Garden Bloggers Foliage Day: the Good, the Bad and…..the Ugly

The transition from summer to autumn, heralded by yesterday’s Autumnal Equinox, invariably produces a range of foliage scenarios, some of them downright ugly. Some plants just do not die down gracefully, but I have to say that there is not yet anything here that meets that description. Although there is increasing evidence of roadside trees in the area beginning to lose their leaves, there is little indication of an accompanying loss of green in their canopies. Here in the garden sweeping leaves from the paths is not yet a necessity, and the only evidence of leaf change amongst the trees is in some of the witch hazels, especially Hamamelis ‘Diane’ (above).

Hostas too are just beginning to turn but will no doubt fall into the ‘ugly’ category in due course; however, after a season with virtually no slug damage the slimy critters have decided to make up for it with my miniature hostas, but I will shield you from their ugliness and just show some of the full-size ones.

While some plants are beginning to die down, others are at their best at this time of year, after a season of building up their strength. These candelabra primula (centre of picture), for example, were tiny self seeded plantlets at the start of the year:

Don’t you just love a big clump of pulmonaria? This one is ‘Trevi Fountain’:

Sedum ‘Jose Aubergine’ and Persicaria ‘Painter’s Palette’ are at their best now, the darkness of the sedum leaves not appearing till later in the season and the overall effect of the markings on the persicaria enhanced as the clump fills out. The latter, however, will die back very badly in due course.

The first year I cut these three cornus in the spring I was very hesitant as I snipped their beautiful coloured stems down to ground level, but soon learned that I needn’t have worried as they have grown about 5ft in a season, looking good now and no doubt even better after leaf fall when those stems are highlighted once again.

With the gradual demise of blooms in the garden as summer receded, the overall colour in the garden has increasingly become green, a showery September combined with equal periods of sunshine ensuring growth has been lush. These ferns adjacent to the stream typify this lushness but themselves are due for a partial cull, as the impending replacement of the pergola brings with it the opportunity to reduce their size and reveal more of the stream, a feature which some visitors missed during our open garden events, despite the very obvious sound of rushing water.

Christina of My Hesperides Garden has hosted this foliage day for a number of years, giving us the opportunity to consider different aspects of the foliage in our gardens each month. Do visit her blog and perhaps look at your own gardens from a different perspective too.

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14 Responses to Garden Bloggers Foliage Day: the Good, the Bad and…..the Ugly

  1. Delightful, thank you. Living as far south as I do, fall color is a rarity. Diane is beautiful. As are the Hostas, you caught them in a perfect moment.

  2. Pauline says:

    Witch hazel Diane is a fantastic colour and your pulmonaria is looking very smart indeed. The cornus will soon be flaunting their wonderfully coloured leaves, their final fling before showing their lovely red stems.

  3. Very hot and dry weather here has a lot of things turning early, or just frying up and going brown. That’s a beautiful Pulmonaria and the color on the witch hazel is great. Mine are the native varieties and they mostly just get kind of a blah yellow.

  4. Anna says:

    Isn’t Diane simply quite splendid Cathy? I would like to see more of your hostas as I noticed that you have quite a collection. I planted two new cornus this spring and am already ready to snip.

    • Cathy says:

      She is indeed Anna. Out of curiousity I did a head count of hostas earlier in the year, and the total was in the mid 60s! I am wondering whether to try nematodes next year to reduce potential slug damage

  5. Looking very lovely Cathy. I love Trevi fountain

  6. Christina says:

    The Witch Hazel is a gorgeous colour; nice to be reading about them again! Like Amy we have very little autumn colour most plants just don’t do it here! thanks for joining GBFD this month.

  7. Cathy the Cornus is already beginning to be in Autumn and when the leaves fall they will show their precious red wood. Pulmonaria is beautiful. The ferns are beautiful. Too bad I have to cut them to enlarge the “river”. But they will grow back and be even more beautiful next to a larger stream. Greetings from Margarita.

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