Sunday, January 16, 2011

Foliage Follow-up: Speckles, Spots, and Drops

Yesterday...I was hard pressed to find any blooms 
in my garden. 

But today, on this damp and dreary winter day, I was happy to at least find some interesting foliage.

I looked for characteristics in the leaves that made them just a little more special and worthy of a post.  

Here's what caught my attention today.

Need an evergreen shrub for an area that gets zero sun?

'Gold Dust' Aucuba will fit the bill.

The speckled foliage will brighten up a dark spot in your garden.

This is a fairly large shrub, about
4 feet wide and 4 to 6 feet tall.

Leopard Plant (ligularia or farfugium) is spot on when you need a hosta replacement that won't be lunch for the slugs and snails.  

Ligularia forms a mounded clump about 2 feet wide and 1 foot tall.

 I just loved the way the water droplets looked on the nandinas and columbine today.

This is 'Harbor Dwarf' Nandina.   
Only grows about 1 to 1 1/2 feet tall.

'Harbor Dwarf' spreads slowly. 
As with all nandinas, if you need to prune it, cut the tallest canes to the ground in late winter.
 The 'Texas Gold' Columbine is starting to revive after going semi-dormant in our summer heat.   Beautiful yellow spring blooms are on the way!

This is 'Nana' Nandina. 

It looks similar to 'Fire Power' as well.

Both are shorter varieties, staying about 2 to 2 1/2 feet tall, with great maroon winter color.

To see more interesting foliage from gardeners around the world, visit Pam at Digging for this month's Foliage Follow-up

Until next time,

I hope your foliage catches your attention...

Toni :-)


  1. I like the look of leopard plant. I need to try it one of these days. I'm looking forward to those columbine blooms too, but in the meantime their leaves are sure pretty.

  2. My gardens are so sound asleep and frozen, even the tiny bits of foliage that are showing look like they would appreciate a down jacket! It would be wonderful to at least have SOMETHING green to look at in the winter besides the rain barrels! Beautiful pix!!

  3. Toni your garden is so well thought out and intriguing. I just love visiting your blog. A redo of my front bed is in there a dwarf version of the golddust acuba?

  4. Am real curious how the Leopard Plant does for you. I have thought about it for my shady garden on occasion, but shied away because some sites say it needs a fair bit of moisture. Do you think it would do well in Austin?

  5. You got some good shots of the foliage. The nandina looks so colorful now. And the aucuba is a great shrub for those places that are hard to find a plant to take the shade. I have a viburnum filling that bill in my garden.

  6. Thanks everyone for visiting. I appreciate your comments :-)

    Cat, I know there is a dwarf solid green variety of aucuba, but I do not know of a dwarf variegated one. They do grow quite slowly, though.

    RBell, the Leopard Plant is not one that I have to give extra extra water too, like a hydrangea or anything, but it is in the lower part of my shade garden that does tend to stay a little more moist than other areas. I would think if you do any supplemental watering (beyond rainfall), it would be fine. I just would not consider it a drought tolerant plant that can exist only on rainfall. In your Austin soils, though, you'll have to be generous on the compost :-)

  7. I'm jealous that you have green things growing! Enjoy!

  8. Your photos are lovely! I rely heavily on colorful foliage for year round appeal in my garden, and I have a real fondness for variegated plants. I don't have ligularia - must put it on my list!

  9. Deb, the ligularia changed its name to farfugium a few years back (no idea why), so look for both botanical names if you try to find Leopard Plant.

  10. Thanks for the great tips Toni. We're all fogged in today so I'm not seeing much of anything! I live by the sun, I think.

  11. Beautiful selections and only enhanced by the rain drops. I have tried growing the leopard plant here with no success.

  12. Beautiful photos! those drops looks great.

  13. I agree with Fer... these are great photos! Larry

  14. Beautiful shade plants Toni. Unfortunately I do not have a need for shade plants yet. My landscape needs to mature a bit first. My yard is still a work in progress and I need more trees.

  15. Hi Toni,
    I'm so surprised to see the leopard plant post- Christmas freeze. I see it in the garden centers here and didn't know how well it would do here. Nandina is always more attractive in the winter.

    I just noticed you live in Grapevine... my youngest son lives just north of Denton. Small world.

  16. Ramona, thanks for stopping by. Loved your sunrise over the mountains!!! I used to live in Denver, so I miss seeing the mountains in the distance.

    Meems, unless we've had unusually cold temps, like in the teens, the leopard plant is evergreen. And if it freezes to the ground, it comes back in the spring just great. Oh, yes, Denton is just north a bit :-) My grandkids call me Mimi, too :-)

  17. Toni you have such pretty foliage there ! and yes water drops make them so interesting too .. I have caught shots like that as well (seems light years ago when we are stuck in winter mode ! haha)
    My Olympus is not a highly specialized camera but the zoom is very good and if all the conditions are right, I can catch the moon ! : )
    Thanks for dropping by !

  18. I was just quickly going through your blog and said 'wonderful'! I am coming back in the evening to see it in peace and quiet.
    Thanks for dropping by to my blog. Well, you will see the products from my vegetable garden when they come...

  19. Beautiful shots of rain drops on foliage! There is always beauty to be found in nature. Love your blog, Toni!

  20. Love the leaves and foliage. I tell all who visit my garden here on the shore of Lake Michigan, that the garden needs to look good when the flowers are not there. That is a test of good design. Textures hold the garden together throughout the year and the seasons. You might like to look at some of the postings on my blog, recent ones or the ones from November on Principles of Design. I think you and I have the right idea about foliage for sure. You can find my garden blog using Google search engine: I look forward to checking your site again. Jack

  21. Your garden photos are beautiful! I love your usage of foliage to bring interest to the winter garden. An eye for placing the correct foliage in the proper area is essential to good design and you have done it well! The Leopard Plant ligularia or farfugium)adds very nice interest. I will definitley have to check that one out. I love your blog and will be back regularly. You can come by and visit my gardening blog at Lee