Garden Bloggers Foliage Day: The Gingerbread Boy

img_8492It reminds me of the story of the Gingerbread Boy, where Fox has tricked him and is carrying him over the river on his back but begins to eat him, bit by bit, with Gingerbread Boy squeaking “Help – I am three quarters gone”, then “Help – I am half gone” and so on till Fox finishes him off altogether – except here it was the leaves and the Culprit was Storm Angus! You can see that beyond the sitooterie our neighbour’s beech tree and our own little woodland are now suddenly and virtually naked.

img_8488It’s a different picture in other parts of the garden, with every plant having its own routine of undressing, and for November’s foliage day, a meme hosted by Christina of My Hesperides Garden, I decided to photograph the more interesting states of dress and undress, as not everything prepares for winter gracefully. Do look at Christina’s blog for links to foliage posts in many other gardens and learn as many of us has done the benefits of foliage in the garden. Thanks for hosting Christina!

I keep the lower branches of Hydrangea petiolaris trimmed and the result is a relatively sculptural shrub, particularly prominent at this time of year with its flaky stem and tangle of spent leaves and flowers – there is also a necklace of white bryony berries draped over it which adds to the attraction, although I should really remove it as the seedlings pop up all over this end of the garden.

img_8484I have toyed with moving this Trachelospermum asiaticum, gifted to me to replace a lost T jasminoides, but with its creamy yellow flowers is not really what I would choose for the blue & white border. However, it is clearly happy here and although growing slowly is beginning to cling to the wall behind, making an attractive framework across which Rose ‘Snow Goose’ also climbs. The foliage is consistently green and shiny although I am not sure how it would respond to a hard winter which is what saw off its predecessor.


Unlike most other things, Nandina domestica ‘Obsession’ is putting on her party clothes. Still small, she shows great potential for the future when she is more grown up, but in the meantime will no doubt enhance a Monday vase or two.

img_8490In a more sheltered position at the side of the house the twisted hazel, Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’, is still in a state of autumnal transition…

img_8493… and on the rear elevation the wisteria, although already carpeting the path with most of its leaves, is still going through its intriguing routine of highlighting its veins as the leaves change from green to yellow before finally dropping off and revealing the skeletal framework:

img_8495December, I fear, will present a much bleaker picture.

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19 Responses to Garden Bloggers Foliage Day: The Gingerbread Boy

  1. Christina says:

    Nice idea to share your plants in their various states of undress! The Nandina is lovely, mine hardly changes colour at all and certainly not fit a while yet. Thanks for participating in GBFD this month.

  2. It appears that you are lucky to have any foliage at this time of year. The foliage is 3/4 gone here too. It won’t be long and I won’t have much at all.

  3. Eliza Waters says:

    Half undressed – yes! I love nandina in the fall. I so wish it was hardy here.

  4. Pauline says:

    My Trachelospermum asiaticum was sold to me as T jasminoides and is still going strong on an upright of the pergola, it probably is quite sheltered where it is with a beech hedge between it and the cold east wind of the winter. Angus certainly brought lots of leaves down, not all yet , thank goodness, we still have a few to enjoy!

  5. Chloris says:

    I love the Gingerbread Man analogy. Yes the garden is in a shameless stage of undress now and what clothes it is wearing are looking decidedly shabby. I have Nandina ‘Plum Passion’ which is very similar to your lovely Obsession. My Trachelospermum leaves turn red in winter. I forget which it is, can you tell me how you tell asiaticum and jasminiodes apart?

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Chloris. There can sometimes be a hint of red on my trachelospermum. And jasminoides has white flowers, whilst asiaticum are definitely more yellow – the leaves tend to be thinner too, although as Pauline says sometimes they are labelled incorrectly

  6. Anna says:

    There certainly have been many leaves coming adrift this last week or so without the aid of hungry foxes. Poor little Gingerbread Boy. What a plight! Your nandina is looking most fabulous and much happier than mine which I think is of a similar age. Maybe it will have to be liberated from its pot and planted into the ground when we get back to the caravan next year.

    • Cathy says:

      My nandina has probably been there a couple of years, bought after the creation of the shrub border. I have just checked and should only grow to about 0.7m and is meant to be suitable for pots – mind you, it also says the new red foliage emerges in spring!

  7. Bodger says:

    H. petiolaris looks wonderful with her ankles on show and a spritz of lace on top. Good idea to trim the trunk, I may follow suit. I don’t fear December, the lack of leaves makes me look at the sky, the most beautiful in the world, I think.

    • Cathy says:

      ‘Feared’ was a figure of speech, Bodger, as I too appreciate the garden and the world around me whatever the season or weather 🙂 The ‘trunk’ is fascinating to see when bare, which you wouldn’t normaly notice. so I am glad I did this

  8. rickii says:

    Thanks for the tintillating striptease.

  9. Annette says:

    Your hydrangea looks like two tango dancers entwined, rather artistic. Isn’t its autumn colour stunning too? Pure gold. your sitooterie is sitting so happy and bright among the November monochrome – where could I possibly introduce such a dash of colour? Just love it. Cathy, your seeds have gone out yesterday. Let me know when you get them. Happy weekend 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      Tango dancers? Great analogy! Thanks for posting the seeds – look forward to them. I am sure with your eye you can find somewhere for splash of colour – painting a pot perhaps, if not a wall?

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