Garden Bloggers Foliage Day: a Bad Dose of the Measles!

IMG_4034On the 22nd of each month Christina hosts a foliage day meme on her blog at My Hesperides Garden, encouraging us to look at foliage in the garden as well as blooms – something I have really taken on board since I began contributing to the meme. Last month I looked at the grasses that had been recently planted in my new shrub border but today I am focussing on variegated foliage, beginning with Pittisporum ‘Tom Thumb’ (above), another newcomer to the shrub border. Previously unacquainted as we were, it has been fascinating to see the leaves change from green to purple spotted green and then to purple over a fairly short period of time.

Other spotty plants include a number of pulmonaria, these unfortunately all nameless, but the one second from the left was in my parents previous house when they bought it in 1963 and has moved to various gardens with me:

pulmonariaGBFDEqually spotty is a laurel, Aucuba japonica which I am guessing is something I took pity on as it is shoved in the woodland next to the hedge where surprisingly it has survived and looks healthy (and should perhaps feature in a vase sometime), and patchy rather than spotty are two geraniums, a phaem and A.N.Other, the latter surviving too well on neglect in the woodland edge border where it could do with being thinned out:

Spot.patch.GBFDThe large number of ivies are brilliant at bringing light into the garden on a dull day, with a huge range of variegation from leaf to leaf:

ivy.GBFDMost of the heucheras are sad and sorry specimens over winter, but ‘Electric Lime’ and ‘Neptune’ were both sporting a few pristine leaves today:

Heuchera.GBFDNot so welcome though are little patches of lamium (left), the variegated dead nettle which have begun to reappear in the woodland after my cull of its thuggish behaviour a couple of years ago – pulling these out before they get out of control again should be  task for the very near future! It is not an unattractive thug, to all intents and purposes looking as if someone has spilled red wine over its leaves. I am happy, however, to see Ajuga reptans (right) clambering over one end of the rockery after several previous attempts to establish it elsewhere:

creeps.GBFDAs well as spots and dots, streaks and patches, there is also marbling, typified by the easily recognisable Arum italicum ‘Marmoratum’, the leaves of which were used in a vase on Monday:

IMG_4017Far more subtle is the marbling on this miracle hellebore seedling, one of three seedlings I found in a pot of tulips. I recognised the distinctive marbled leaves as being identical to those on the Helleborus x ericsmithii ‘Winter Moonbeam’ I bought 2 years ago but which was crowded out of its unwisely chosen position amongst the geranium mentioned above. As this is the only ericsmithii hellebore I have ever had I am guessing the seedlings were dormant in the original pot, reappearing last autumn amongst the spent tulips in the presumably recycled (by me) compost. I won’t expect flowers quite yet, but I can forgive them their tardiness if they all grow into healthy Winter Moonbeams!

IMG_4033Thank you to Christina for facilitating this round up of variegated foliage – do pop over to her blog to see the foliage in her garden and find links to other foliage across the globe.

This entry was posted in Garden Bloggers Foliage day, Gardening, Gardens and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Garden Bloggers Foliage Day: a Bad Dose of the Measles!

  1. susan troccolo says:

    That Pittisporum (Tom Thumb) is like nothing I’ve seen. How tall does it get? What stunning foliage–could it really serve as a low border? It appears as ground cover in your shot. Thank you for all your delightful writing. I read you every day almost!

    • Cathy says:

      It will grow to about 1m tall and 0.6m across and have a nice rounded shape but mine is only about 0.3m tall as it is very new. The leaves will be fully purple as they mature and the new foliage starts off green. I saw it on someone else’s blog and am really pleased with the contribution it is making to my new border.

  2. Christina says:

    Thank you for sharing some very special variegated foliage in this post, Cathy. It is fascinating that every garden shares some plants and then has some that are so different from others. I’m sure if you keep your Lamium under control it can only add to the woodland feeling.

    • Cathy says:

      It was a good exercise to pick out just one aspect of foliage – I shall do something else next month. I was relieved at how easily I was able to remove most of the lamium before, and it is only a few tiny clumps that have reappeared so they will be easily dealt with

  3. rusty duck says:

    Ajuga can become quite rampant once it gets going so you shouldn’t have any shortage of it now. It even flowered here briefly last month before the frost clobbered it.

    • Cathy says:

      It’s strange how it just didn’t settle any where else and yet it is quite happy sprawling over the rocks in a minimum amount of soil

  4. rickii says:

    You remind me that I am sadly lacking in variegated foliage. I think it’s time to go on a crusade to correct that oversight.

    • Cathy says:

      And yet not all variegated foliage is attractive (in my opinion that is) – certainly better if it doesn’t have to contend with flowers as well

  5. Brian Skeys says:

    I have always liked the Arum’s marbled leaves and ivy is a much maligned plant.

    • Cathy says:

      I think if there is plenty of space for ivy and it can mostly do its own thing it is wonderful and provides a great green backdrop – but I can see why people don’t want a lot of it in a small garden. I

  6. pbmgarden says:

    I am taken with your Pittisporum Cathy. You have a lot of interesting foliage to work into your vases.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Susie – and since doing the weekly vase I notice the foliage of non-blooming plants even more and have my eye on several possibilities!

  7. Amy says:

    I love the various marbled varieties here, and finding those hellebore seedlings must have been thrilling! Also like the focused nature of the post, which does make me stop a bit and think about finding something variegated… 🙂

  8. A lovely post. What a pleasure to see so many beautiful leaves. I enjoy variegated and colorful leaves, as well- especially in the winter. I’m inclined to grow an Arum for the first time this year, and your photo is a nudge in that direction. Best wishes, WG

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks for your kind comments – since writing the blog I notice so much more and definitely appreciate that there is plenty of interest in the garden all year round, even throughout winter

  9. Chloris says:

    Your Pittospermum is gorgeous. It looks as if you have been even more careless with the red wine than you have with the Lamium.
    I love pulmonarias; their spotty leaves are gorgeous. But sorting them all out is difficult. They seed around so readily and all their babies are different. Your first one looks like a variety of Pulmonaria longifolia and the last one looks like Pulmonaria ‘ Silver Shimmers’.

    • Cathy says:

      A waste of red wine perhaps?! The change in the pittosporum has been fascinating as I had no idea what to expect. You are right about the P longifolia as it is one I bought but have lost the label for although might be able to work out which one it was. The more recent unknowns were from someone’s parents’ garden where nothing was labelled.

  10. Pauline says:

    So many lovely spotty leaves! We too are waging war on the same Lamium which a friend gave me for the woodland “as you have so much room”. It gets pulled out every year and every year some manages to come back!

    • Cathy says:

      It’s fortunate it does come out easily – just needs to be kept on top of, I suppose. We were told by someone at a National Trust for Scotland place that it was listed as an invasive species in Scotland and had to be burned rather than composted, although I Googled and didn’t find anything at the time

  11. AnnetteM says:

    Those Arum leaves are lovely – they don’t look real. I have always fancied a Pittisporum too, but have doubted their hardiness for up here. I have just checked it and it is H4 (-10 to -5) so should be OK here.

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, the leaves do look too good to be true, don’t they? I was a little concerned about the pittisporum previously for the same reason but this level of hardiness should be OK except in exceptional winters

  12. Annette says:

    I’m intrigued by your Moonbeam, so special! Just ordered two Hellebores via Internet and look forward to welcoming them. My Arum amazes me – have you ever noticed how it falls into an ugly heap in frost and lifts its head proudly afterwards as if nothing ever happened?

  13. I have a love-hate relationship with variegation. Subtle patterning like the geraniums I love, likewise most pulmonarias. Spotted laurel? No. Tom Thumb I love when purple but dislike the two-tone look when the fresh green leaves are added to the mix. Love your heucheras, which just goes to show I can’t really claim to hate variegation, as I tend to. And as ever, my tastes change with time and presentation of worthy exceptions…

    • Cathy says:

      Tee hee – and I really don’t know how I came to have the laurel as it is something I have never been keen on either, and yet seeing it in the light of possible vase potential shows it in a different light 😉

  14. What is it about Ajuga that it’s rampant where it’s not wanted, but so difficult to establish where you do want it? I do like Pittosporum. We have “Silver Queen”, with silver leaves edged in cream – you may have noticed it in some of my vases – and (of course!) scented flowers. Variegated ground cover plants are wonderful for brightening shady, woodland areas. We have a similar selection, throwing some cyclamen into the mix too. Your hellebore seedling must have been a very pleasant surprise!

Comments are closed.