GBFD – There may be masses of blooms but the Foliage is what holds it all together

The title of this month’s GBFD post says it all really.  When I went into the garden to photograph foliage this morning I thought it might be difficult this month to take images that didn’t feature flowers rather than foliage.  But then as I walked around I was reminded why I had wanted to start GBFD; Foliage is EVERYTHING in a garden.  In some seasons it might be all there is, but when it is spring and the garden shouts with colour and tells me it is truly spring it is the foliage that makes the blooms sing in a harmonious way.

The garden is full of colour, maybe more colour than at any other time of year; yet without the foliage the garden would be nothing!

The structure of the formal garden works all year.  Now supporting the white tulips in the front two beds

The structure of the formal garden works all year. Now supporting the white tulips in the front two beds

Structure, form and shades of green are enough to create a beautiful garden

Structure, form and shades of green are enough to create a beautiful garden

Box needing to be pruned give a slightly wild feel

Box needing to be pruned give a slightly wild feel; the pale green new foliage is too lovely for me to want to remove it

The slope is green in a different way; Stipa tenuissima waves in the wind

The slope is green in a different way; Stipa tenuissima waves in the wind

Silver foliage is a strong part of my Mediterranean garden, the bright spring light makes the silver leaves shimmer and also make a wonderful contrast to Tulip Negrita.

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Various Artemisia and other silver foliage plants

Various Artemisia and other silver foliage plants

Sedum Purple Emperor glows against a santolina

Sedum Purple Emperor glows against a santolina

The purple and almost jade foliage of the Sedum is stunning when it is new

The purple and almost jade foliage of the Sedum is stunning when it is new

Sedum Matrona has pink edges to its leaves which at present are an attraction to many snails

Sedum Matrona has pink edges to its leaves which at present are an attraction to many snails

Festuca glauca highlights the deep purple of Heuchera 'Obsidion'

Festuca glauca highlights the deep purple of Heuchera ‘Obsidion’

The bright spring light bleaches the true deep colour of the Heuchera

The bright spring light bleaches the true deep colour of the Heuchera

Heuchera 'Patty's Plum'

Heuchera ‘Patty’s Plum’

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Remember sometimes to turn your images into tones of grey to help you understand the forms and texture that your plants are creating.

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Some large round leaves would be a good addition here.

I think the form of the foliage here, works well with strappy Iris in the foreground, with Cotinus, santolina and Phlomis.

I think the form of the foliage here, works well with strappy Iris in the foreground, with Cotinus, santolina and Phlomis and a tall stand of Cerinthe in the background.

New foliage on a Mahonia

New foliage on a Mahonia

There is of course the pattern and colour you enjoy only when getting close.

A lot of new foliage is pink or red and not green

A lot of new foliage is pink or red and not green.  I think this is just amazing

and the foliage of wild lupin is a wonderful patter

and the foliage of wild lupin is a wonderful pattern

Nandina's new foliage is as colourful as any flower

Nandina domestica’s new foliage is as colourful as any flower

Hedges are very important for the form and texture they provide in the garden, the back of my garden Has Photinia, giving orangey-red new foliage which emphasises the colour of Tulips Brown Sugar and gives a good background to the rest of the garden always.

The large tree on the left is a White Mulberry

The large tree on the left is a White Mulberry

Please feel free to use GBFD in your own way; to maybe highlight one plant that is making an impact this month in your garden or to show the combinations that work for you.  Please post and add a link to your comment.  I really look forward to seeing what is happening in other gardens.  I hope you are enjoying spring as much as I am.

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My thoughts – Tulip Jan Reus

I saw Tulip Jan Reus when I visited the Chelsea flower show in May 2010 and just fell in love with the intense red colour.  I was thrilled when I placed my bulb order with Peter Nyssen that they stocked this very special variety which they describe as “chrysanthemum crimson” so really indulged myself with 100 bulbs, not too expensive at £17.

T. Jan Reus, Chelsea flower show 2010

T. Jan Reus, Chelsea flower show 2010

They were planted in Autumn 2010 and flowered well in spring 2011 and most, but not all came back in 2012.

T. Jan Reus April 12th 2011

T. Jan Reus April 12th 2011

T. Jan Reus April 5th 2012

T. Jan Reus April 5th 2012

This year there has been an explosion, I counted them yesterday and there are now 150!  They are still much the same size as they were in their first year.  So this is one I would strongly recommend if you like red!

T. Jan Reus 11th April 2013

T. Jan Reus 11th April 2013

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GBBD – April – the sun shines and the flowers bloom

The sun shone for 3 days during the last week and so many flowers began to bloom I have been walking around the garden open mouthed at how quickly everything is growing.  The Quince tree went from bare branches to a few leaves, to full foliage plus blossom in about 4 days.

Today I will let the images speak for themselves and try to post about individual treasures over the next couple of weeks.

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I apologise for the lack of spaces between the images but uploading them together was my only option.

What I can tell you is that I am walking around with the biggest smile on my face with the joy that spring has at last arrived.  I hope it will arrive soon with you or if you’re drifting into autumn (which can I know be like a second spring in hot climates I hope you are enjoying the season.  Happy GBBD to you all.

Visit Carol MayDreansGardens for more Bl0om day insights.

Tulip time again!

The Tulips are the best ever this year.  I am sure this is due to the long cold (but not very cold winter) we have had.  Tulips need 13 – 15 weeks of cold followed by the soil warming to flower well.  I think newly purchased tulips have had some cold treatment already as new tulips usually flower quite well; although they are often over very quickly.  This year some that were planted in Autumn 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012 are all flowering; I didn’t purchase any in 2011.

Many that are several years old have even multiplied and I can see that one original bulb is producing up to 4 stems of flowers.

Given that tulips are one of my favourite flowers I am walking around with a very happy smile playing around my lips as I enjoy the show!

So no more words, or even names for this post – just an orgy of tulips glowing in the spring light (day and at sunset).

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There are others lovelies in the garden too, Clematis armandii is full of deliciously scented flowers, making the pergola look as if it is covered in snow.

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Viburnum burkwoodii has grown to be taller than the Photinia hedge and is filling that corner of the garden with such a wonderful perfume I wish I could bottle it.

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Viburnum burkwoodii

Viburnum burkwoodii

As guess what?  I can’t resist showing you that Anemone Sylphide is still flowering!

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What tulips grow well for you; and which reliably flower in successive years?