Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fabulous Foliage - October '10

"They" say the longer you garden, 
the more you will appreciate the foliage in your garden. 

A couple of years ago I created a foliage-only bed in my backyard.  I'm not sure if that means I've finally "arrived" at some level of maturity in the world of gardening, or if I have just succumbed to the fact that my backyard is getting shadier and profuse blooms are no longer an option.  

Yes, some of those plants in my foliage-only garden do bloom, but their luscious leaves of varying shades, textures, and shapes are their main claim to fame.

This garden contains various kinds of trees, perennials, and groundcovers sporting...

colors of:
  lime green  
  dark green  
  gray green   
and textures of:

and shapes of:

Wow, with all those options and combinations, 
who needs blooms!

In honor of Pam at Digging's Foliage Follow-Up, I thought I'd do a post to show you some of the foliage that is looking "fabulous" (ahem...see post title) in my garden this month.   

My plan is to post some foliage highlights each month, so that at the end of the year, you should be able to go to the "Cool Categories" section of my blog, click on "Fabulous Foliage" and see the "Peak Performers" for each month.    

Annoying Alliteration Anyone?

So here we go with "October's Occupants" (Sorry...I can't help myself!)

 Hymenocallis 'Tropical Giant' lives up to its name. 
This large beauty does bloom in July, but if it never bloomed,
it would still be one of my favorites.
  'Tropical Giant's' summer blooms are at least 6 inches across.

Ligularia, Farfugium, or Leopard Plant.
Even though Leopard Plant can't make up its mind what its botanical name is, I have made up my mind that this one is a keeper!  

 In Texas hostas can't hold a candle to this tough plant!

Here's a crinkly version of Farfugium japonica called 'Shishi Botan'

The large glossy leaves of
Japanese Aralia (Fatsia japonica)  
contrast with the soft green fronds of Wood Fern

'Gold Dust' Aucuba (Aucuba japonica),  
Japanese Holly Fern (Cyrtomium falcatum), 
'Crimson Queen' Japanese Maple, and 
Japanese Climbing Fern (Lygodium japonicum) 
show Japan's contribution to the world of fabulous foliage!

The variegated version of  
Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior)
 is tough as nails, hence the name

African Hosta (Drimiopsis maculata) 
is another great substitute for regular hostas in the Texas heat

The blooms of the 
'Alice' Oakleaf Hydrangea
(Hydrangea quercifolia)
have faded, but the foliage is worth a second look

Variegated Solomon's Seal 
(Polygonatum odoratum 'Variegatum')
is a striking yet graceful addition to the shade garden

Another variegated favorite is Yellow Archangel  or False Lamium (Lamiastrum galeobdolon

Lamiastrum does have a small yellow bloom in the spring for a short time, but the silvery variegated foliage brightens dark shady spots the remainder of the season

Liriope muscari 
'Pee Dee Gold Ingot'  
 has bright chartreuse foliage

Liriope muscari 'Evergreen Giant'


'Silvery Sunproof'

add indispensable evergreen texture to the garden
 Elephant Ears add a tropical feel to the pond

In the burgundy foliage department we have Purple Shamrock 
(Oxalis 'Triangularis')

The chartruese foliage of Creeping Jenny or Golden Moneywort (Lysimachia nummularia)
is a bright groundcover in a shady spot

The succulent gray-green foliage of this sedum works well in the ground or in containers
Adding more gray-green texture to the garden is the soft foliage of   
'Helen von Stein' Lamb's Ear (Stachys byzantina)

And to bring a close to my Fabulous Foliage post for this month, here is a new addition to my garden 
 (planted with my left hand only, mind you)
Red-veined sorrel

I hope you have enjoyed your tour of my backyard's "Bloomless Beauties." 

Until next time...
                Happy gardening (sans blooms)!

Toni :-)


  1. Boy, your purple oxalis sure looks happy. I've seen the leopard plant growing in Scott Ogden's garden, and he indicated it was fairly drought-tolerant. Is that your experience too? Thanks for joining in for Foliage Follow-Up.

  2. Great idea to have a foliage garden. There is so much out there with leaf color that can rival flower color. You have your bases covered in color and texture. I love your fence and birdhouse. The colors are wonderful.

  3. @Pam: I have the oxalis peppered throughout all my shady areas and use it in containers, too -- just love it! I think of the leopard plant as being more heat tolerant than drought tolerant. All of the areas I have it planted the soil tends to be more moist. Haven't tested its water limits. In mild winters it is evergreen (and I'm sure it would be in your area), but in cold winters it freezes to the ground and returns in the spring. All I know is it is not bothered by the slugs and snails and heat like hostas!
    @gardenwalk: Thanks again for your kind comments! Foliage looks better longer than flowers - no deadheading, no waiting for blooms.

  4. Love it! Love it!!! I really like the fence picture. have you ever tried persicaria virginica? It's also called Painters Palette and grows well in dryish shade. It has a wonderful leaf design - green with a reddish chevron in the middle. Very cool! :0)

  5. Great post. Foliage has so much variety, and long lasting interest. I liked your layout and enjoyed seeing some plants that are not hardy here in PA.

  6. @TS: Thanks for your comment :-) I have Persicaria 'Red Dragon' (and I just realized I forgot to include that on my foliage post!!), but I have not tried Persicaria virginiana. I just looked it up, and it is very striking foliage! Have you found it aggressive or invasive?? The "i" word scares me.

  7. Found you on "Gardening Gone Wild", and welcome to blogging! YOu have a great variety of foliage, and I also have the "tropical giant" hymenocallis and alocasia "California" elephant ears. Are you zone 9? Can't wait to see more!

  8. @Steve/Rainforest: Glad you found my blog! Thanks for the ID on the elephant ears. I guessed those were 'California,' but did not know for sure since they were a freebie from a friend's garden. Actually I am in zone 7b/8a. The elephant ears are in a little "micro climate" right by my house and pond on the south side, so they have been perennial.

  9. You seem to have many varieties of foliage that comes in various colors, shapes and textures. Very interesting. They do have an everlasting beauty unlike flowers. I especially like the photo with ferns and a wooden gate.

  10. Persicaria is one of those "I'll do all the gardening for you!" plants and will gladly take over. But the seedlings are super easy to pull and give away. If you deadhead them , they won't spread at all. Just consider them enthusiastic, instead of invasive!! :0)