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.

feverfew leaves

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.

white dicentra

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.

persicaria golden arrow

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.

purple hazel
purple hazel and griselinia littoralis

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…

peony leaves unfurling

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.

aster divaricatus

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.

acer leaves unfurling
geranium 'new dimension' foliage

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.

Epimedium x versicolor 'Sulphureum'
Telima grandiflora, or Fringe Cups

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.

green tapestry in the back border
green tapestry in the front garden

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.

Persicaria 'Red Dragon'

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.

rhubarb leaves

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.

raspberry leaves

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…

mustard seedling

47 thoughts on “Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day April 2015 – Spring being all springy

  1. Dear Janet, gosh, the foliage that you are featuring in this post is just plain gorgeous. I always think that the green (of leaves) is always greener in Great Britain than in comparison to California. And that might be true due to all the rain that you are having and also to the lower light intensity. Anyway, just know that I truly enjoyed looking at your plants :-)!
    I know exactly what you mean by wanting to create these tapestries of foliage in your garden, I have the same aim. To me you are already very successfully doing that and I am looking forward to follow you coming up with new plant combinations and ideas.
    Warm regards,

    1. Hello Christina, from my memories of visiting northern California I think you are right, though the light is different too. I certainly value the fresh greens of spring, worth the damper climate. Mostly! On the tapestry front where I struggle is with layering plants to avoid large areas of bare earth or periods of no real interest. Too much evergreen foliage makes everything too static. I need to make more use of bulbs. Glad you enjoyed the post!

  2. Lovely to hear an update about your garden Janet, so much going on and the garden is looking fab :) hopefully you’ll get more time later on but being busy is also a good thing especially as it’s a new venture.

    1. Hi guys, yes, busy is actually really good, though it is hard accepting the lack of time to effect changes in the garden, I’m still working on weeding and tidying. Thank goodness the plants just ignore me and get on with the business of growing and flowering…

  3. It’s good to hear that you are “crazily busy’ Janet – the new venture must be faring well. You are lots of leafy loveliness going on there at the moment. That ferocious dragon would certainly look good with the contrasting leaf shape and and colour of a fern and maybe with a touch of silver or grey thrown in the mix as well. I hope that your special day was filled with flowers and fun :) xxx

    1. Hi Anna, yes, I keep reminding myself that at this stage, busy is really good!! The leafy loveliness outside helps me deal with the lack of hands-on gardening time, so much less than I have grown accustomed to over these last few years. I think the idea of picking out the silvery markings on the Dragon is a really excellent one, thank you, I have been eyeing up a heuchera with silvery tones almost overwhelming the underlying burgundy and wondering if it is large enough to split yet. And definitely ferns.

  4. Yum! (Both literally and figuratively.) Now I’m salivating over the thought of raspberries, too. Thanks. ;-) I’ve become a huge fan of Epimediums of late. For years I dreamed of adding them to my garden, and a few years ago I found the perfect place. Now I have three of various types, and I want more! I had no idea how delightful they would be upon spring emergence, and they survive my brutal winters. Plus, they’re like beautiful fairy plants! I enjoyed your foliage post immensely, and I’m glad work and garden are going well for you, Janet!

    1. Glad to share the raspberry anticipation Beth! Epimediums really are rather addictive aren’t they. I hanker after a white flowering one now, and there is a spot in the front garden that I think they might thrive in too…

  5. That is indeed a huge peony bud! Aren’t the colors magnificent–your foliage looks so healthy. I’ve learned something about all the peonies I grow. Don’t know if this would interest you, but I pinch out the tiny buds around the multitude of bigger buds like yours so that the peonies I get are huge. I guess it depends upon the look you want.

    I understand the busy-ness! I’ve had to learn to write before I go to blogs otherwise I get nothing done!

    Happy to see you back, Susan

    1. Hi Susan, thank you for the flower tip, if I spy any more buds I will think about it, though I suspect that, this first year (for me) I want to just see what it does on its own. I am very intrigued to see what colour the flowers turn out to be… Now off to visit Bhutan!

  6. A most enjoyable post and lovely pictures. Green foliage always looks so bright and fresh at this time of year. Happy gardening. xx

    1. It is a unique colour of green isn’t it Flighty, so full of promise. Happy gardening to you too!

  7. Such beautiful foliage, Janet! I love the range of texures – not to mention colours – you’ve developed. And you’re helping me think how to layer the textures, not something I’ve had a good eye for in the past – so, thanks :)

    1. Hi Amy, I am a mere beginner at the art of creating tapestries out of foliage, maybe we can swap notes on what works – and what doesn’t!

  8. Great save with the Peony and what a lovely fat bud – so promising. I have found 2 peony shoots this year and goodness only knows where they have come from.
    I have trouble partnering Persicaria Red Dragon and last year I tried a scrambling hardy geranium with a blue flower but it was too small to make much of an impact, I hope it looks better this year. I look forward to seeing just what you choose.
    Your plants are all looking wonderfully fresh, I love when all the plants layer too, nothing like a good mingle in the garden, eh?

    1. Yes Angie, a good mingle is a wonderful thing to see in the garden! I have been eyeing up a developing clump of geranium phaeum and wondering whether the wafting dots of maroon flowers would work well the with dragon. Otherwise I think it is going to be ferns, perhaps with a heuchera or two. Or something silvery, as Anna suggested.

      Exciting to hear you have discovered peonies too, I wonder what flowers we will see…

    1. Hi Sue, yes, the acer has become noticeably more leafy over the past few days, I almost can’t see through it to the border behind now. The black sambucus unfurling at the back of my park border was another candidate for this post, but it was already getting too long. I am hoping that the one I planted in the front garden will really get going this year, I hadn’t realised how slow they are to establish, though as you say, once they are settled in they do put on the most amazing growth spurts, rather reminiscent of a buddleja.

  9. It does my heart good to see the words “crazily busy” in your post! One of my friends used to say about that fresh, spring green, “That’s the color of HOPE.” (He’d almost come out of his shoes on HOPE.) The leaves here were already looking dusty but just got washed clean this morning by our first rain in weeks. We’re looking a teensy bit more like Wales than New Mexico — at least for the next 5 minutes…

    1. Hi Stacy, I am still having to pinch myself at this apparent return to health. I’d honestly given up hope, which makes it all the more precious to be able to be crazy-busy, and feel tired, but know that it is a different kind of tired. Only another ME sufferer would understand that. I wish I knew what had caused the breakthrough, but whatever it was, I would love to bottle it and send it to you. Hope you enjoyed your clean leaves. I imagine they are all dusty and New Mexico again by now.

  10. Such a joyful post full of gorgeous foliage and your wonderful enthusiasm! You really have achieved some lovely effects with so many different shades of greens and purples. I love Red Dragon, and the hazel and the acer too. Happy Gardening, Janet!

    1. Hello Cathy, hard not to be bubbling with enthusiasm in Spring, isn’t it, everything just seems to fresh and exuberant, it makes me grin. Red Dragon is a very striking plant, I can see it emerging from the ground from my desk, and it is almost perceptible, day to day, how much it is growing, going from a slight hint of purple to a little mound.

  11. Epimediums are so beautiful aren’t they, my plant of the moment I think. I just love the leaf markings on that one, and the sight of the acer unfurling too.

    1. Hi Jessica, I’m sure the epimediums are about to be ousted from the “favourite plant” status by geums, judging by the fact that my ‘Totally Tangerine’ is about to burst in to flower… The acer is a piece of annual magic that never ceases to delight me.

  12. It all looks so fresh and full of promise, what a perfect time of year it is! We have had glorious warm sunshine here in Lincolnshire today, but parts of Scotland have had 3 inches of snow ! Crazy!
    Loving your white decanter. I have one as well, and, like you was willing it to put in an appearance. It is now in full flower and is a real joy.

    1. Hi Jane, my dicentra (though I think I prefer ‘decanter’!!) isn’t quite in full bloom, though its pink cousin is. I love them, I definitely want a third to keep the theme going further down the border. As for the weather, I am sporting the after effects of the sunburn gained by not noticing how long I had been chatting to a friend in the garden a couple of weeks ago, but have been back in layers and fleece jackets ever since! I want hammock time, without needing thermal underwear…

  13. I am glad your garden is growing even if you are busy…such incredible greens and purples especially the hazel and mustard. I am trying some purple mustard in the veg garden…

    1. Hi Donna, I am a huge fan of mustards, and the purple form is particularly good in a kitchen garden because it is so attractive. Plus the flowers when it bolts are gorgeous, to both bees and us. They taste good on a salad too.

  14. Just today I was looking at my own Persicaria “Red Dragon’ and wondering what to plant with it. I haven’t come near to deciding. I love its distinctive coloring and shape. I like your idea of ferns! My own epimediums took a while to establish themselves, but they are spreading now have become one of my favorite woodland garden ground covers.

    1. Hi Deb, I am glad I am not the only one to find partners for the so distinctive ‘Dragon’ a bit of a puzzle. I am definitely going to develop a little fernery behind mine, but that still leaves either side to tackle. Midn you, I have just remembered that beautiful Japanese painted fern that has purples and silvers in the leaves, I think that might make a lovely partner…

  15. I also get excited when I see the new fresh growth on the plants in Spring, is it sad! well I don’t think so even though non gardeners think me crazy.
    Everything is looking lush in your garden Janet.

    1. Hi Alistair, I guess we can all be crazy together, I love the excitement that only Spring growth can bring. Plus I am sure all our non gardenining friends appreciate the chance of having a little laugh at our expense!!

  16. hi Janet, sorry to be so late reading and commenting on your post for GBFD, I’ve been in the UK and I often have problems commenting on blogs that aren’t WordPress from my iPad. All your foliage just shouts SPRING in a very loud voice, how wonderful! Thank you for joining in this month Janet.

    1. Definitely no apology required Christina, I am very tardy at reading, responding, commenting, all things blogging, at the moment. Spring may have been a little later this year but things seem to be making up for it by being extra enthusiastic. Or perhaps[s it is just that I begin to have more plants to enjoy the re-emergence of.

  17. I forgot as I was reading this that you were focusing on foliage, Janet–who needs blooms with all this gorgeous foliage? So many interesting contrasts in textures and colors. Your garden certainly looks lovely in all its spring finery!

    1. Hello Rose, it certainly makes me glad that I spent the time – and money – on deepening and planting up these back garden borders last year, it makes such a difference having so many more plants springing up. Come Autumn I am determined to add loads of bulbs to the mix…

  18. Nice to hear from you Janet. The tender young foliage of Spring is so beautiful that flowers really aren’ t necessary. How exciting that you have a bud on your Peony, I wonder which one it will be. Lovely Cathy gave me some of that Persicaria too. It is a gorgeous colour.

    1. Hi Chloris, I hover over that peony bud hoping to get a hint as to what colour the flower will be, but it remains obstinately, tightly, furled… I agree, I adore spring flowers, I have an veritable forest of honesty, and the beginnings of some wonderful clumps of primroses, plus various other lovelies, but the foliage is what gets me most excited. The ferns! I love to watch fern fronds uncoil. Enjoy your dragon!

  19. Lots of lovely foliage indeed. Our epimedium Sulphureum dwindled away to nothing, sadly. Must have been in the wrong place… Hope yours has more longevity, such pretty leaves and flowers…

    1. Hi Sara, this is my second try with sulphureum, it completely failed in the front garden, too dry I think. Or too exposed to the salty northerly winds. I have my fingers crossed that the sheltered bank in the back garden will keep them happy. Though I may try again in the front too, with pampering layers of compost, the coppery highlights would tie in with the young amelanchier foliage so beautifully.

  20. oh Janet your first photo and remark made me smile as I have the same with golden feverfew, I mostly leave it unless it is threatening something else which is very rare, I find it is more like an annual never seems to be as good in the second year, you have a lot of lovely foliage, I like the rhubarb leaves too and in autumn they turn some fabulous colours, your photos of the groups of foliage look very textural, I’m glad your work is going well, Frances

    1. Hi Frances, glad to hear I am not the only one, and yes, I agree, never as good in year two – happily there are always new year one plants to enjoy ;-) I am loving the rhubarb, we are eating it every day, and still the stalks keep coming. Bliss, and well worth waiting for the plants to really settle in.

  21. I know how you feel, I’ve been busy the last few weeks and the garden blog “to read” list has become ridiculously long from weeks of neglect and I have a long running list of all the blog posts that I want to put up on my own blog. I feel bad for a minute by thinking how I haven’t been keeping up with the garden blogs like I would like. But then I remember I haven’t because I’ve been busy with life, whether that means work, travel, working in the garden, or enjoying company with friends and family and I remind myself how important those other aspects of life are, even if I sometimes wish that all I could do was garden and blog about gardening. It is good to take a break from gardening and blogging every once and awhile.

    1. Hi Rebecca, it can be a tricky balance, can’t it – and I know exactly what you mean about all the blog posts written but not actually posted. I am constantly writing, at least in my head, and taking the photos, but never quite getting round to the posting bit… Still, life is to be lived in the hear and now, and enjoying good company or getting down to a solid bit of work is important too.

  22. Nice to see all the hard work you’ve invested taking shape with the emergence of so many plants! We are both growing persicaria. I’m growing it next to our native yellow columbine and they are lovely together. Happy spring to you :)

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