Foliage Follow-up, March 2014

As my gardens awake for spring and with a long growing season ahead, everyday unfolds more color and texture.  All winter I’ve enjoyed the arresting combination of the soft, graceful Mexican Feathergrass (Nasella tenuissima) paired with the upright, sharp foliage of Iris (unknown variety).

The foliage of the Engelmann’s Daisy (Engelmannia peristenia), sports the deeply lobed habit which gives this plant another common name, Cutleaf Daisy.

I just love this combination of Mexican Feathergrass (front), Daylilies (just behind), Yarrow (Achillea, sp.)( top right), and Columbine (Aquilegia chrysantha) (back left).

The hue of the foliage isn’t  greatly varied, but I like the mix of Yarrow’s  lacy foliage paired with the delicate, curling foliage of Daylilies, as they emerge from winter’s sleep, in advance of summer blooms. The slight blue tint and undulating form of the Columbine’s foliage contrasts with the fine, silvery foliage of the Mexican feathergrass.

The scalloped leaves of native-to-Texas Cedar Sage (Salvia roemariana)  reminds me of the Geranium foliage.

Cedar Sage also blooms red, later in the spring.

Coral Honeysuckle vine (Lonicera sempervirens) foliage are mauve to burgundy when they first emerge,

and the colorful, ovate leaves hold the developing buds aloft.

I grow Bronze Fennel and Dill primarily host plants for the Black Swallowtail butterfly (it lays its eggs on the plant and the caterpillars eat, eat, eat the plants down).

I’m not above pinching some for my own salad interests, but since there are no butterflies yet, the Fennel and Dill have been beautiful and growing all winter.

Thanks to Pam at Digging for hosting Foliage Follow-up for March.


16 thoughts on “Foliage Follow-up, March 2014

    • Hi Lee–thanks for stopping by! Yes, I think we’re all ready for warmer temps, though we have plenty of that! I’m sure instead of whining about the cold, we Texans will soon be whining about the heat. But I am looking forward to more butterflies!


  1. After seeing photos of yours earlier this year I cut back overhanging branches to encourage more blooms on my coral honeysuckle. I’m not sure I did so early enough but there is always hope for next year, yes?

    It is encouraging to see another gardener growing fennel for the butterflies. I have a small patch I grow for that very purpose, though I do harvest the seeds to toast and use in cooking. I tried the bronze but it didn’t establish as well as the green. Don’t you just love their feathery fronds? The bloom heads remind me a bit of Queen Anne’s Lace. My butterflies and caterpillars are very happy to lay eggs in and eat parsley, too so I try to have plenty on hand because my dill? Those plants are just for me to cook with. Hopefully there will be plentiful eating for all of us this year.


    • I love the fennel–I used to put it in the back perennial garden because it’s so pretty, that is until the butterflies show up. I now have a patch in a designated spot. Funny that you don’t have luck with the bronze. I haven’t had luck with the green! I’ll have to try that toasting thing–do you sprinkle the seed heads on salad, or cook with them in some other way?


      • I use the seeds (often in combination with toasted coriander) in various dry rubs – usually for chicken or lamb but occasionally for pork. I haven’t tried them in salads but certainly will soon – thanks for the idea!


  2. You have much beauty just waiting in the wings for warmer weather. I’m interested to see your bronze fennel. Did this one winter over from last year 1012. I put one in over a year ago and it has surprised me by coming back. It was eaten to shreds by tens of caterpillars but still came back. I didn’t know that the common name of E’s daisy was cut leaf daisy. I have this and am always yanking out seedlings.


    • Hi Jenny! Ha! That cutleaf does seed out–that’s how I got mine, as a pass-a-long. I planted those Bronze Fennel and the dill at the end of the summer. I’ve had mixed results after caterpillar munching; sometimes the plants come back, sometimes not. I love the fennel intermixed in the perennial garden, but their beauty is unreliable because of the caterpillars. Since I’m planting for them, I guess I don’t have much right to complain when they eat the plants down.


    • Hi Pam–I’ve generally planted in late summer/early fall, though you could plant in spring, they might die out though in the summer. Both fennel and dill will like lots of sun, though I’ve had some in all-day dappled light and they did well. You’ll enjoy them–they’re pretty. Your caterpillars will enjoy them more!


  3. I had a coral honeysuckle vine years ago, but it never did very well. I think I may try again if I can find the perfect spot. Your plant looks super happy. Can you tell me about your growing conditions? Water? Light?


    • Hi Ally! The vine will grow/bloom best in full sun. Mine gets sun from late morning to about 4-5pm in the summer and some variation of that for the rest of the year. I only water in the summer when the leaves droop, otherwise it gets rain. My soil tends to be a bit heavy and that doesn’t seem to be a problem. I think the light issue is the most important consideration–it likes sun! Good luck with another!


  4. You have so many blooms on your Coral Honeysuckle. I have one in a shady spot that is doing great, however has few blooms. I recently discovered Cedar Sage and I love it! Great leaf structure and it does look like Geranium foliage.


    • Your honeysuckle will bloom better with more sun, though you’ll probably get some blooms even in shade–it is an excellent vine to have regardless! I’m glad you like Cedar sage; I just love it. When it blooms, that red is just…so…red!


  5. Bronze Fennel! I’ve been looking for seeds all winter, but I don’t think you can buy them here in CA… I’ll have to look harder, because your plant is pretty, even if the caterpillars eat it up! Thanks for sharing!


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