Tag Archives: foliage

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – June 2012


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

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

Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ (Spurge)

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


Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)

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


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

Canna and Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

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

Cleome (Spider Flower)

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

Cleome (Spider Flower)

Setcreasea ‘Purple Heart’

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

Cleome (Spider Flower)

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

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

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.


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.


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.