A Corner Full of Foliage

With the blossoms of blooms that spring inevitably gifts our gardens, it’s  easy to overlook the foliage of spring.  New foliage emerges from winter-dormant perennials, evergreen plants flush fresh foliage distinct from older leafy brethren, and gardeners take notice at the greening of their space.  In one corner of my garden, there’s little floral interest at the moment, but plenty of foliage fanfare.

The focal point of this part-shade garden rests on a blue pot full of an eye-catching silver-green American century plant, Agave americana.

Garlic chives (bottom left), Pale-leaf yucca (center), and Autumn sage (bottom right) round out the perennial plants in this garden.

Hugging the fence line is a large clump of emerging-from-winter native Turkscap, Malvaviscus arboreus.   I like the bright green leaves and softer form of Turkscap neighboring the spiky, silvery agave.  Another North American green-grey foliaged native, Heartleaf skullcap, Scutellaria ovata, accompanies the agave and fronts the Turkscap, as well as filling in other spots of this garden.

 

The leaves of Turkscap are wide and mallow-like, which makes sense because Turkscap is in the mallow, Malvaceae, family.

A closer look at Heartleaf leaves and bloom spikes against the Turkscap leaves.

 

Heartleaf skullcap is an aggressive, but easily controllable perennial sporting beautiful, soft-to-touch foliage.

Heartleaf also flowers lovely blue/blue-violet bloom spikes from spring to early summer. The plant is at the beginning of its flowering season and in fact, there are some blooming in other parts of my garden.

Oops–I meant to talk only about foliage for this post!

Blue-grey in color and barb-sharp in form is this Pale-leaf yuccaYucca pallida, sitting alongside the Heartleaf skullcap,

…and photobombed here by the same plant.

I like this yucca: tidy, hardy, and attractive year round, it’s also one of the few yucca plants that is happy growing in shade and part-shade–and that’s a win for my sun-limited garden.

An emerging Big muhlyMuhlenbergia lindheimeri, just in front of the silly bird, tolerates the Heartleaf buddying-up to it.

The Big muhly complements both agave plants with its similar shape and slender, grass-like foliage.  Unfortunately, this specimen struggles a bit and doesn’t grow as large or as full as it should; it would thrive with more sun.

Shy, retiring muhly is nearly hidden and definitely overshadowed by the garish Turkscap and the elegant Heartleaf skullcap and Pale-leaf yucca.  The bird shows well though, don’t you think?

Like the juxtaposition of the the silver foliaged agave with the brilliant green Turkscap, Turkscap and Heartleaf (and Pale-leaf yucca!) are opposites which nicely pair with one another.

The Heartleaf continues–yes, there’s plenty of it in this garden– beyond the Turkscap and fronts yet one more yucca-type plant that’s actually another species of agave:  Red yuccaHesperaloe parviflora.

Garlic chives fill in the bottom right of the photo.

Red yucca’s graceful, slightly arching foliage is a genuine, deep green, rather than the silver/grey/blue greens of Heartleaf skullcap, Pale-leaf yucca, and American agave.  It’s also a gentler plant:  no sharp needles in which to poke the gardener when she’s bumbling around the garden!

Heartleaf drifts into and around three groups of Garlic chivesAllium tuberosum. The chives look spiky, but are soft and malleable. They’re a cheery green, harmonizing well with the Heartleaf, and fragrant too, when stepped on or handled.

 

At the end of this corner bed, one last vivid green foliage perennial partnering with Heartleaf is Fall asterSymphyotrichum oblongifolium.

The new aster leaves trend chartreuse, which brightens this particular combination.

There are a few blooms happening in this garden–the large volunteer sunflower and a couple of red blooms on an Autumn sage, Salvia greggii, but right now this bed is all about foliage and structural plants–both valuable assets in a garden.

Whatever foliage is gracing your garden this April, please check out Christina’s lovely Creating my own garden of the Hesperides Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day.  Also, happy Earth Day!  Christina’s advice about planting a tree (or two or three!) is excellent; native trees are best, but trees are the life-blood of this planet. Additionally, funding for and promotion of science and research institutions will be this planet’s saving.

 

Not-Yet-Autumn-Greens

While today may be the autumnal equinox, it remains hot and humid here in Central Texas.  A wet and (for Texas) mild August lulled me into stupidly thinking that summer 2016 had breathed its last hot breath.  During this past week, summer returned with a fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk-it’s-so-hot reminder that summer is not done with us yet.  While it’s been toasty, some of my hot season blooming favorites are now showing off  their cooling foliage.

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This lush group of perennials soothes my perspiring brow.

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This group includes Garlic chives,  Allium tuberosum,  Branched foldwing, Dicliptera brachiata,   Drummond’s ruellia,  Ruellia drummondiana, Katie’s Dwarf Ruellia, Ruellia britttoniana ‘Katie’s Dwarf’, and Gulf penstemon,  Penstemon tenuis.           .

There are some blooms flowering on these perennials.

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Looking closely, you can see the small, lavender flowers of the Branched foldwing and the larger flower of Katie’s Dwarf Ruellia.

Except for the spring blooming/summer seeding Gulf penstemon, all of these plants flower prolifically in July and August, slowing, but not ending, flower production during September and October.

The green onion-like foliage of Garlic chives pairs nicely with the full-leafed Drummond’s ruellia,

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…and mixes it up well with the petite leaves of the Branched foldwing.

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This particular group of Garlic chives hasn’t bloomed this year, but I  appreciate their slender leaves mingling with other foliage nearby.

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Throughout the warm months, there are always Texas Crescent butterflies, Anthanassa texana flitting in my garden.  Host plants for this little cutey insect are those  in the Acanthus family, like this Drummond’s ruellia, whose leaf serves as a resting spot for this Texas Crescent.

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A wider view of the Drummond’s ruellia, sans butterfly.imgp9963-new

Cooler weather is on its way in the next few days–the first cool front of the season!

I’m thanking Christina and her lovely Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for hosting Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day.  Check out her blog for foliage from many gardens and from many places, and then share your own leafy loveliness.

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