Tag Archives: GBFD

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 – April 2014

Northern Border View Facing West

Northern Border View Facing West

Yesterday was Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD), hosted by Christina at Garden of the Hesperides. Though it will be a day late I want to join in the monthly focus on foliage as early spring is a time of year when I especially enjoy the foliage in my garden.

Spring marks a joyful point in an incredible cycle of nature, one I experience with new wonder each year. Fresh growth and tender green hues rejuvenate my gardener’s spirit as the perennials emerge and the borders transform from mostly soil to mostly plants.

The northern border has filled in seemingly overnight after some nice warm days. Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint), trimmed heavily a few weeks ago to remove last year’s growth, makes a nice low plant for the front edge of the border. This border is filled with Iris germanica (Bearded iris), Iris sibirica (Siberian Iris) and Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris).

Nepeta 'Walker's Low' (Catmint) and Iris in Northern Border

Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint) and Iris in Northern Border (looking toward west)

Below and to the right of the catmint is a path with a patch of mixed sedum. The sedum overwinters well and I will soon be relocating much of it to the devil’s strip between the sidewalk and street in front of our house where grass does not like to grow. (Architectural Review Board application was approved.)

Mixed Sedum

Mixed Sedum

In my garden there are lots of silvery leaved plants. I enjoy the color and texture of these Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) and Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) and especially in early spring the Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood) is beautiful.

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) and Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear)

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) and Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)

Artemisia 'Powis Castle' (Wormwood)

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)

Creeping Lemon Thyme overwintered in this pot along the southern side path. Stems of Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm) is aggressively exploring this bed.

Creeping Lemon Thyme and Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)

Creeping Lemon Thyme and Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)

Planted last spring Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William) promises to perform better this year. It is looking vigorous, unlike last year.

Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William)

Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William)

A generous patch of woody-stemmed Chrysanthemum is a welcome sight, a pass-along plant from my garden mentor many years ago.

Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ will reach 6 feet tall but for now it makes a large clump of green near the gate of the southern entrance. I need to find time to divide this.

Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

To the right of the rudbeckia, just as the path turns the corner toward the gate to the main garden, sits a Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ loaded with buds after a heavy pruning in late winter.

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

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

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – March 2014

Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion)

Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion)

Today is a focus on foliage, as it is Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD), hosted by Christina at Garden of the Hesperides.

Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion) and Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) look fresh in the border along the southern side path. They will add some early spring blooms in a few weeks and silvery foliage all summer.

Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion) Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear)

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

Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear)

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)

I have what I hope is a little wildflower I cannot identify and wondered if any of you recognize this plant? It defies the camera every time I try to photograph it but perhaps it is recognizable. I have planted several things in this location, but they do  not match up to the structure of the plant.

Unknown wildflower

Unknown wildflower

New growth unfurling on Unknown wildflower

New growth unfurling on Unknown wildflower

Of the many Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William) I planted last year only one or two made it.  In fact, many types of plants I purchased mail-order last year arrived too late to get a good start before the summer heat set in.  This year I bought Sweet William seeds to sow directly into the soil.

Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William)

Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William)

Another mail order selection from last year, these couple of Anemone coronaria ‘Governor’ (Governor Double Poppy Anemone) are the only survivors.  I planted them as bulbs after a good soaking, but again I think the weather became too hot before they established.

Anemone coronaria 'Governor' (Governor Double Poppy Anemone)

Anemone coronaria ‘Governor’ (Governor Double Poppy Anemone)

This native ground cover has been slow to take hold in my garden, but it seems to be improving and is just about to bloom. It is called Chrysogonum virginianum (Green and Gold).

Chrysogonum virginianum (Green and Gold)

Chrysogonum virginianum (Green and Gold)

Two other natives, Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm) and Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine), display healthy fresh green growth.

Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)

Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

I have not divided Meadow Sage ‘May Night’ before but think I will give it a try today. It seems to be short-lived in my garden. Does anyone have that experience?

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’

I purchased two peonies last year, but see signs of neither so far. I think this is actually one scored from the neighborhood plant exchange last year.

Paeonia (Peony) in Southern Border

Paeonia (Peony) in Southern Border

The winter has been longer and deeper than in recent years. A 2012 grouping of five Gardenia jasminoides ‘August Beauty’ gives a hint. Two of the five shrubs are completely brown, although the woody stems still seem to be alive. I have not been impressed with this particular variety of gardenia, but I see they definitely are situated with too much winter exposure. I plan to prune them back, maybe relocate them, and they should recover.

Winter damage on Gardenia jasminoides 'August Beauty' (Gardenia)

Winter damage on Gardenia jasminoides ‘August Beauty’ (Gardenia)

If I ever go through all my saved tags perhaps I could verify these as Juniperus chinensis ‘Spartan’ (Spartan juniper). They lived in pots for several years along the front walk and showed a lot of promise when I first planted them out into the garden, but after the winter snows and ice they have me discouraged. One of my long-term goals is to fill in the hedges to provide screening but I am not progressing much in this direction.

Juniperus chinensis 'Spartan' (Spartan juniper)

Juniperus chinensis ‘Spartan’ (Spartan juniper)

I am heading out into the garden now. Have a great weekend.  Visit Christina at Garden of the Hesperides to see what foliage she is highlighting 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 – December 2013

Juniperus chinensis 'Blue Point' (Blue Point Juniper)

Juniperus chinensis ‘Blue Point’ (Blue Point Juniper).  Lavender is in left foreground.

Planted as a screening hedge several years ago this row of evergreens makes a nice seasonal focus in the garden.  The pyramidal-form trees are Juniperus chinensis ‘Blue Point’ (Blue Point Juniper). They need a nice trim but I have yet to figure it out precisely how to prune them.

[These junipers provided an opportunity for an abbreviated entry for Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD), hosted by Christina at Garden of the Hesperides.]

Today is the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and a strange one here. I read the high today of 74°F shattered a record of 71°F set in 1967.

At a time of year when 52°F is the normal temperature, it was a treat to have meals on the screened porch and watch the cardinals at the feeders. And before it starts getting cold again, there is one more warm, but overcast, day ahead. The forecast for Sunday—77°F.

 

 

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 – March 2013

It is Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD), an opportunity to notice the value foliage plays in the garden, as feature or support. GBFD is hosted by Christine at  Creating my own garden of the Hesperides. This month I have been watching as clumps of perennials shake off some of the ragged winter look and start greening.

Monarda is growing noticeably and it smells delightfully minty. Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ seeded freely last year so there are several tucked into places now other than just in the meditation circle.

Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)  and Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue)

Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm) and Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’ (Beardtongue) began dying out in the meditation circle last summer. Highly drought-tolerant plants, they seemed ideal for this spot, but the summer through winter were unusually wet. Combined with some pesky mole activity the condition of these penstemon worsened.  So nearly half of the Pike’s Peak are gone.  Earlier in the week I pruned the remaining plants and am hoping they will bloom.

Penstemon  mexicali 'Pike's Peak Purple' (Beardtongue)

Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’ (Beardtongue)

Also in the very center of the meditation circle I this week planted a few clumps of Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz’ (Pink chintz thyme), a low-growing fragrant Thyme,

Thymus serpyllum 'Pink Chintz' (Pink chintz thyme)

Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz’ (Pink chintz thyme)

Iris leaves are up everywhere. This is Iris ‘Davy Jones’ (Davy Jones Bearded Iris) making its debut this year. It is a Tall Bearded Iris with a purple ruffled bloom. Tall Bearded Iris are among the last to bloom.

Iris 'Davy Jones' (Davy Jones Bearded Iris)

Iris ‘Davy Jones’ (Davy Jones Bearded Iris)

Autumn Joy (Stonecrop) in several spots are contributing interest at this time of year as is an overflowing pot of colorful mixed Sedum that I added to the garden last spring.

Hylotelephium 'Herbstfreude'  Autumn Joy (Stonecrop)

Hylotelephium ‘Herbstfreude’ Autumn Joy (Stonecrop)

Mixed sedum

Mixed sedum

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ is forming a nice mound of fresh leaves.

Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Shasta Daisy has taken a strong foothold and needs some serious attention to keep it from gaining any more.

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Blush’ (Butterfly Gaura) sports colorful leaves this time of year. I have been unhappy with its performance in this location and need to find it a better spot. It became very floppy and did not bloom very well.

Gaura lindheimeri 'Passionate Blush' (Butterfly Gaura)

Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Blush’ (Butterfly Gaura)

Aegopodium podagraria(bishop’s weed) sprang up through a thick mulch layer this week. I was hoping to suppress it and have for years been wanting to manage it.  This is invasive but lovely as a ground cover and was a pass-along from a dear friend many years ago.

Aegopodium podagraria(bishop's weed)

Aegopodium podagraria(bishop’s weed)

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’ is a nice plant for the front of the border. I’m gradually increasing their number. Looks like I should be dividing this clump but am not sure if it is a good time.

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’

So as March winds down many individual plants are contributing their foliage shape, patterns, colors and textures to add interest to the early spring garden. Thanks to Christine at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for hosting GBFD each month.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – February 2013

'Carolina Sapphire' Arizona Cypress

‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress

I am partial to evergreen foliage. At the southwest corner of the garden stand a couple of two-story tall ‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypresses planted more than a decade ago. These large evergreen trees are nicely fragrant and give some boundary and privacy to the property. They have the bonus effect of offering a protective home or perch to a variety of birds.

The softly textured leaves of this conical-shaped tree are interesting and the one-inch round seed pods are striking. In fall the color of the foliage tends toward blue-green; the seed pods change from silvery to reddish mahogany.

Seed pods-'Carolina Sapphire' Arizona Cypress

Seed pods-‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress

Seed pods-'Carolina Sapphire' Arizona Cypress

Seed pods-‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress

These two trees used to have a large sister ‘Carolina Sapphire’ on the opposite corner of the western border. In 2009 it anchored the garden and showed off a rare snowfall, but sadly began to die in 2011 and had to be removed. I think a badly-timed pruning was the problem. Normally these trees are carefree.

Arizona Cypress-January 2009

Arizona Cypress-January 2009

Northwest corner, dying 'Carolina Sapphire'-September 2011

Northwest corner, dying ‘Carolina Sapphire’-September 2011

Today at the northwest corner is a young replacement, trying hard to fill the large void left by its now deceased predecessor. This little one has nearly doubled in size in eleven months, but it will be some time before the balance returns to the border. Last year I filled the space with zinnias.

'Carolina Sapphire' Arizona Cypress planted March 2013

‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress planted March 2013

Moss

In the meditation circle I have become enamored of the tiny bits of moss showing up between the stepping stones.

Moss In Meditation Circle

Moss In Meditation Circle

I dream of winning the lottery so I could bring in Moss & Stone Gardens, whose owners I heard speak last year at a garden club meeting. I would love to cover all the planting areas in the labyrinth with this soft greenness. Mosses are drought tolerant once they become established, which can take a year I think. Although I have enjoyed planting colorful flowers here, I would like to eliminate seeing any mulch. The soft texture of moss seems like an appropriate and appealing choice for this meditative aspect of the garden.

Moss In Meditation Circle

Moss In Meditation Circle

Moss In Meditation Circle

Moss In Meditation Circle

Moss In Meditation Circle

Moss In Meditation Circle

Thanks to Christine at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for hosting GBFD each month.

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 – December 2012

It is time to join Christina‘s Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD), a monthly tribute to foliage.

Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ has been a rewarding addition to the garden this year and GBFD would not be complete without including it. The tips have deepened to a captivating, velvety red.

Euphorbia 'Blackbird' (Spurge)

Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ (Spurge)

Euphorbia 'Blackbird' (Spurge)

Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ (Spurge)

The leaves of this Wintergreen boxwood have taken on a bronze hue for winter.

Buxus microphylla var koreana 'Wintergreen' (Wintergreen boxwood)

Buxus microphylla var koreana ‘Wintergreen’ (Wintergreen boxwood)

This bronzing effect is a normal coloration change for this shrub, but it seems more noticeable this year.

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

Buxus microphylla var koreana ‘Wintergreen’ (Wintergreen boxwood)-Detail

The bluish-gray leaves of Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood) are unaffected so far by the cold.

Artemisia 'Powis Castle' (Wormwood)

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)

This Ilex crenatea ‘Drops of Gold’ (Japanese Holly) was planted in front of the house in October. It lost some of its gold leaves from the stem tips a few weeks ago, but the plant seems to have stabilized now. It formed attractive, black berries, but only a few.

Ilex crenatea 'Drops of Gold' (Japanese Holly)

Ilex crenatea ‘Drops of Gold’ (Japanese Holly)

Mounds of Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion) catch late afternoon sunlight along the Southern side path.

Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion)

Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion)

A pot of mixed sedum adds texture and interest to a corner just inside the garden gate.

Mixed Sedum

Mixed Sedum

Fern-like leaves of Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy) offer surprisingly fresh greenery to the southwest corner.

Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy)

Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy)

Daffodils already are sending up leaves beneath the brittle canes of Lantana camara (Common lantana). The lantana will be pruned back hard in early spring.

Daffodil

Daffodil

This cheerful little mound of green is Iberis Sempervirens. Although Iberis died out in the meditation circle this summer, it is growing in several other spots around the garden. This one may be blooming soon.

Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft)

This potted geranium’s leaf is punctuated with tangerine edges and strongly outlined veins.

Pelargonium (Geranium)

Pelargonium (Geranium)

Thanks to Christina of Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides for hosting Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD) each month. Check out her foliage observations and those of other GBFD participants.

November Walk On Campus

Yesterday was Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD) over at Christina’s which always highlights some interesting leaf, texture and color combinations that can carry the garden year-round. Busy with Thanksgiving and finding my own foliage pretty unremarkable this month, I did not prepare a GBFD entry this time, but today during a morning walk that included a visit to Coker Arboretum, I had a second chance to concentrate on autumn foliage.

Coker Arboretum

Just five and a half miles away, Coker Arboretum is a five-acre treasure on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (my alma mater). It dates back to 1903 when UNC’s first Botany professor, Dr. William Coker, began creating an outdoor lab to study native trees and shrubs. During the 1920s through the 1940s Dr. Coker extended the scope of the garden to include East Asian species, which correspond closely to many plants in North Carolina.

In spring there are beautiful displays of daffodils, in early fall, red spider lilies. Today the majestic trees dominated the landscape, including numerous conifers and magnolias, American beech, Northern catalpa, American Elm, Japanese Maple, pond-cypress and bald-cypress.

Taxodium distichum (Bald Cypress)

This morning a pair of Ginkgos were especially colorful.

Ginkgos At Coker Arboretum

Fallen leaves from the Ginkgos covered the lawn, pathway and the bench too. When school is in session someone is nearly always sitting and reading on the teak benches that are scattered throughout the arboretum.

Carpet of Ginkgo Leaves

The slender tree in front in the picture above is a western Florida native, Magnolia ashei (Ashe’s Magnolia).The USDA plants profile lists this deciduous magnolia as endangered.

Magnolia ashei (Ashe’s Magnolia)-western Florida

Firmiana simplex (Chinese Parasol-tree) is fascinating in any season, but today the white bark seemed very stark.

Firmiana simplex (Chinese Parasol-tree)

Chinese Parasol leaves form dense shade in the summer. This tree is listed as invasive in some states, but not here as far as I could determine. Coker Arboretum now is now under the management of the North Carolina Botanical Garden (NCBG), whose staff is well qualified to evaluate this and all the plantings here.

Huge leaves of Firmiana simplex (Chinese Parasol-tree)

Coker Arboretum’s collection is extensive and there are many more interesting trees and shrubs to share. This final scene for today shows the bright red blossoms of Camellia sasanqua.

Camellia sasanqua

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.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – April 2012

Christina of Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides hosts Garden Bloggers Foliage Day on the 22nd of each month. I am joining her this month to feature the leaves and textures noted around my garden in the last two days. The days could not be more different moving from sunny 80 degrees yesterday to a rainy 54 degree-day today.

The perennial sweet pea’s tendrils would help it climb if given proper support (that task is on a to-do list somewhere), but it has sprawled for many years among its close neighbors.  This is a pass-along plant and I believe the species is Lathyrus latifolius. Its pink flowers are pretty but not fragrant.

Perennial Sweet Pea

Nearby the sweet pea leaf contrasts with the open feathery leaves of a dwarf yarrow and narrow blades of daylily leaves.

Dwarf Yarrow and Perennial Sweet Pea

On a different yarrow, Achillea x ‘Appleblossom,’ the texture of a forming flower contrasts strongly with the feathery leaves.

Achillea x 'Appleblossom'

Tradescantia virginiana (Virginia spiderwort) is native to this area. There is a succession of flowering on each plant, with each bloom lasting but one day. The leaves are long and grass-like blades.

Tradescantia (Spiderwort)

Spiderwort spreads freely and the entire garden is punctuated with its blooms in colors ranging from blue to purple and even white. Here the spiderwort is offset by the silver, feathery foliage of Artemisia ‘Powis Castle.’

Artemisia, Tradescantia (Spiderwort)

Narrow upright leaves appear on either side of lavender buds. Much thicker iris leaves fill the background.

Lavender and Iris Leaf

The narrow leathery leaf of a Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena) allows a peek through to the Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine).

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

Colorful burgundy and green foliage of Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Blush’ (Butterfly Gaura) provides interest for much of the year.

Gaura lindheimeri 'Passionate Blush' (Butterfly Gaura)

This chrysanthemum is a woody-stemmed perennial, another pass-along plant that has been in my gardens for many years. Its leaves look refreshingly green from the rain.

Chrysanthemum

Finishing up this foliage tour around the garden are bright green  and deeply textured leaves of Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue.’

Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'

Visit Christina to see wonderful images of foliage in her garden. Links to the other Garden Bloggers Foliage Day participants will be found in her comments section.