Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – April 2012 New Beginnings

Almost everything is now dressed in its new fresh foliage for spring.  Even evergreens like Box are covered with bright green leaves, a reminder to me that they should ideally be pruned into shape now so that they still have some time, before the really hot weather and their summer dormancy, to grow.  This is the first time they have put on so much new growth; a good friend has a theory that the sharp cold weather we had in February has shocked some shrubs into producing for new foliage and more flowers this year.

April is the month when the most change happens most quickly in the garden.  Despite there being a large number of flowers now it is still the foliage that does the biggest job in making the garden look full and lush.

Looking between the circular rose bed and small island to the formal beds and to the right the back boundary border.

I think of spring as being green, but many plants produce bronze or other coloured leaves before they turn green.  This, as in autumn, is a defensive mechanism to protect the tender new leaves from the strong sun and maybe also the startling changes in temperature that often occur in spring.

I love the delicate colour of the walnut tree leaves, it is probably its most attractive just as its leaves unfurl.

When we moved here a good percentage of the boundary hedge was composed of Photinia, it is a shrub that I used to dismiss as being rather boring.  It is widely used here, as once established it is very tolerant of summer drought.  It also doesn’t mind the strong winds, either cold winter Tramontana or hot summer from the not so distant sea.  The foliage in spring reflects the colour of my favourite tulips ‘Brown Sugar’ and the new foliage growth of Rosa Westerland.  It also gave a interesting contrast when there were a large number of white tulips in the formal beds.  When their flowers open they are an attraction to the bees who love the strange perfume (I’m not so sure I like it).

New growth of R. Westerland with Photinia in the background

I happened on a post the other day written by The sproutling writes all about how she loves roses for their foliage more than their flowers!

Hostas are spiralling out of the ground, their new leaves pushing through the soil where a few days before I had wondered if they had survived the winter as there was nothing at all to see.

Hostas are just amazing the way they push their leaves through the soil and then unfurl. There are more Hostas on the slide-show

The silver-leaved plants sparkle in the sun and they are creating some lovely combination with purple sedum, Rosa Rubrifolia and Cotinus.  Dark Heuchera contrasts with Festuca glauca.

Heuchera obsidion with Festuca glauca

Purple sedum with Artemisia pontica

Here are some images that illustrate what happens to when a silver-leaved plant gets wet.  The hairs on the leaves get wet and don’t reflect light in the same way; result the leaf appears green.

When dry they look like this - silvery

When wet, they appear green

With macro, you can see why.

Actually the leaves ARE green and appear silver because of the hairs not the other way around as I described above.

Please click on the image below of Rosa rubrifolia to see the rest of the foliage in My Hesperides Garden today.

Did you spot the wasp making its nest in the middle of the Lavender?

All are most welcome to join in GBFD, just leave a comment and a link to your post (or wordpress will do it for you).  Happy Gardening!

24 thoughts on “Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – April 2012 New Beginnings

  1. Fantastic foliage Christina, with foliage like that, who needs flowers! All your purples are set off beautifully by all your silvers, lovely combination.

  2. In autumn (when the roses realise) I like to combine that vibrant burgundy new foliage from our Australian brush cherry with red roses.

    • Thanks for joining in this month Pauline. I think a month is about right, for planting out tender plants I say “cast not a clout till April is out” doesn’t rhyme quite so well, but is a good rule of thumb. Christina

    • Thanks for joining GBFD this month Susie, Your post shows just what I intended when I started this meme. The idea isn’t to have a garden full of ‘just’ foliage plants but to recognise that the foliage of all plants is vital to the overall look of the garden. Christina

  3. I’m just getting back to blogging so I haven’t managed to join in with the GBFD this month. But isn’t spring the best time for fresh, lush foliage. I especially like the new groth on the hostas (before it gets eaten!) and the new growth on the box is unexpected such a bright green.

    • Thank you for joining; don’t worry about being late – we all have other calls on our time, I appreciate you taking the time to post some of your foliage. Christina

  4. Hi Christina! I love purple foliage mixed with silver, in particular those euchera with festuca are stunning!
    I think your friend is right, I notice a better growth in spring, when we have a snowy winter. Lucky you, you had some time to take pictures in your garden with the sun, I have endless rain here, I promise I won’t complain anymore in the future!

    • We’ve had lots of rain too, but interspersed with sun (not warm though) and wind (very cold). So it feels more like winter again than spring. Let’s hope for some nice warm weather for this holiday weekend! Christina

  5. Not sure I will be joining this month but look at your garden…mine is green but too weedy and cold…the foliage is actually slow on bushes and trees…perennials though are growing right along and flowering slowly

  6. Christina,
    Wonderful post this month! I love the combination of Heuchera obsidion with Festuca glauca, your illustration of wet silver leaves, and learning that the orange and red early foliage is a defense! I had not thought or read that before, but it makes very good sense. Plants are so smart.

    Sorry not to have a post this month, but glad others are joining in! I was off visiting with Carolyn of C’s Shade Gardens and Pam of P’s English Cottage Gardens this past weekend. Such fun! Will try for next month.

    • I do envy you being able to visit inspiring gardens, it is something I miss a great deal living here in central Italy where they have lost the culture of gardening altogether. I’m so happy you were able to enjoy your weekend without having vertigo. Christina

  7. Your gardens are looking wonderful, Christina! I was surprised to see you have Hostas and Heucheras. I’ve never planted either of them because I thought they’d hate our hot, dry summers. But if you can grow them, I should be able to. Do you water them much? That purple Heuchera with the Festuca glauca is inspired.

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