I am celebrating foliage along with Christina, and many others. There is a lot of foliage that is making me smile at the moment. There is a little corner in the back garden, next to the two greenhouses, that makes me smile every time I walk past it. Some of this is due to the pairing of a pink dicentra with the saxifrage ‘London Pride’. I can’t claim this is the result of expert planning on my part, as when I planted the dicentra I hadn’t seen the saxifrage flower, but it does work perfectly.
The flower combination is lovely, but it is the foliage that really makes this corner for me, and this will last far longer than the blooms. The purple beech and the bright green of the dicentra, the different but complimentary leaf shapes, they make the perfect picture, to my eyes at least.
I have something approaching an obsession with purple foliage, and today I received a plant delivery from Claire Austin Hardy Plants that included Actaea simplex ‘Black Negligé’.
I plan to plant it near the beech, where it will pick up the purple theme and help stretch it across the back border to the acer corner and beyond. We have taken to putting the hammock stand in this corner, it has become pleasantly secluded since we moved the greenhouse, and I am hoping that even I will be able to smell the scent.
That contrast between the purple beech and the bright green dicentra is actually echoed on the other side of the back garden, where a purple hazel is planted alongside a Griselliana.
I want to use this same contrast to help knit the acer in to the garden, and the lovely Cathy@Rambling in the Garden not only sent me some Geranium phaeum recently, she added a Persicaria ‘Red Dragon’, which was a wonderful surprise. They are all potted up in the greenhouse at the moment to put on some strong root growth ready to be planted out later this month.
The baby persicaria leaf is already showing the distinctive chevron markings.
I love the fact that already my garden is full of plants with stories behind them, gifts that remind me of people, like the Potentilla recta ‘Sulphurea’ from Sara@Hillwards…
…and the Echinops ritro seedlings from Gardening Sil.
This foliage delights because not only are the leaves beautiful in their own right, but they conjure up thoughts of the people who gave the plants to me too. I have given plants to Gardening Sil before, from my old garden, and look forward to being able to share plants from this garden with her and others in years to come. For now, it is fantastic to have more plants to add to the developing borders here, and to be reminded of how very generous gardeners are.
Another source of delight is when I see foliage from plants I have grown from seed start to make a statement in the garden. I didn’t grow any silver foliage plants in my old garden, but here, particularly in the front, it cries out for the shimmer of sun on silver. I was very happy to discover how easy Stachys byzantia is to grow from seed, and unlike lots of plants they bulk up quickly too. Probably a problem in the future, and it was a pain having to pot them on into 2l pots becuase I hadn’t managed to enlarge the border they were moving in to yet, but I do love the tactile leaves.
I am also loving the sculptural leaves of Crambe maritima, also grown from seed, and am hoping that eventually they will make a big statement in the front garden.
I inherited a large stand of white lychnis when we moved here, and used clumps of the seedlings to fill the large gaps in the front garden borders while I wait for other plants – or my wallet – to bulk up, but I also sowed seed for the magenta form given to me by my friend L. I’ve not seen her for a couple of years, but I can’t wait to at least be able to send her photos of the plants in full bloom, again, so lovely to have a reminder of a friend. In the mean time the foliage is rather wonderful, ladybirds love to hide in it, and the upright form is proving to be an excellent disguise for the tulip foliage.
There is far too much lychnis at the moment, but there are worse things to have too much of.
I’m quite used to growing plants from seed nowadays, although I still get my fair share of failures. Cuttings, however, have always been a bit tricky, so I am thrilled to have 5 more Anthemis tinctoria ‘E. C. Buxton’ to plant out, the feathery leaves a wonderful foil for the Stipa tenuissima that creates such wonderful movement in the front garden, with the added benefit of bee-friendly flowers for months through the summer. It has encouraged me to get on and try more cuttings, once I get the propagator relocated into the greenhouse.
Plants with attractive leaves are wonderful, but it is even better when they mix well with others. The Eryngium yuccifolium I planted last year is really starting to take off now, and works really well in front of the Perovskia atriplicifolia ‘Blue Spire’ that is starting to fill out too.
Hopefully I will be able to take root cuttings from this in the Autumn, or should I wait until next Spring? I’ve only propagated Japanese Anenomes from root cuttings before, so all advice gratefully received…
…as is the name of this euphorbia, which has seeded itself alongside some native primroses to great effect.
I’ll finish with rain on Lady’s Mantle
a felicitous combination of aquilegia foliage and ophiophogon
one of the may dryopteris flourishing in the back garden – common, yes, but still stunning
and the utterly delightful foliage of Sorbus vilmorinii.
Do check out Christina’s blog for more foliage celebrations.