Ho hum. So much for keeping up with my blog post reading and remembering to post a little myself. I’ve been crazily busy, but in the garden things have just been quietly getting on with the business of springing up with new growth. With lots of newly planted areas having their first Spring, I have been wandering around eagerly looking out for the plants returning for the first time, rejoicing when plants that I have moved show evidence of settling in nicely, and generally being blown away yet again by the sheer freshness and exuberance of this time of year. Feverfew, for instance, has self-seeded all over the place, but the leaves are such a brilliant fresh green that I can’t bring myself to dig the unwanted clumps up just yet.
The white dicentra that I planted last Autumn in the back border has similarly bright foliage. I was particularly glad to see it as I have read that the white form is less vigorous than the more conventional pinks, but I wanted the white not just for the way the flowers should shine out from the gloom of the border but for the brighter colour of the foliage.
Another bright green, almost yellow, is coming from the Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Golden Arrow’ that I planted in the park border to echo the similar foliage colour of the Griseliana littoralis.
Not everything is green of course, I have a purple hazel just coming in to full leaf. I love the crinkly leaves, and the way the colour is such a strong contrast to the Griseliana. I never used to like such violent contrasts, but I find this one envigorating, it makes me smile.
Some of you may remember my excited discovery of a peony, languishing in a very shady spot in the back border before we widened it. I moved it to the Park border in the hope that it would thrive, but I am new to peonies, and I was worried that I had planted it too deep. I was thrilled to see the distinctive foliage unfurling, and I think that may be a flower bud lurking in the middle…
Another welcome sight was the Aster divaricatus, which I moved from beside the purple hazel because it was getting swamped by the rhubarb and comfrey.
Clearly very happy in its new location in the back border near the plum tree, I can’t wait to see the black stems start to form and then the lovely starry white flowers should dance about in the breeze. Or gales…
The sight of the acer unfurling its leaves is always a sign that Spring is in full swing, and just below it the Geranium ‘New Dimension’ that I bought at a NGS garden last year is throwing up its lovely purple foliage too.
The geranium will have beautiful blue/purple flowers later.
Overall I think it is the back border I am most enjoying watching at the moment. I must post about the lovely plants I bought with birthday money – Kate bore witness to my excitement and heavily laden trolley – but this is a foliage post, so I will stick to showing you the Epimedium x versicolor ‘Sulphureum’, which will hopefully form a delightful evergreen tapestry of foliage with the Tellima grandiflora.
Because that, more than anything, is what I love about foliage plants, or just plants with great foliage. The pictures they can create when constrasting shapes, colours and textures work well together. I am still very much in the early stages of developing these tapestries in this garden, and lots of areas look frankly messy or just empty. But there are a couple of places that begin to have the layered feeling I love.
One plant I have yet to determine what to partner with it is the extraordinary Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Red Dragon’, which the ever-generous Cathy sent me last year.
I have it planted beneath the Drymys lanceolata, which has purple stalks to its deep green leaves, and this works well, but I need to smother a lot of bare earth around there, so any ideas for good partners for the dragon, preferably evergreen, are welcome. I am thinking about more epimediums and probably some ferns.
So many lovely plants, and some of those giving me a thrill are edible too – my patience in not picking the rhubarb in its first year is being amply rewarded by a forest of tasty stems, but I’d be severely tempted to grow it for its foliage – and weed-smothering properties – alone.
And then there are the raspberries, which I really must mulch with seaweed. My mouth waters at the sight of these leaves, the fruit was so prolific and so very tasty last year.
So many lovely leaves to enjoy, I am celebrating foliage with Christina at My Hesperides Garden. And looking forward to this little self-seeded mustard plant starting to deliver bursts of taste in my lunchtime sandwiches…