Thanks to Pam at Digging for hosting Foliage Follow-up, the monthly fanfare of foliage in the garden. As much as I love flowers, a plant’s foliage is often a deal-breaker when choosing for my gardens. Especially in August when Austin blooms are a little scarce, the plant parts that are not flowers can lend beauty and definition to a garden space.
While not exactly foliage, seed heads certainly aren’t blooms either. Ex-flowers, I guess, but I’m including them because in mid-to-late summer, seed pods produced by former blooms impart interest to perennial gardens. This group of seed heads of the Gulf Penstemon, Penstemon tenuis, are just about to POP open and spread their glory!
The Gulf Penstemon is a lovely lavender spring-blooming perennial. I keep the seed heads as long as possible to give the seeds time to develop for propagation of new specimens for this short-lived perennial and also because I find them attractive.
Little, tawny turban-hats, the hard shell will burst open, spreading the seeds to nearby areas. Or, the gardener (that’s me, folks) can prune the stems, crack open those turbans, shake out the seeds and in doing so, appear to evoke some pagan ritual while waving the stalks over the gardens. I wonder what the neighbors think?
The Hill Country Penstemon, Penstemon triflorus, sports a larger, darker turban-capped seed head.
This year marks the latest I’ve ever left these seed pods on their bloom spikes. Usually, this plant topples over by early summer, I lose patience with the mess and cut it to the ground.
This seed pod of the Retama, Parkinsonia aculeata, hangs from the tree’s slender branch like a pea ready for pickin’.
Retama is a member of the pea family (Fabaceae), so the pea analogy works.
This trio includes some of the premier hardy perennials easily available for the Austin gardener.
If you have, have had or have ever seen a teenage boy of that certain age when the hair is long and a bit shaggy, close your eyes and visualize that in this Damianita, Chrysactinia mexicana.
I love the swoosh of the “bangs” framed over the decorative stone. Just imagine the teenage boy-head, constantly swooping his hair back to keep those bangs out of the eyes, in that annoyingly cute, but insolent way.
The wide, heart-shaped and deeply veined foliage of Coral Vine, Antigonon leptopus,
suggests a tropical lushness that is welcome this time of year.
I’m enamored with strappy, striped foliage, like that of this Dianella or Variegated Flax Lily, Dianella tasmanica ‘Variegata’,
…and this Color Guard Yucca, Yucca filamentosa, ‘Color Guard’.
Those banded beauties work nicely in concert with each other and with another pairing I like, the native Columbine, Aquilegia chrysantha var. hinckleyana, mixed with the cultivar Katie’s Dwarf Ruellia, Ruellia brittoniana, ‘Katie’s Dwarf’.
The evergreen Columbine, with its soft form and graceful foliage, blooms yellow in spring. Conversely, the deciduous Katie’s Dwarf Ruellia has dark, lance-like leaves and sports sprays of deep purple from July through October. Opposites attract and work well together–at least that’s true of these two plants.
Head over to Digging to check out other accolades to the leafy among us.