Six on Saturday: And Now For Something Completely Different…

…FOLIAGE, and some welcome rain and a 15-20°C drop in temperature!

For a number of years Christina of My Hesperides Garden hosted a monthly meme celebrating foliage, and it was this that made me begin to look at foliage in a whole new light. Instead of just acting as a backdrop for blooms in our gardens, foliage is invaluable in its own right, providing not just a green foil for a kaleidoscope of flowers but a rich tapestry of different colours, patterns and forms. When the opportunity arose to create a ‘shrub border’, back in 2014, choosing plants for their foliage attributes became an integral part of the decision making process for the first time.

Not new at the time, but moved to the shrub border from another part of the garden where it had been languishing, is Persicaria ‘Painter’s Palette’ (above) which responded favourably to the move. Apart from drooping occasionally in the heat (as most of us do) it makes a striking contribution to the border, aided by the adjacent Pittosporum‘Tom Thumb’ and Carex ‘Everillo’ :

In the shady border behind the Coop another pittosporum, this time P ‘Gold Star’ is clearly loving its position as it has more than doubled in size since it arrived a little over a year ago:

You may have seen the heucheras in the bronze bed (the theme arising from the presence of the Acer griseum and its peeling bark in the centre of the bed) a number of times already as they feature in one of my end of month views every month, but they really have been at their best this year, despite looking early in the season as if the whole bed needed sprucing up. Those planted in the borders have done well too, so I don’t know if the weather since last season has been especially to their liking. However, unlike those in the main borders which will have had a dose of manure, those in the bronze bed are covered in a slate ‘mulch’ and have had no such extra attention.

Despite the perennial risk of slug and snail damage, hostas must surely be the #1 choice of foliage plant in many of our gardens, spoilt for choice as we are with the variegation, size, shade and patterning of the innumerable varieties available. A perfect and un-munched hosta is undoubtedly a thing of beauty, exemplified here by H ‘Orange Marmalade’:

I seem to have neglected one of my earlier favourites this year, another variegated persicaria , this time P ‘Red Dragon’ with his gorgeous burgundy and silver patterned leaves. Cut down to size by the near-drought last summer he is but a shadow of his former self, but this is no bad thing as he did have a tendency to sprawl languorously over a large part of the woodland edge border, with little concern for other residents. Mind you, the epimedium at his feet, originating from a single plant in a 9cm pot, has made himself too much at home and deserves to be partially culled once I have researched appropriate woodland edge plants to fill the gaps. In the meantime, his shiny green leaves are a joy to behold.

Finally, one plant that foxed many visitors to our garden on the open days was this Clematis armandii; not surprisingly perhaps, as its large long and pointed leaves are unlike those of any other clematis. Also, as a winter flowering clematis, at this time of year it is purely a foliage plant and, tucked into the corner of the new shady bed just over a year ago, its dark green glossy leaves have extended two complete fence panels in either direction, another plant that is clearly happy in its location. Not surprisingly I am thrilled with its happiness and will be delighted if it flowers along the full extent of its lovely leaves in the early months of next year.

So, that’s six clumps of attractive foliage from me this Saturday; to share more Saturday Sixes please visit Jon the Propagator.

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16 Responses to Six on Saturday: And Now For Something Completely Different…

  1. bcparkison says:

    Beautiful. If this is all I had I would be more than happy.

  2. Heyjude says:

    I think foliage plants are essential in a garden as they provide a background to all the flowers.

  3. Chloris says:

    A lovely idea to do a foliage post, I miss Christina’s regular foliage updates. How you get unmunched hosta leaves is a mystery to me. The Red Dragon you sent me is very happy and looking good. I love pittosporums too, specially that lovely black one.

    • Cathy says:

      Oh, it’s good to know your Dragon has made himself at home with you too. My hostas are not all unmunched, but most of them are still reasonably intact – all except one are in pots and the one that isn’t is anything but unscathed, so there is a lesson there. ‘P Tom Thumb’ has looked better but was moved sideways last autumn as part of a rose move, so is sulking and not as leafy as he used to be. Must look out for more pittosporums… I hope to post my July blooms soon – I took the photos a few days ago but haven’t had time to do anything with them yet!

      • Chloris says:

        I have a pretty pittospermum called ‘Elizabeth’, well obviously with a name like that I had to have it. Its white and pink edged leaves are great for arrangements. Look forward to your top July blooms.

        • Cathy says:

          I have looked her up and she is indeed a pretty girl – but quite tall and made me check out Gold Star which I find grows taller than than I would have preferred so may need to be moved…sadly

  4. I love variegated foliage!

  5. tonytomeo says:

    Your garden seems to be rather lush, with partial shade from the abundance of foliage, and plants that like to be watered regularly. (I can’t really see the foliage above, but the pictures and the foliage implies that they are is not completely sunny.) Yet, those two pittosporums seem to be happy there. Have they been there a while?

    • Cathy says:

      As I said, Tony, Tom Thumb came in 2014 and Gold Star 2018. It was a wet day when I took the photos but the garden usually has a mix of sun and shade, depending on the time of day

      • tonytomeo says:

        So, ‘Tom Thumb’ went in along with the plants around it. That is quite a while ago. I do not know these cultivars. The common Pittosporum tenuifolium might grow fast, but can fall over in well watered gardens.

  6. Lora Hughes says:

    This week’s chatter about Mr P’s sidalcea indicates many of us think about foliage w/o thinking about it – several folk who’d grown it because the flower is so pretty, discarded it because of the foliage. When you focus on the foliage, as you have, rather than the flower, it gives such a differing perspective. If you think about it, we have the foliage around usually longer than the blooms, so foliage is good stuff to consider. I was interested in your clematis, as I’ve gotten that one just this year. Sounds like it’s a quick grow, which’ll make me happy. Thanks for giving us something different!

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, choosing plants for foliage rather than flowers is not always our first thought – and there are certainly flowering plants I would NOT choose because of their less desirable foliage. If happy, the clematis does grow quickly and up to 25 feet in extent, so may need curtailing depending on how much space you have. I have decided where I will limit the growth of mine to!

      • Lora Hughes says:

        Oh, very pleased w/the clematis report. I have a 12′ section of wall that separates the front garden from the back & was hoping the clematis would grow up & over. Sounds like my dreams may come true!

        • Cathy says:

          The foliage is gorgeous, a glossy green all year round, so it should prove a real asset – let’s hope it is does well for you too

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