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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Foliage Followup -- May 2013

The day after Garden Bloggers Bloom Day is Foliage Followup, hosted by Pam Penick of the blog Digging. Every month on the day following GBBD, bloggers showcase the interesting foliage in their gardens.

I'm a recent advocate of foliage in the garden, having spent a large part of my gardening life pursuing the blowsy, full-of-flowers cottage garden ideal in my garden. I gardened almost exclusively with perennials back in Massachusetts. But after the flowers are gone, what's left? Using shrubs for structure and natives for their hardiness and basing plant combos on foliage are all fairly new concepts to me, so I've kind of been going crazy with that in the last few years since we moved here. There are so many interesting combinations you can make with plants based on their foliage. Of course, it would be just my luck now to pair plants for their foliage, and then end up with clashing flowers. I can always cut them off, right?

Artichoke and Lambs Ear

Ferns and Heucherella, with a few spikes from a nearby Deschampsia

'Gold Heart' Bleeding Heart and variegated Petasites

Ornamental Rhubarb, Japanese painted fern and Filipendula

Cimicifuga, Japanese painted fern 'Ghost' and Rodgersia

Bronzy, quilted Rodgersia and fuzzy blue Cardoon

Ostrich fern and Anthriscus flowers

Cimicifuga, painted fern and Columbine

Water droplets pooling on Lady's Mantle (can't resist taking pictures of this whenever I see it)

Lady fern and Fritillaria meleagris seedpods

White-striped foliage of my white Camassia

Sword fern and Cow Parsnip

Cow Parsnip and Ocean Spray (the dirty marks on the fence boards are from raccoons climbing it)

Dicentra formosa and Asarum caudatum

Newly emerging Jack in the pulpit foliage

Sinopodophyllum hexandrum (bought last year from Far Reaches Farm)

The one photographed on their website shows lots of gorgeous mottling, here...not so much

Epimedium wushanense, Saxifrage and fern

Hepatica acutiloba and tiny fern

Baby Nasturtium 'Alaska'

I really should clean up the old Crocus foliage. There's always some chore left undone.

Well, that's probably enough for this month. I hope you pop over to Pam's blog and check out all the other wonderful foliage posts, including hers.


  1. Looks like you've really thrown yourself into foliage. Nice plants. I saw that Filipendula for the first time last weekend when I was giving a talk at a nursery. Now I regret not buying it.

  2. Oh dear, I think I've fallen in love with cow parsley! Wonderful foliage!

  3. Stunning foliage combos! I especially liked the Ornamental Rhubarb, Japanese painted fern and Filipendula group. Flowers, or plant reproductive systems, are fleeting. After the thrill of passion wanes, it's nice to have someone to talk with. Foliage is the day in and day out stalwart friend with whom one can happily grow old! Of course a flowery tryst is always exciting;)

  4. I think your foliage combinations are gorgeous. The variety of shapes, textures and colors is really impressive! I'm quite in awe of the Japanese painted fern 'Ghost'. Going to have to keep a look out for that one! Cheers, Jenni

  5. Great combos Alison, and I LOVE this approach to foliage follow-up! )I didn't realize you were such a rodgersia lover too)

  6. Love the red veination on the Filipendula...stunning...and I'm such a huge fan of the Japanese Painted Ferns...they add just the right touch of contrast without being too overbearing :-)

  7. Really love that second photo especially--what an interesting combination. Well done!

  8. Some lovely solitary and mixes of foliage you have there Alison! Most of your combos are inspirational.

  9. Japanese Painted Ferns are really versatile, aren't they. I got one last year and it disappeared over the winter, I was afraid I had lost it. They are so gorgeous.

    My big Cardoon came back for the third year, it is so impressive. The flowers will be really cool, too. Last year I ate part of the little ones, the taste was OK but I didn't like the texture much.

    Lots of great leaf combinations!

  10. I'm sold on that Dicentra 'Gold Heart' - just gorgeous color! I clearly need a Japanese Painted Fern for my increasing shade. And I had to laugh at your comment about cutting off the flowers if the colors clash - you sound more and more like Loree (or is that Morticia Addams?)

  11. Artichokes and cardoons... I don't know why I don't have any of those yet?! (And yes, you can cut off the flowers. I do it! )

  12. Fabulous combinations, Alison! I have to ask - do you contain your Petisates? Mine seems to spread everywhere and I keep yanking them out and confining them to the sheep tank where I keep a running bamboo. Also, did you ever try to eat it? It is supposed to be edible - the Japanese call it Fuki. If I understood it correctly, you eat it raw in a kind of dipping sauce, but I don't think I had the right sauce... Maybe it's an acquired taste.

  13. Very beautiful foliage and combinations.

  14. Oh my gosh, all of my old coastal favs...

    Now I am going to have to look some of them up to see if I can grow them here.


  15. Okay two things alerted my plant lust alarm: The filipendula with the wine colored veining and your frittilaria seed pods jutting up so stately! Very cool.

    I'm growing artichoke in a warm, dry part of my garden. If it gets huge, I'll be very happy.


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