Persicaria virginiana var. filiformis and Astrantia ‘Ruby Wedding’. The blood red markings on the persicaria leaves are brought into sharper focus by the similar hues of the astrantia behind.
In an English summer garden it is flowers we look to first to take the lead. Rightly so.
But where would our borders be without the various textures and form of foliage to provide contrast and punctuation? Even the plainest of green leaves contribute to the base layer, melding the individual players together to form a pleasing and coherent whole. Yet not all foliage is content to take on a purely supporting role.
Red veined sorrel
The leading lady in the vegetable garden at the moment. Making me think that I really should plant some chard.
Anemanthele lessoniana (syn. Stipa arundinacea)
The pink tinged fronds of the pheasant’s tail grass dominate the bank. An evergreen species, it holds on to its leaves all year but is perhaps due a haircut. The planting here is a long way from finished, yet already the clipped berberis hedges and the ferns provide structure. The newly acquired phormium will do the same, in the fullness of time, especially now I’ve remembered to connect it to the watering system. Doh.
Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’
Black mondo grass is in active growth and its leaves have taken on a delicious dark olive hue.
Above, Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Orange Field’ stands out clearly against the dark leaves of an azalea that flowered earlier in the year. The white Dierama ‘Guinevere’ may also be past the peak of its flowering glory but the spiky foliage will continue to act as a visual break in the border long after the blooms are gone.
Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ and Geranium wallichianum ‘Sylvia’s Surprise’
In the parts of the garden away from full sun foliage becomes even more important. The hakonechloa will tolerate partial shade. It may not be the easiest colour to place in the garden, but I do love this grass. Combined with the geranium, it adds real bling to the woodland edge.
On the terraces it pairs with Cistus argenteus ‘Silver Pink’..
..and Ajuga reptans ‘Burgundy Glow’
The Ajuga, in its turn, is the perfect partner for Erigeron karvinskianus
The tapestry of low growing herbs under the bird table gets a lift from Libertia ‘Gold Finger’
I bought this grass years ago and have long since lost the label. In colour and form it is similar to the anemanthele above but smaller, and lighter, with flowers (or seedheads?) that are almost black. Really quite distinctive.
Anyone know what it is?
Kalanchoe ‘Bronze Sculpture’
The kalanchoe is spending summer outside where its paddle shaped succulent leaves have taken on even brighter hues.
And finally, on the theme of foliage, an update on some work in progress.
Eight of them, plus a berberis, have successfully resprouted. It may be a while yet until they bloom. In autumn they’ll move to a more suitable location and hopefully support lush foliage as they continue to grow.
In their place, Lonicera nitida.. as a low hedge.
7 rooted cuttings, fresh out of the new propagator.
OK, OK, it’s a start.
Linking up with Christina’s Garden of the Hesperides for Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day.
Click through (here) to see how foliage plays a role in her very different climate.
Housekeeping Note: We’ve been having problems with broadband (again) for over a week now and it doesn’t seem to be resolved quite yet. I’ve been late responding to comments and visiting some of your blogs, for which I apologise. Hopefully normal service will soon be resumed!