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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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?
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