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.

20130421_9999_40 20130421_9999_28 20130421_9999_30 20130421_9999_20 20130421_9999_22

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’

20130421_9999_18

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

20130421_9999_17

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.

Advertisements

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

  1. Foliage is definitely the star in your garden! All the wondrous colors of new growth, the variety of forms and textures, I love it all! Flowers are wonderful accessories, but a garden needs beautiful foliage for coverage. Your photos are great. I am wondering – what is the lovely silver plant featured in the third photo down in the section about silver foliage in your Mediterranean garden?

    • Hi Debbie, the wonderful foliage that looks like machine embriodery is Tanecetum densum, it requires very free draining soil and never needs irrigating not even in last year’s drought. It is spreading nicely and I want to try to take some cuttings, I think basal cuttings will work. Christina

    • Thanks for joining GBFD for the first time Keity. I loved your images of your foliage they look like Japanese paintings, very minimalist and serene, beautiful. Christina

  2. Hi Christina, lovely pics, as usual. I like your heucheras, I can see you keep them in full sun among rather drought tolerant plants, am I correct? I’d like to increase the number of my heucheras but I still don’t feel confident enough to put them in full sun and in dry spots, any advice? 🙂

    • They’re in the sun in winter and spring but then it’s shady under the Mulbery during summer. They don’t mind dry conditions (in fact I think they prefer it but strong direct sun isn’t good for them. In your more northen garden they might be OK, here they would shrivel. Christina

  3. Christina, the season is yours! Everything looks grand and your formal garden is captivating. What is the plant in the 3rd photo of the silver foliage group? Interesting texture. Thanks for hosting Christina.
    This is my pbmGarden GBFD contribution.

    • Debbie wanted to know the same thing. It’s Tanecetum densum; see below for my comments about it. Thanks for joining GBFD again this month Susie, nice choice of plant for your post. Christina

    • Thanks for joing in this month Cathy. I’ve posted about the silver foliage plants several times if you need for info. or if you have any questions about them I’m happy to try to answer them. Christina

  4. This is just a fantastic post on something important that people don’t really write about as much as it merits. Texture and foliage colour are magical, and much more important overall than blossoms when it comes to the garden as a whole.

      • I might be doing a talk about gardening at an upcoming area home show and I’m thinking of talking about how to use foliage colour and texture to make a better garden–in more engaging words, of course! It’s such an overlooked side of the picture for most people.

  5. Impressive! I love your formal garden, the various shade of green working off each other certainly does provide interest at any time of the year.
    Silvery foliage doesn’t do well in my garden, the soil is too moist and nothing with silver foliage thrives!
    New heuchera foliage is just forming in my own garden.
    I had intended joining in your meme for the first time this month but it is so windy out there I’m having difficulty taking decent pictures! There’s always next month!

    • Thank you for your comments, you can always post a bit late – I know about wind in the garden, there is hardly a day here when there isn’t any wind. Christina

  6. Very thought provoking. You are right, of course, but my first thought would be that it is the flowers that make the garden. I don’t think I consider foliage enough nor the ranges of tones you could create.

  7. I love the shaggy look of your formal garden with its fresh spring growth breaking the lines, and you have a stunning tapestry of greens, silvers, purples and greys throughout your garden.

  8. Cristina il tuo giardino è di quelli che ti lasciano qualcosa dentro l’anima, molto evocativo; anche nel mio giardino in costruzione molte sono le piante a foglia grigia, tra le tappezzanti ho provato la stachys e mi chiedevo come mai non l’ho vista nel tuo; viene descritta come pianta molto versatile in realtà in estate da me ha avuto qualche problema e non riuscivo a capire il perché, visto che si adatta molto bene alla siccità e al pieno sole! Avrei tante domande, ma per il momento mi fermo qui.

    • Ti ringrazia per i tuoi sentimenti Anna Maria. Avevo anch’io la Stachys ma non ha mai fatto fiori e i fogli non erano sempre belli. Ho comparato altre e avevo intensione di metterle però sono ancora in vasi e durante inverno le foglie sono brutte, quindi sono indeciso dove di disporcele. Se vuoi visitare da sola, mi fa molto piacere rispondere alle tue domande. Christina

  9. Ah I can really tell that you’re enjoying spring! What a wonderful post. I’ve been enjoying spring too and what with work, gardening and a new job I’ve just had no time for reading my favourite blogs but what a post to come back to! I adore your photos and particularly this statement “Structure, form and shades of green are enough to create a beautiful garden”, I completely agree. I’ve seen so many bare gardens this winter/early spring and it’s so disappointing when there are in fact many plants that provide colour and interest in those months. I adore your Heucheras, they’re such a wonderful plant as are the silver foliage plants. You know I was driving up the motorway after my holiday in the south and the verges were actually really stunning colours and textures, colour from dog wood, texture and shapes from dead teasel and all manner of colours from the trees in their various states of brown, red, purple and green. Nature really is a wonderful thing and when we harness that, like you have done, it looks really spectacular 🙂

    • Thank you Anna. I’m always happy to find a kindred spirit especially where foliage is concerned. I really think it is where a lot of people go wrong with their gardens, they think onle of the flowers and then don’t understand why they are dissatisfied with the results. Don’t get me wrong, I love flowers and they give me enormous pleasure but without good structure and foliage the garden would be empty most of the time. Christina

  10. Really enjoyed your selection of foliage this month Christina, you always have something really interesting to show us. Sorry to have missed Foliage Day this year, we have just got back from holiday and there is so much catching up to do!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s