I’d hoped to do a better job of juggling cooking in preparation for a weekend with visitors and putting together a blog post for Christina’s Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day meme, but I have failed – so apologies, this is a little rushed!
I am more than usually obsessed with foliage at the moment, thanks to the very (very!) late and capricious autumn we are “enjoying” here. I have been prowling around the garden willing various plants to either hurry up and colour up before the next storm rips the leaves from their branches before they get the chance (I’m talking to you, black elder), or to please hang on a little longer (my acer). If I look hard enough there is quite a lot of colour, and not all of it from shrubs and trees. The grass Hakonechloa macra is a must-have plant for me, I love its graceful form, and it has the added bonus of lovely autumn colour.
I am really looking forward to the cotinus growing taller, it already makes a big impact as it starts to change, but is currently barely taller than the remains of the aster in front of it – I can see the shape of things to come though:
A plant currently failing to fulfill its promise is my Eonymus europeus ‘Red Cascade’, which I planted in the front garden in the fence border to provide another vivid dose of Autumn colour. Today, for the first time, I noticed a slight colour change in one leaf. So maybe I will have a bit of a show.
But its not all about autumn colour. I love the dynamism that deciduous plants provide, the vivid marking of the seasons, but with such an exposed front garden I also wanted dynamism from movement, so have lots of grasses and sedges. The Hakonechloa mentioned above is deciduous, but the rest are all evergreen, the idea being that they provide waves of movement in my windy front garden year-round. I also have quite a lot of other evergreen plants that, at this time of year, really start to come in to their own, either because they proved a striking focal point in and of themselves, or because combined with other plants they give me an interesting tapestry of texture and colour.
These plants and combinations of plants are making me very happy at the moment, even on a dull day, and most should only get better with time – the shrubs, for instance, are still very small, but eventually plants like the pittosporum will be providing me with much-needed privacy and shelter as well as pretty leaves.
Some things are surprising me. The mature black elder I inherited is still not showing any signs of changing leaf colour, and I begin to wonder if it will at all this year, it has already lost half its leaves. To be honest, I love the leaves so much that I will forgive it if it never becomes shades of orange and red.
By contrast, the Photinia davidiana ‘Palette’, which I wasn’t expecting to give me autumn colour, is adding pretty coral shades to the variegation. I’m not complaining, I am happy to have found it here, as I doubt it is a plant I would have chosen left to myself but I am starting to really like it. It is semi-evergreen, and last year lost pretty much all its leaves in the harsh spring, so I have no real idea of what to expect this coming spring.
I have lots of Acanthus mollis, again all inherited, and either in the wrong place (front garden blocking the view of the sea) or mildewy (a large clump in the back garden). But when we removed the leylandii there was a sudden eruption of two new clumps, in deep shade, both of which are incredibly healthy, with dark glossy leaves. A very nice surprise, and fortunately both can happily stay right where they are, whether they flower or not.
The other leaves I am delighting in are those of the self-sown phacelia and californian poppies, promising plenty of colour again next year in the park border in the back garden. Hopefully the borage will self-seed too.
Well, that’s a quick romp through the foliage that is making my heart sing at the moment, do check out Christina’s GBFD post and the links in the comments for more leafy goodness.