I know I have taken a closer look at the new shrub border recently in one of my posts, but as the season continues and the plants continue to mature I have increasingly become aware of what an important part the foliage plays in a new border – and of the impact made by the structure of shrubs and other plants that will still be standing during the winter. On the left of the border the three cornus are thoroughly enjoying the freedom of a bed instead of being contained in their previous pots – and they have responded to my hesitant cutting back of their colourful stems earlier in the year. I look forward to the reward of more plentiful colour when winter comes.
A new pulmonaria has bulked up in just a few months and the ornamental quince Chaenomeles ‘Madame Butterfly’ behind it, also enjoying freedom from containment, has quinces for the first time ever. Below, the value of grasses is already evident with Carex ‘Limeshine’, Luzula sylvatica ‘Marginata’, Carex ‘Bronco’ in the foreground and Pennisetum ‘Moudry’ behind. A garden centre rescue Fuchsia magellanica has quickly bulked up into a shapely bush, having also responded to a severe trim, and just emerging above the fuchsia is a fruit laden bough of crab apple ‘Yellow Hornet’ which will provide autumn colour. Foliage colour is also evident in Sedum ‘Thunderhead’, Loropetalum ‘Black Pearl’ and Nandina domestica ‘Obsessed’.
Lonicera purpusii ‘Winter Beauty’ and Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’ look as if they have been here for much longer than a part season and will continue to bring interest in the winter months. Although not fully hardy, the dark red Pennisetum ‘Rubrum’ between them will also be a great asset to foliage colour for as long as it survives.
There is till space in the border, particularly towards the back, but there are several tall grasses, still tiny plants and tucked behind other things so not yet visible in these photos, like this one which I think is Pennisetum ‘Malepartus’ – I don’t expect them to do great things this autumn as they have mostly only been in situ for few months. The small shrub with bright green foliage and a few white flowers is Choisya dewitteana ‘White Dazzler’, which is meant to have two flowering periods each year and is already dazzling, albeit in a small way.
I love the dark glaucous foliage of Sedum ‘Jose Aubergine’ and the stunning bright greenness of Carex ‘Everillo’ in this corner, but the unusual leaves of Persicaria ( formerly Tovara) virginiana ‘Painter’s Palette’ also show promise – this poor plant has been moved around the garden to several different locations over the years but perhaps this will be its final resting place. Behind them are a rehomed peony, Lonicera standishii ‘Budapest’, witch hazel ‘Magic Fire’, Rose ‘The Pilgrim’, Daphne mezereum ‘Rubra’, a prostrate rosemary and Pittisporum ‘Tom Thumb’ just hidden in the corner. And a few dandelions…
The fact that I stop and study this border as I ramble and run my hand through the grasses or admire the different shades of foliage instead of just walking past is proof of the value of foliage – if proof was needed – and I am convinced that it is through Christina’s encouragement of bloggers to share their foliage in this monthly meme that I have come to appreciate foliage in its own right, blooms or no blooms. Thank you Christina.