…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.