Tag Archives: foliage

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.