On 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:
Equally 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:
Not 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:
As 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:
Far 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!