Hellebores and snowdrops may well be the stars of the woodland edge border in early spring, but from May till December the other star of the woodland edge border is Persicaria ‘Red Dragon’ – and here be baby dragons, the new leaves emerging in a stunning coral pink with the same variegation but in different shades. I have to confess to never having noticed this rebirth before – but admittedly I couldn’t remember whether the dragon expired over winter either, which by December last year I knew he did. Wow! is all I can say…
Similarly stunning shades are evident on some of the new foliage on the roses, picking out details that may not be as obvious once the leaves green up. Here is ‘Zéphirine Drouhin’ with distinct red zig-zagged edges on the mottled red and gold fresh leaves, closer inspection of mature leaves revealing that the red edge is indeed a red edge for life:
Various primula cousins are showing off their neat rosettes of leaves at this time of year, so simple and yet so perfect. Clockwise from top left is P. beesiana, native primrose, a bedding primula and P. denticulata. I forgot to check the cowslips (P veris) which are seeding themselves around the streamside grass, but I daresay they will be equally perfect.
I find the emergence of buds from apparently dry sticks a thrilling process, the fresh foliage a sign of the seasonal cycle beginning yet again – so natural, so dependable. Here are two honeysuckles (sorry, didn’t check the labels), the one on the right cheekily exposing the red underside of its leaves.
Equally exciting but also a relief is to find (right) new buds at the base of type 3 clematis, which have been hard pruned almost to the ground – hard to imagine at this stage that these buds signal the start of growth into climbers than can clothe a whole post or fence with leaves and blooms. This is C. texensis ‘Princess Diana’, a replacement for one that took a few years to establish but then did not seem to survive a move to the colonnade. On the left is an already orange tinted (clearer in real life) bud on a tiny potted acer, A ‘Orange Dream’.
It has been so easy to pick out foliage to photograph today to feature on Garden Bloggers Foliage Day, a meme hosted by Christina at My Hesperides Garden. Do follow the link to her blog to see what foliage she and other bloggers have in their gardens at the end of February. After taking the above photographs I seemed to spend a lot of time just rambling between bud and leaf and flower, inspecting and admiring, checking and tending and could probably have continued like that all afternoon, such is the pleasure to be had from the subtle changes at this time of year. There are stalwarts of course, foliage that provides structure and colour and texture all the year round, like ivies and epimediums and the sarcococca and fatsia, but I haven’t much in the way of evergreen shrubs. I have, however, come to appreciate the benefits of certain grasses and although I omitted to photograph the pair of tubs with the ‘pony tail’ grass Stipa tenuissima, I am also impressed by this grass which was acquired unnamed from a car boot sale but which I think is Uncinia rubra. A new stalwart, possibly – unless it is not reliably hardy?