sweet Pea are always a welcome sight. This variety does not have a fragrance but will have lovely pink flowers.

Perennial Everlasting Sweet Pea (Pink)

Perennial Everlasting Sweet Pea (Pink)

Tendrils of Perennial Everlasting Sweet Pea (Pink)

Tendrils of Perennial Everlasting Sweet Pea (Pink)

Hemerocallis (Daylily) are gaining size suddenly. These came from a daylily farm in Fayetteville, NC which my daughter and I visited a few years ago with one of my sisters. I love the plants in my garden that have a little memory.

Hemerocallis (Daylily)

Hemerocallis (Daylily)

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ in front of a large stand of a passalong, woody-stemmed Chrysanthemum bring green lushness to the southern border and the promise of later color.

Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

Newly planted this year, the foliage of Hydrangea arborescens Incrediball ‘Abetwo’ looks very healthy. It is planted in front of an old-fashioned rose.

Hydrangea arborescens Incrediball ‘Abetwo’

Hydrangea arborescens Incrediball ‘Abetwo’

After seeing so many great specimens from other gardens I made it a point to add Brunnera this year. After blooming very well, Brunnera macrophylla ‘Silver Heart’ (False Forget-Me-Not) is set to lighten up a dark corner of the garden with its bright leaf color and pattern.

Brunnera macrophylla ‘Silver Heart’ (False Forget-Me-Not)

I wonder if anyone else grows Tansy? A coworker gave it to me years ago and it started becoming a thug. Yes, she warned me it would spread, but I did not understand at the time that when someone giving you a plant speaks those words, it is imperative to heed the warning. I cannot get rid of it, but lately it has just shifted around here and there, not causing too much problem. The foliage is attractive and it has little yellow flowers later. Oftentimes I am actually fond of it.

Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy)

Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy)

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox) is pushing up into the morning light. These are planted in several spots around the garden, most of which are much sunnier than this particular protected location. The dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea is visible in back.

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) is growing well in many spots, preparing to take over the floral display as the iris and columbine wind down.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

The foliage of Baptisia australis (blue false indigo) is a soft, gentle green that remains attractive for a few weeks after the flowering time. Baptisia also forms interesting bluish black seed pods.

Baptisia australis (blue false indigo)

Baptisia australis (blue false indigo)

Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft) had beautiful white flower clusters for weeks, but now is going to seed. (Actually I have since trimmed this back to encourage it to fill out.) This Iberis is surrounded by Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue).

Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft)

Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft)

A large clump of Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy) has filled the front of a border next to the back steps. Behind it stands Achillea x ‘Appleblossom’ (Yarrow) with lots of airy, feathery leaves. Completing this area, English thyme is just entering bloom and boldly patterned leaves of Salvia Dorada ‘Aurea’ (Golden Sage) dance above.

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Visit Christina at Garden of the Hesperides to see what foliage she is featuring this month and find links to other participants.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – January 2014

Buxus microphylla var koreana 'Wintergreen' (Wintergreen boxwood)

Buxus microphylla var koreana ‘Wintergreen’ (Wintergreen boxwood)

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD) crept up on me this month.  We had snow last night but well before midnight it had stopped and the ground was still green, so there are no snow pictures today. Deep cold has settled in for the next few days.

For several years a pair of Wintergreen boxwood have been growing in large blue pots by the front steps and I think it is time to transplant them to the garden.  These shrubs were labeled Buxus microphylla var koreana ‘Wintergreen’ but I came across information today that indicates that name has been replaced with Buxus sinica var. insularis ‘Wintergreen’.  Would it be useful to have an app that notifies us when the names of our plants change?

These boxwoods have formed buds and the eventual flowers are supposed to be insignificant but fragrant. I do not remember them blooming last year. These shrubs have a loose, open habit which I like, but they can be tightly sheared and shaped as well. The leaf color is quite bronze during the winter, a deep green at other times of the year.

Buxus microphylla var koreana 'Wintergreen' (Wintergreen boxwood)

Buxus microphylla var koreana ‘Wintergreen’ (Wintergreen boxwood)

Buxus microphylla var koreana 'Wintergreen' (Wintergreen boxwood)-3

Elsewhere a small pot of mixed sedum purchased a couple of years ago has spilled out and spread into an interesting ground cover. These seem tolerant of winter temperatures that have reached down into the ‘teens.

Mixed Sedum-2

Mixed Sedum

Mixed Sedum

Five new gardenias were planted a year and a half ago in the heat of August, all appropriately named ‘August Beauty’. The expectation is these will grow into a 5-foot tall evergreen hedge to screen the air conditioner units located next to the northeast corner of the house.

During the past summer they filled out slightly, gained a couple of inches in height and looked healthy and green. These gardenias are hardy to zones 8-11 and some sources list zones 7-11, which is good because pbmGarden is in planting zone 7b.  There has been some damage to a few leaves but I am optimistic the shrubs will survive the cold weather.

Signs of cold damage on Gardenia jasminoides 'August Beauty' (Gardenia)

Signs of cold damage on Gardenia jasminoides ‘August Beauty’ (Gardenia)

This garden is definitely designed with spring in mind, so to show it in its wintry garb is to lay it out bare and unprotected.  My tendency is to want to show carefully posed images that present the best features of the garden.  Winter though imposes a hard dose of reality. The sparseness makes the garden look lonely and in retreat. The grass is green though and a few evergreens enliven the view. If the various trees could speak they might explain what happened to their planned, but long-lost partners—which drought year, poor pruning decision, or other problem doomed these survivors to try their best to stand tall and go it alone in a spotty arrangement.

With objective eyes I see the awkwardness, the unrealized potential and I readily acknowledge winter brings a good opportunity to examine the structure of the garden and make plans.

Garden View In WInter

Garden View In WInter

But looking down on the garden this morning with my subjective eyes, I notice a special, if imperfect, place. Three bluebirds line up ready to make their moves toward the feeder. Red cardinals flit in and out of the bare spirea branches and chickadees, Carolina wrens, towhees and many other birds find momentary shelter in the brown, stalky remnants of the previous season as they forage for food or await a turn at the feeder. The sun spreads through the garden as it rises, highlighting portions until finally enveloping it all in the best warm glow it can muster on this frigid day. And I find walking along the meditation path in winter brings a particular clarity and peacefulness.

So on this Foliage Day I must remind myself it is ok to just be content. There will always be space for improvement in this garden, but already it is a good place and happy one, even in its winter clothes.

Thanks to Christina for hosting GBFD on the 22nd of each month. Visit her at Garden of the Hesperides to discover what foliage displays she and other garden bloggers are featuring today.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – November 2013

For this month’s Garden Bloggers Foliage Day I am inspired by a recent visit to a public garden in southern California.  With more than a dozen themed gardens the Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino near Pasadena features more than 14,000 different plant varieties. I deliberately left my camera at home so I could just enjoy the adventure, but I pulled out my camera phone at the last minute to snap a few images.

During my half-day visit it was impossible to see the entire 120 acres of landscaped gardens, but the recently renovated Japanese Garden was at the top of my list. There was a beautiful ceremonial teahouse, a Japanese House, a Zen Garden and of course, water. The pond featured a charming  moon bridge. The bonsai display was extensive. In this image the golden colored group of Ginkgo biloba enhances the view.

Bonsai in Japanese Garden, Huntington Botanical Gardens

Bonsai in Japanese Garden, Huntington Botanical Gardens

Other gardens I visited were the Camellia Garden, Chinese Garden, Conservatory, Herb Garden, Shakespeare Garden and Rose Garden. That means someday I must return to see the Australian, Children’s, Desert, Jungle, Lily Ponds, Palm and Subtropical Gardens.

Camellias were planted along a wooded walk that separated the Japanese and Chinese Gardens. The blooms were gorgeous but what stood out is that with each step I was aware of the intoxicating fragrance of the camellias and certainly I must add more Camellias to my own garden.

The Herb Garden was unexpectedly interesting with some rich fall foliage displays and pomegranates on the trees.

Herb Garden

Herb Garden

Herb Garden

Herb Garden

Pomegranate (Punica granatum)

Pomegranate (Punica granatum)

Walking to the car I had to stop to get pictures of a Gardenia cornuta we just happened to pass. It featured elongated, oval green hips surrounded by glossy, deep green leaves. A few of the gardenia hips had colored to a chocolate brown.

Hips on Gardenia cornuta

Hips on Gardenia cornuta

Hips on Gardenia cornuta

Hips on Gardenia cornuta

Hips on Gardenia cornuta

Hips on Gardenia cornuta

Thanks to Christina for hosting GBFD on the 22nd of each month. Visit her at Garden of the Hesperides to discover what foliage displays she and other garden bloggers are featuring today.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – October 2013

It is Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD) and well into autumn, the garden overall remains fairly green. A few perennials are still flowering, but this topic is about signs of the season other than flowers.

The cones left standing after flower petals drop bring a new round of enjoyment to Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes.’ This plant bloomed from late June through September. Now its wide leaves and tall stalks continue to add height and interest to the garden’s Southern entrance.

Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Just inside the gate is a grouping of Dutch lavender that was heavily pruned back late last winter after it had become very overgrown and woody. The lavender did not bloom much this year but it filled out well and looks more shapely. I use this lavender as a small shrub against the foundation of the house.

Lavandula x intermedia 'Dutch' (Dutch Lavender)

Lavandula x intermedia ‘Dutch’ (Dutch Lavender)

Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper)

Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper)

A small pot of Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper) planted in the spring has yielded a good amount of growth.

I am experimenting with this ground cover  in the garden, but with an eye to using it as a partial replacement for grass in the front lawn strip between sidewalk and street, if it survives the winter. (And subject to Homeowners Association approval, unfortunately).

I cannot decide if I like it though—almost seems a bit weedy from afar. Up close I think the texture is wonderful and though flowers are not the focus for GBFD, Blue Star Creeper does actually bloom too. (Click image for close-up.)

This weekend a friend gave me some Elfin Thyme to try also. She has had great success with it in her street/sidewalk strip. Since I do not yet have approval for replanting the grass strip, I planted the Elfin Thyme yesterday in the meditation circle.  There now are three different kinds of Thyme there, on of which also has a small-textured leaf that reminds me of Elfin.

Thymus serpyllum 'Elfin' (Elfin Thyme) and Thyme sp.

Thymus serpyllum ‘Elfin’ (Elfin Thyme) and Thyme sp. in the meditation circle

In the northwest corner of the garden shockingly purple berries are now easily visible on the American beautyberry. This plant is still small but from others I have noticed lately, it may soon outgrow this spot.

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Thanks to Christina for hosting GBFD on the 22nd of each month. Visit her at Garden of the Hesperides to discover what foliage displays she and other garden bloggers are featuring today.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – September 2013

The first day of autumn coincides with Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD). As the season cycles from summer to fall, the garden remains fairly green. Only the Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood) has shifted its foliage toward seasonal colors.

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Native to eastern North America dogwoods are hallmarks of spring with their showy inflorescence of four large white bracts and central flower cluster. But the late summer/early autumnal foliage can be splendid as well.

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

The dogwood in my garden gets more sun than is ideal for an understory tree. In dry years it suffers miserably and its leaves become crispy brown and drop quickly. This year though the foliage has benefited from plentiful and frequent rainfall. The leaves are turning at a gentle rate, so the change from green to red to brown can be observed and appreciated.

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

The fruit clusters are an important food source for birds. Buds are already set for next year’s flowers.

Berries-Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Berries-Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Berries-Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Buds and Berries-Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Thanks to Christina at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for hosting GBFD on the 22nd of each month.

Almanac

Autumnal equinox in my garden in the northern hemisphere, specifically North Carolina, U.S.A., is Sunday, September 22, 2013 at 4:44 PM EDT.

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.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – July 2013

July Foliage In Terrace Gardens-Duke Gardens

July Foliage In Terrace Gardens-Duke Gardens

I am joining Christina at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD), today. This article is photo-intensive so I have arranged the images in sets that should be easy to scan for a quick overview. To get a better look at the plant details you may want to click on each gallery.

My foliage looks quite similar to the way it did last month so I walked through nearby Duke Gardens this morning with the idea to look for inspiring uses of foliage.

Although there was quite a lot in bloom today at Duke Gardens, I was surprised to see how strongly the textures and colors of leaves, stalks and pods distinguish this setting.

In this garden many plants are labelled, but not all. Rather than try to identify each component I concentrated on the way individual elements had been blended to create distinctive combinations.

We entered the garden through the recently renovated rose garden where materials other than roses filled many planters.

We continued down the Perennial Allée.

We stopped to admire Azalea Court before veering toward the Wisteria Pergola.

July Foliage At Azalea Court-Duke Gardens

July Foliage At Azalea Court-Duke Gardens

Planter Near Wisteria Pergola-Duke Gardens

Planter Near Wisteria Pergola-Duke Gardens

Entering the Terrace Gardens vistas open up. The borders are filled with thoughtful and creative selections.

At the bottom of the Terrace Gardens is the fish pool filled with colorful Koi.

July Foliage-Terrace Fish Pool At Duke Gardens

July Foliage-Terrace Fish Pool At Duke Gardens

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.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – June 2013

Joining Christina at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD), today I am examining the impact of foliage in my June garden.

I like to use silver-foliaged plants and am pleased with the perennial Dusty Miller along the front of the western border.

Dusty Miller

Dusty Miller

A privacy hedge was installed in February 2011 along the southern border. The ‘Blue Point’ Junipers have remained healthy and are noticeably taller this year. Suddenly branches are growing in weird directions so I must figure out how to prune them better. It will still be a while before these trees fill out the edge of the southern border, but already they help provide a sense of enclosure when standing inside the garden.

'Blue Point' Juniper

‘Blue Point’ Juniper

'Blue Point' Juniper

Looking from behind down the row of ‘Blue Point’ Junipers in the Southern Border

The hydrangea planted this year is growing well, although I had imagined it would be larger by now. The foliage is supposed to have nice red color in the fall.

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

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

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

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

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Ruby Slippers'  (Lil' Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)-3

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

Having finished blooming, now Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue) and Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ add garden interest with their seedpods.

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue)

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

Clematis 'Jackmanii' and Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ and Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower) is a native plant I picked up through a friend’s plant exchange. I have found this plant to be rather aggressive. Growing to 5-feet, its dark-green leathery leaves are interesting and later in summer and fall the border will shine with its bright yellow daisy-like flowers.

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

A storm last week felled several trees and blew numerous branches and leaves around the neighborhood. Yesterday in the western border I encountered these browned leaves from a neighbor’s Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore). They serve as a reminder Summer has just started but it will pass quickly. Take time to enjoy every minute.

Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)

Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)

Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)

Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)

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.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – May 2013

I am joining Christina at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD) and a chance to examine the importance of foliage in the garden.

This month I have enjoyed the prolific blooms of a spring garden and earlier today I posted a long entry about May flowers, but because of GBFD, I also kept an eye open for foliage highlights.

The plants I notice again and again are the silvery-leaved Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear), perennial Dusty Miller and Artemisia, as they help break up the spaces and add interest—some pop—to the borders.

Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear) with Iris and Achillea

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) with Iris and Achillea

Dusty Miller

Dusty Miller

Artemisia 'Powis Castle' (Wormwood)

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)

Dark colors especially the reds of Canna and Husker’s Red Penstemon worked to add excitement and even some sophistication to the garden.

Canna and Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Canna and Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Canna

Canna

Penstemons and Thyme In The Meditation Circle

Penstemons and Thyme In The Meditation Circle

Another plant with good foliage coloring is Heuchera (Coral Bells). It is available in many colors though the nurseries do not seem to stock many different ones.  I bought three Heuchera villosa ‘Big Top Bronze’ last year and finally got them planted in a permanent spot in April.

Heuchera villosa 'Big Top Bronze' (Coral Bells)

Heuchera villosa ‘Big Top Bronze’ (Coral Bells)

I have not cooked with this Golden Sage, but the bright yellow green coloration and pattern spilling out through the railing is reason enough to grow it.

Salvia Dorada 'Aurea' (Golden Sage)

Salvia Dorada ‘Aurea’ (Golden Sage)

Much of the foliage I have been following this month is intriguing simply as it is part of the amazing early stage of a plant’s growth cycle.  Flowers will eventually arrive, but for a long time before the plants bloom the volume created by the leaves and stems lifts the garden upward accenting it with shape and texture.

Liatris spicata 'Floristan Weiss' (Gayfeather)

Liatris spicata ‘Floristan Weiss’ (Gayfeather)

Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)

Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Anemone coronaria de Caen 'The Bride' and 'Mr. Fokker'

Anemone coronaria de Caen ‘The Bride’ and ‘Mr. Fokker’

Be sure to visit Christina to see her skillful use of foliage and find links to other GBFD bloggers.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – April 2013

I am joining Christine at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD).

The garden is filling in with this month, from green, sword-like Iris leaves and feathery Achillea to the silvery foliage of Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear), Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion) and perennial Dusty Miller.

Achillea, Candytuft and Lamb's ear

Achillea, Candytuft flowers peeking out and Lamb’s ear

An exciting addition to the garden is this Oakleaf Hydrangea. It’s full name is Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea).

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Ruby Slippers'  April 16 2013

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ April 16 2013

It arrived as part of a plant shipment on April 11 and by April 16 it was settling in well. Yesterday, just five days later, it really seems to be acclimated.

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

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea), April 21, 2013

The broad green leaves of this deciduous woody shrub resemble oak leaves. In fall the highly textured, leathery leaves should turn scarlet and burgundy. The inflorescences should bloom white, turn to pink and eventually fade to burgundy red.

Be sure to visit Christine to see other GBFD articles.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – January 2013

Euphorbia 'Blackbird' (Spurge)

Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ (Spurge)

It is a sunny but cold day. Frigid temperatures moved in today and are expected to remain for the rest of the week.

Today I am joining Christina of Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides for Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD). It always seems repetitious to post foliage from the same few plants but perhaps that illustrates a good point. These are year-round workers in my little garden.

Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ (Spurge) grows in a pot on the patio where I plopped it last spring. It has done pretty well there but I still hope to get it planted in the ground one day.  In the future I plan to rely on small shrubs and perennials, such as this Euphorbia, in my pots, with maybe an annual or two for color. The planters seem much more cost effective and long-lasting this way.

Euphorbia 'Blackbird' (Spurge)

Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ (Spurge)

I am partial to silvery-leaved plants and Artemisia has been a reliable one for the borders. This is Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood). It needs some new companion plants as it seems rather solitary at the moment.

Artemisia 'Powis Castle' (Wormwood)

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)

In a span between the back garage steps and the southern entrance to the garden is a five-foot long hedge of Lavender. Although it did not bloom very well last year, the silvery leaves provide year-round interest in this dry area. Spilling over across the slate path, the lavender has become quite woody in places and needs to be trimmed back, but I am guessing now I should wait until after it blooms in spring.

Lavender

Lavender

Along the Southern side path that leads to the garden are more silvery plants. On the left are drifts of Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion), a rather old-fashioned plant. Though I have grown it for many years I do not see Rose Campion used frequently in other gardens around here. In the summer this path is filled in with Cleome. Originally it was lined with a small mixed shrub hedge that succumbed to severe drought a few years ago.

Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion)

Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion)

Just at the lower right side of the path Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) is creeping back. I used a heavy hand with it last year and removed many plants, as it had spread too aggressively. In this part of the garden, which can seem a bit dark in the winter, the silvery foliage of Lamb’s Ear and Rose Campion is welcome. These plants are easy to grow and come back every year (or more accurately, never really die back).

The blue slate stones need to be readjusted and the entire garden needs a good mulching. Where does that mulch get to? It seems to just evaporate.

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

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – October 2012

It is Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD) and here are some examples of the variety of foliage in the October garden.

Strongly patterned leaves of Arum Italica are maturing this month in a shady spot under the camellias.

Arum italicum

Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ (Spurge) has been growing in a large pot on the patio since spring and is my first and only Euphorbia success.   It needs to go into the ground soon. Having never reached this point before I am not sure how well it will overwinter.

Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ (Spurge)

Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm) has been expanding its territory recently and has sent up shoots among the Sweet Alyssum, a dainty annual. At this height the lime-green young leaves add nice textural contrast to the tiny white flowers of the Alyssum and they are nicely fragrant.

Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm) and Lobularia hybrid ‘Snow Princess’ (Sweet Alyssum)

Autumn leaf color has become quite noticeable only in the last five days. The complementary hues found in this leafy pair added a touch of boldness to the garden this week. This particular tree has been an underwhelming performer, but in general, Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood) is beautiful in spring and fall.

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Gentle mounds of Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) fill part of a border near the back steps. Round-lobed leaves range in color from pale green to a coppery russet pink, accentuated by dark red stems.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine), Salvia splendens (Scarlet Sage)

Purchased on a whim because they were on sale, three new trees were added this month in front of a south-facing portion of privacy fence. Online resources describe Juniperus scopulorum ‘Wichita Blue’ (Juniper) as having a pyramidal form; however, these seemed very narrow at the store, which is what I liked about them. Also, the plant tags appear to have understated the final height and width, and oops, it may not tolerate heat and humidity very well.  I believe I could find a lesson in all this—instead I planted them anyway.

At least the foliage has an interesting texture and is soft, not bristly nor prickly.

Juniperus scopulorum ‘Wichita Blue’ (Juniper)

Thanks to Christina of Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides for hosting Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD) each month.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – September 2012

Each month Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD), hosted by Christina of Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides, is an opportunity to examine the contributions of foliage in one’s garden.  It is 83F this afternoon, the first day of autumn, sunny with a gentle breeze.

Primed to focus on foliage I started out walking around the front of the house this morning where glossy leaves of Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ (Winter daphne) shone in the early light. The anomaly of red-tinged buds was an unexpected sight.

Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ (Winter daphne)

Along the north side of the house is a very narrow strip separating our property from the neighbors’ drive. Planted at the northeast corner of the house is a Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’ and just beyond are several gardenias (variety unknown) that have bloomed well this year.

Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’

Both the camellia and the gardenia are trouble-free but do require some light pruning to keep from extending into the neighbors’ driveway. I had to trim them last month which I think stimulated this new growth on the Sasanqua.

New Growth On Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’

Listed variously as fall-blooming and winter-blooming, this Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’ bloomed last year by November 1.

Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’

A friend rooted the gardenias that grow here now and presented them to me when they were just six or eight inches tall about ten years ago. This view is looking west toward the main garden.

Gardenia in Northern Border

Both the camellia and the gardenias are evergreen with nice glossy leaves.  These shrubs serve to hide utility units from the street, but flowers, such as this creamy Gardenia flower, are a bonus.

Gardenia Flower in Northern Border

Next to the gardenias is a grouping of Helleborus orientalis (Lenten rose) which add deep green color and texture now and will enliven this area in winter and spring when they bloom.

Helleborus orientalis (Lenten rose)

Moving down beyond the Hellebores the rest of the north side strip is planted mostly with Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) and Aegopodium podagraria(bishop’s weed) that took over. The Aegopodium can be invasive and I have planned for several years to remove it. It will die back in the winter.

Narrow Property Strip

The reddened leaves of Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) suggest a sense of autumn.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

This variegated Aegopodium is a shade-loving ground cover.

Aegopodium podagraria(bishop’s weed)

Flowering Dogwoods are native here but this is not a good example of one. It turned brown during a three-week dry spell in July and never recovered. Flowering dogwoods usually have beautiful red foliage in the fall.

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

The dogwood is setting fruit.

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood) Fruit

In front of the house near the street the Crape Myrtle that was blown over in July is rallying.  I was unable to match the variety reliably for a replacement so decided to see how it works out to let the tree recover on its own.  There are utility lines nearby so this is the easiest and least expensive approach.

Crape Myrtle

Crape Myrtle

Thanks to Christina for hosting this look at foliage.  For inspiration visit her at Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides where you can find links to other Garden Bloggers Foliage Day entries.

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

Canna

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.

Lavender

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.

Canna

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.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – May 2012

Today I am participating in GBFD and examining how foliage enhances the garden.

Rising along the southern path medium green, smooth foliage of Hedychium coronarium or Ginger lily contrast deeply with silvery Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) and Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion). Hedychium has fragrant white tropical blooms for a brief time in the fall, last year not until late October. It seems to be thriving this year due to the regular rainfalls.

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Here is another look at the thick, strongly textured Stachys byzantina and Lychnis coronaria along the path. This section of the path is generally very dry.

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear), Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion)

Lavender with its long, narrow and also silver leaves has seemed almost ready to flower for several weeks. It is used as a short foundation hedge.

Lavender

At the end of a narrow bed along the driveway thick, bronzed stems and leaves of this Canna provide some strong color. The large leaves and color of this canna make it a nice companion for neighboring Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower). By late June the canna’s rich, orange blossoms will echo the orange centers of the coneflower.

Canna

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) and Canna

At the front of the Western border perennial Dusty Miller provides a silver and feathery foil to Tradescantia (Spiderwort), whose flowers are closed tight by late afternoon.

Dusty Miller

Long, basal leaves of several Digitalis (Foxglove) contrast with leaves of Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy).

Foxglove and Shasta Daisy

This is the same clump of Shasta Daisy as above. Behind it is feathery, airy Achillea x ‘Appleblossom’ (Yarrow). The large shrubs in the back are spiraea on the left and gardenia on the right. Also visible on the right is an emerging clump of Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes.’

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy),Achillea x ‘Appleblossom’ (Yarrow)

This is another look at the foliage of Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes.’ The original plant has not been blooming well the last couple of years so I planted a division in an area of the garden where it should get more sun. Monarda is creeping into its space.

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

The strong vertical movement of the swordlike Gladiolus leaves is repeated by the flower stalks of Meadow Sage ‘May Night’ while succulent leaves of Autumn Joy Sedum anchor the base.

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’, Autumn Joy Sedum, Gladiolus

Gladiolus and Liatris spicata ‘Alba’ (Gayfeather) emerge from a mound of Nepeta (Catmint) which has strayed a little beyond it intended place. The foliage and flowers of the nepeta adds softness to these textures.

Nepeta (Catmint), Gladiolus, Liatris spicata ‘Alba’ (Gayfeather)

The graceful tendrils and odd stems of Everlasting Sweet Pea weave themselves along into chrysanthemums and Aquilegia (columbine).

Perennial Sweet Pea

For more observations on garden foliage please visit the host of GBFD,  Christina at Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides,  to see her interesting take on this subject and to find links to other GBFD bloggers.