Fire And Ice


Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’


It was cold this morning. Condensation on the windows and a proper chill in the air. Autumn is here. The garden is in transition too. Late summer flowers still abound but increasingly foliage is taking over the centre of the stage.



Pennisetum ‘Karley Rose’

I tend to think of grasses as foliage plants and this is one of my favourites, seen here against the backdrop of a copper beech bearing the first of its golden autumn tints.



Aster, unknown variety

Mostly I use foliage as a foil for flowering plants. A foliage post wouldn’t be the same without the ubiquitous (for me) Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’. This month it provides sharp contrast for the newly emerging flowers of a dwarf aster.




The pink flowers of this Dianthus may be long gone but its steely foliage provides a second season of interest when combined with the blue green foliage of sedum.




The gently fading foliage and flowers of a lace cap mimic the hues of the mophead hydrangea behind.




I am trying to retrain this tall, slender growing Pieris into something more bushy and have been lopping bits off of it all year. As a result it has been constantly pushing out its bright red young shoots. They look rather good paired with the deep red blooms of another mophead hydrangea on the level above.



Persicaria virginiana var. filiformis

This season’s love affair with persicaria continues. My latest acquisition makes an impact even before it is old enough to bloom. I’ve planted it in front of the white rose ‘Susan Williams-Ellis’ in the hope that next year the red flower spikes will enhance it too.



Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’

Returning to the theme of ice, another new acquisition, planted in the shade bed against the mottled foliage of Geranium phaeum.



Saxifraga ‘Touran Lime Green’

Teetering on the brink.. I include this one for its curiosity value. I love the way the offsets are piling up on the edge of the wall. Next to it is Sedum spurium.



Sanguisorba ‘Tanna’


But to end let’s warm up with more fiery autumn shades.



Peony ‘Bowl of Beauty’



Cornus kousa ‘Satomi’

By next month the Cornus will be a beacon of flaming red.



Acer palmatum ‘Osakazuki’

Although the prize for red beacons will always go to this… now showing the first hints of what is to come. In the meantime I can just enjoy the seeds. And think about how to germinate some for even more glory next year.


Linking up with Christina’s Garden of the Hesperides for Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day.

Click through (here) to see how Christina and many other gardeners are using foliage this month.


2018-04-21T19:56:11+00:00September 22nd, 2014|Tags: |


  1. Christina September 22, 2014 at 2:22 pm - Reply

    Perfect Jessica, I love the reds in your foliage and the colours of Cornus kousa ‘Satomi’ are so good, who needs flowers? (probably nearly all of us really, of course). Your post very aptly shows how foliage is best used; as a first rate supporter to the flowers. Christina

    • Jessica September 22, 2014 at 8:50 pm - Reply

      The colours of the Cornus get even better as autumn progresses. And with the flowers that can last weeks in early summer it’s a cracking tree.

  2. Mark and Gaz September 22, 2014 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    Beautiful autumn colours there Jessica. Yep this season is definitely creeping up on us. And speaking of ice apparently there was a bit of frost on rural parts of our county.

    • Jessica September 22, 2014 at 8:52 pm - Reply

      It registered 5C on one of my thermometers this morning. It had to be the night I left out some salad leaves newly planted in the old potato bags. Hey ho.

  3. justjilluk September 22, 2014 at 2:42 pm - Reply

    You have and are creating a beautiful garden.

    • Jessica September 22, 2014 at 8:56 pm - Reply

      It’s a lot for one person (plus an under gardener) to do and progress feels slow. The weeds are often growing faster than I can catch up with them. But I did a bit more today and it is getting there. Thanks Jill.

  4. Denise September 22, 2014 at 3:57 pm - Reply

    Awesome Jessica! My bulbs are arriving and I have some plants to deal with – oh and the plasterer is booked for 27th October – I have a month to strip two rooms – oh and I have to clear the rooms too! Arghhhhhhhh!!!!!! 😀

    • Jessica September 22, 2014 at 9:00 pm - Reply

      No rest time for you then.. 😉

  5. Joanne September 22, 2014 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    Lovely as always, fabulous colours.

    • Jessica September 22, 2014 at 9:01 pm - Reply

      Thanks Joanne. It’s looking like autumn is going to be a colourful one all round this year.

  6. Vintage Jane September 22, 2014 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    It is so lovely to look at your garden as there is nothing to look at in ours! I am guilty of having sorely neglected our little patch this year …

    • Jessica September 22, 2014 at 9:04 pm - Reply

      I haven’t achieved as much as I wanted to either. Photography can be very selective though and if I focus on a small area I can pull the weeds and deadhead first!

  7. Pauline September 22, 2014 at 4:31 pm - Reply

    You are further on with your autumn colours than we are. My Witch Hazels are still very green, yours is such a gorgeous red, with the sun shining through! Your Ophiopogon is such a striking backdrop to your asters, they go so well together. You’ve reminded me to go and close the greenhouse, thanks!

    • Jessica September 22, 2014 at 9:09 pm - Reply

      I almost forgot to close the greenhouse myself tonight. Another chilly one by the sound of it. This particular witch hazel has languished all year in a pot waiting to be planted, I expect it is a little stressed! The one I do have in the ground, ‘Robert’, is showing the first tints. It’s about on a par with the acer.

  8. Crafty Gardener September 22, 2014 at 4:38 pm - Reply

    Beautiful leaves in all shades and patterns. The Fall colours are beginning to happen here and I’ve been out with my camera trying to capture the beauty.

    • Jessica September 22, 2014 at 9:11 pm - Reply

      I’d love to see your maples in the Fall. One day, in the meantime I can look forward to your photos!

  9. Jo September 22, 2014 at 5:10 pm - Reply

    You have some fabulous pairings there. The aster looks very striking with the dark backdrop.

    • Jessica September 22, 2014 at 9:13 pm - Reply

      Thanks Jo. I really like that combo too. I have to confess it was an accidental pairing though..

  10. Sue@GLAllotments September 22, 2014 at 6:26 pm - Reply

    The leaves in the first photo look like washing in a line.

    • Jessica September 22, 2014 at 9:15 pm - Reply

      They do! The stem is rather bent, which is probably how I came to get the plant half price..

  11. Charlie@Seattle Trekker September 22, 2014 at 6:41 pm - Reply

    Fall is such a favorite time of year, love the asters…You did such a wonderful job of capturing fall in your photos.

    • Jessica September 22, 2014 at 9:16 pm - Reply

      Thanks Charlie. There is much more colour to come. As it’s started early I hope we get a long autumn to savour it to the full.

  12. Denise September 22, 2014 at 7:12 pm - Reply

    My daughter would have loved the foliage in your garden especially today. She has just started her floristry course at Adult Ed and was most disappointed at the lack of suitable foliage we have in our garden at the mo beyond laurel, rosemary and privet. I did suggest the curry plant, as that has a lovely lushness and a pretty silvery blue colour, but she turned up her nose at that suggestion…haha!!

    • Jessica September 22, 2014 at 9:20 pm - Reply

      I can just imagine a client sticking her nose into a beautifully arranged bouquet and coming out smelling of… curry. Not good Denise.

  13. Chloris September 22, 2014 at 8:19 pm - Reply

    Lots of beautiful foliage setting off your flowers to perfection. I love the Cornus kousa. Wonderful!

    • Jessica September 22, 2014 at 9:22 pm - Reply

      It’s my favourite tree. I have two. If the budget can stand the strain I’d like to add more as we clear more tree sized spaces.

  14. steph September 22, 2014 at 8:38 pm - Reply

    always a joy to visit your space!!!! beautiful!

    • Jessica September 22, 2014 at 9:25 pm - Reply

      Thanks Steph. The beautiful summer has helped me out this year.

  15. Alain September 22, 2014 at 8:44 pm - Reply

    Your colours are very vivid. Even the foliage of the Dianthus and the Persicaria stand out beautifully.

    • Jessica September 22, 2014 at 9:29 pm - Reply

      I’m not sure if the Dianthus isn’t a little too blue for me. It stands out rather forcefully in the garden too. I moved it further back in the border this year to try and hide it a bit!

  16. snowbird September 22, 2014 at 9:21 pm - Reply

    Wow, you do have some wonderful plants here and they are really showing off, autumn does bring out the gorgeous fiery colours. That cornus is stunning, I really do love

    • Jessica September 22, 2014 at 9:31 pm - Reply

      I’m tempted to plant those Cornus fruits and see if I can grow more… must look up how to do it. Thanks snowbird.

  17. CJ September 22, 2014 at 9:22 pm - Reply

    I absolutely love that black grass, it’s so striking. The fiery leaves at the top of your post are stunning too. So much colour and drama in the garden at the moment, it’s beautiful. CJ xx

    • Jessica September 22, 2014 at 9:33 pm - Reply

      Thanks CJ. I’ve yet to find something the black grass doesn’t look good with. I could have it everywhere if only it spread itself round a bit quicker.

  18. Amy at love made my home September 22, 2014 at 10:58 pm - Reply

    You have some beautiful foliage and foliage combinations that show each other off beautifully! xx

    • Jessica September 23, 2014 at 9:31 am - Reply

      I am a bit hooked on foliage. Perhaps too much so, I sometimes think the garden is too green.

  19. Linda September 23, 2014 at 12:31 am - Reply

    Linda :o)

    • Jessica September 23, 2014 at 9:35 am - Reply

      I have lost my miscanthus (into a sea of weeds) otherwise that would have been in too. Next year, next year!

  20. elaine September 23, 2014 at 8:00 am - Reply

    Lovin’ that first picture. Nice to see such colour when the garden is winding down.

    • Jessica September 23, 2014 at 9:38 am - Reply

      It’s the only good thing about autumn for me. Pushes aside thoughts of the dark winter days to come.

  21. Cathy September 23, 2014 at 8:07 am - Reply

    As so many others have said (and we can’t be all wrong!) you have shown how well foliage can complement flowers – thanks. I am intrigued with your persicaria, as I have had one of these for a number of years when it used to be called ‘tovara’, but unlike my other persicaria I don’t think think it has ever flowered – must check it out.

    • Jessica September 23, 2014 at 9:54 am - Reply

      According to the label it should flower, but it’s too early to tell whether it actually will. Foliage that interesting is almost enough, but if it doesn’t produce blooms it will get shifted..

  22. Penny September 23, 2014 at 8:19 am - Reply

    Glorious autumnal colours x

    • Jessica September 23, 2014 at 9:55 am - Reply

      I think it’s going to be a good year for colour!

  23. Em September 23, 2014 at 8:58 am - Reply

    Very frosty here this morning, on the moor anyway. Such beautiful colours. I must try and visit before it all goes! X

    • Jessica September 23, 2014 at 10:05 am - Reply

      It went down to 3C here, but warmer tonight I hope. I must get some mulch for my tender perennials! My guess would be in another 2-3 weeks the colour will be at its peak.

  24. wherefivevalleysmeet September 23, 2014 at 9:15 am - Reply

    Lovely images Jessica – who would have thought that peony leaves could look so exquisite.

    • Jessica September 23, 2014 at 10:07 am - Reply

      I’m sure they didn’t look this good last year. I left the seed heads on, although I didn’t get any seed. Maybe that made the difference. Thanks Rosemary.

  25. Annie September 23, 2014 at 10:08 am - Reply

    Gorgeous! Especially the Pennisetum ‘Karley Rose’ … I think I’m in love!

    • Jessica September 23, 2014 at 8:42 pm - Reply

      It’s a stunning grass. It’s grown to about twice the height here compared to my previous garden – must be all the rain!

  26. Marian St.Clair September 23, 2014 at 10:23 am - Reply

    Great color; I love when the weather begins to cool. Have you tasted the fruits of the kousa? I read they are edible, but mine aren’t ripe yet.

    • Jessica September 23, 2014 at 8:52 pm - Reply

      I haven’t! You’ve got me intrigued now..

  27. islandthreads September 23, 2014 at 11:35 am - Reply

    the first photo of the hamamelis is beautiful Jessica, you have some nice foliage with a promise of bright colour to come,
    enjoyed a virtual walk with you along the sands in your previous post, I hope you had a well earned Devon cream tea when you got back to the hotel, Frances

    • Jessica September 23, 2014 at 8:56 pm - Reply

      No cream tea, but I did have a pudding with lunch! It is a lovely beach, but so are those in the isles. Looking forward to getting up there one day soon, especially now I won’t need a passport.

  28. frayed at the edge September 23, 2014 at 7:09 pm - Reply

    Autumn colours are my favourites. The trees here are turning fast – I must try to get out for a walk to take some photos.

    • Jessica September 23, 2014 at 8:58 pm - Reply

      It seems to be early this year. I hope that doesn’t mean winter will be early too..

  29. Sarah September 23, 2014 at 9:17 pm - Reply

    Wonderful colours, it feels so much colder here today I think Autumn has appeared here too! Sarah x

    • Jessica September 24, 2014 at 9:34 am - Reply

      And at last some rain this morning! The garden is loving it.

  30. CherryPie September 24, 2014 at 12:37 am - Reply

    Your first photograph is stunning 🙂

    I have just returned from holidaying in Winchester. The weather was like like summer and I didn’t need a coat and only on a couple of occasions wore a cardigan. There was only a hint in the leaves that autumn might be around the corner.

    When I returned to Shropshire the leaf colours were far more vibrant and autumnal. The temperature was only slightly cooler and summer hasn’t entirely departed…

    • Jessica September 24, 2014 at 9:37 am - Reply

      It’s perfect autumn weather at the moment. I might even come to like autumn if this carries on! Glad you had good weather for your break, it makes all the difference doesn’t it.

  31. Christina September 24, 2014 at 1:03 am - Reply

    Hi Jessica, I thoroughly enjoyed looking at the different foliage in your garden! Some plants are familiar to me, some are unknown, but even the ones that I do know I seem to see with new eyes through your lens. Your post made it crystal clear to me: Foliage is important to consider as a gardener and I do it way to little. Promised myself to get better at it! Thanks for the tour and wishing you wonderful rest of the week!

    • Jessica September 24, 2014 at 9:42 am - Reply

      Foliage has become even more important since living here as by far the majority of the garden is in shade. But it has a useful role in the sunny borders too. I could never have the success with roses that you do and for that I am extremely envious!

  32. Annie Edwards September 24, 2014 at 10:31 am - Reply

    super autumn colours in your garden – I love this time of year. I missed this link up yet again – hoping to join in soon x

    • Jessica September 24, 2014 at 10:41 pm - Reply

      Thanks Annie. The autumn colour is only just starting, but the change does seem to be happening quite quickly this year. Maybe the cold August has something to do with it.

  33. LINDA from EACH LITTLE WORLD September 24, 2014 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    Brunnera Jack Frost is one of my favorites. No pests and always looks good. It self-seeds in my garden but not to the degree that it’s a problem. It means I can have a swath of this plant for just the cost of the original. People here would not believe your red Hydrangea. We can’t grown anything quite like that.

    • Jessica September 24, 2014 at 10:46 pm - Reply

      I’d be quite happy to have a few volunteers from the brunnera! The hydrangea started out as a rather sickly pink and has faded to this deep red. As with all hydrangeas this is the stage when I really love it, although I’ve never seen it quite this colour before. I’m torn between cutting the blooms and drying them for the house or leaving them right where they are.

  34. hoehoegrow September 24, 2014 at 1:59 pm - Reply

    Brunnera ‘jack Frost’ will not disappoint ! gorgeous plant from the first leaf to the last! I love that Persicaria – very striking!
    Fantastic title and matching photos/ text – cracking post!!

    • Jessica September 24, 2014 at 10:49 pm - Reply

      Thanks Jane. I hope I get flowers on the persicaria, but it was the leaves that sold it. It is already showing signs of rapid growth, as they all do… the rose is looking down at it rather nervously!

  35. Donna@Living From Happiness September 24, 2014 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    You have highlighted some of the best foliage which is definitely taking on its autumn coat….I do love the Saxifraga ‘Touran Lime Green’ on the wall.

    • Jessica September 24, 2014 at 10:55 pm - Reply

      Isn’t it weird the way they all pile up? The leading edge must be six inches high. Maybe it will reach a point when they all tumble over the precipice at once, like lemmings.

  36. Jay September 24, 2014 at 5:59 pm - Reply

    The Autumn colours are the most glorious in the garden I think.

    • Jessica September 24, 2014 at 10:58 pm - Reply

      There can be little that matches the drama of an acer in full red leaf. I do hope it’s a good year.

  37. AnnetteM September 24, 2014 at 10:55 pm - Reply

    There is a chill in the early morning air here too, but temperatures not dropped too much yet. The only reason I know is that we were up early to go down to Gleneagles for one of the practice days for the Ryder cup. We had to get the train at 06.30 – a lot earlier than we usually get up!
    I love the colour of your Hamamelis leaves – they look very like beech leaves don’t they, but I can’t tell the size from the photo. Those fruits on the Cornus are very unusual – I have a very common one; it has lovely red stems and pretty leaves for about a week before they fall off, but your fruit is amazing.

    • Jessica September 24, 2014 at 11:11 pm - Reply

      The cornus kousa have had a really good year, they’ve both been absolutely smothered in blooms and now fruit. As Marian mentioned above they are supposedly edible. I have been looking at them and thinking about it… but not actually tried one yet!
      The Hamamelis leaves are very like beech, but bigger.

  38. bettyl - NZ September 25, 2014 at 4:01 am - Reply

    What lovely colors and textures!

    • Jessica September 25, 2014 at 9:15 am - Reply

      Thanks! I love the colours of autumn, but in my heart I really wish it was Spring.

  39. Paula@BloomsnSpades September 25, 2014 at 2:37 pm - Reply

    Lovely warm colours Jessica. It does feel more like Autumn now, there’s a definite nip in the air in the mornings. Jealous that your Brunnera is unmunched, mine look like swiss cheese at the moment!

    • Jessica September 25, 2014 at 9:50 pm - Reply

      When we photographed it, it was newly planted. Two days later there were holes.

  40. SeagullSuzie September 25, 2014 at 7:08 pm - Reply

    I love your colour combinations Jessica, your garden is looking fabulous.

    • Jessica September 25, 2014 at 9:52 pm - Reply

      Thanks. Thinking it was going to be cooler this week I’ve been moving things about. Then the sun came out.. I’ll get there in the end.

  41. Janet/Plantaliscious September 26, 2014 at 9:01 am - Reply

    Glorious foliage, love the start of the autumn fireworks, not much sign of it here yet, except on the witch hazel and amelanchier. I am envious of how happy your ophiophogon is, mine tend to sulk and not to want to spread around. Humph.

    • Jessica September 26, 2014 at 9:59 am - Reply

      The ophiopogon spreads very slowly here, it’s so frustrating. Perhaps it’s just biding its time and will one day take off.. It goes so well with so many things. Every year I say I must get an amelanchier. Next year..

  42. All That I'm Eating September 26, 2014 at 3:33 pm - Reply

    Beautiful photos, it is a lovely time of year isn’t it.

    • Jessica September 26, 2014 at 7:07 pm - Reply

      It certainly has been this year, another glorious day today.

  43. angiesgardendiaries September 26, 2014 at 5:34 pm - Reply

    Foliage perfection there Jessica – so much interest there. I find that Brunnera make a great foil for many plants and is a useful addition to any garden.
    Loving all the reds you have going on there. Things are a bit slow here and very little signs of autumn just now.

    • Jessica September 26, 2014 at 7:11 pm - Reply

      Seems odd that we are seeing autumn arriving before you.. Brunnera is going to be a very useful plant, especially if it seeds itself around and if I can keep the slugs off it!

  44. Benjamin September 27, 2014 at 12:41 am - Reply

    Autumn distilled into words & pictures…lovely post! Cheers, Ben

    • Jessica September 27, 2014 at 9:25 am - Reply

      Thank you Ben, I’m sure there will be plenty more autumn colour yet. It’s the ice I’m not looking forward too!

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