GBFD – Silver and Purple

When it is hot and it is very HOT, the light shimmers and plants with silver or grey foliage look their very best.

The combination of silver and purple always looks great together; sedum ‘Purple Emperor’ seems to love the heat and its colour is better than ever.

Sedum 'Purple Emperor'

Sedum ‘Purple Emperor’ loves the heat

Santolina, Euphobia mysinites and Cotinus

A view of the large island with Santolina, Euphobia mysinites and Cotinus

Allium Sphaerocephalon echoes the colour of the Cotinus against silver Santolina silver foliage of

Allium Sphaerocephalon echoes the colour of the Cotinus against silver Santolina foliage

I’ve had this Cotinus for ages but it’s been very slow to establish, although it is pretty drought tolerant it obviously needs lots of winter and spring rain to really grow well.  I hope the sudden arrival of the high temperatures won’t shock it too much.  The above demonstrates that just a small amount of flower combined with lots of beautiful foliage creates a harmonious picture.

Silver foliage combines with pinks of all shades as well as purple and white.  It is of course perfect in summer but I also think it is just as lovely in winter. Texture of the leaves is just as important as with green foliage.

Panicum 'Sky Scraper',  Phomis fruticosa  and Euphorbia

Panicum ‘Sky Scraper’, Phomis fruticosa and Euphorbia


Tanecetum densum var. amanum

Tanecetum densum var. amanum





Convolvulus cneorum's metallic leaves

Convolvulus cneorum’s metallic leaves

Euphorbia myrsinites

Euphorbia myrsinites

Panicum 'Sky Scraper' and Phomis fruticosa

Panicum ‘Sky Scraper’ and Phomis fruticosa

I asked for advice the other day about the division of the Magenta zone and the yellow area beginning with Hemerocallis Stella d’Oro; commenters gave me some very good ideas, but it interested me that almost universally the flower colour was the main consideration.  I had been expecting foliage to be the main feature, a calm place between two strongly coloured areas.  I actually did have Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Overdam’ in a sweeping line that began in the Large Island and continued on the other side of the path; but it hasn’t done well anywhere in the garden (it is sold as good for free draining soil but it doesn’t like my very free draining soil!  Even Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foester’ suffered hugely last year, this year they are looking lovely and the flowers are lasting longer before it tightens to form its exclamation mark form.

In shade this Heuchera collapsed with the heat but has recovered after a soaking with the hose

In shade this Heuchera collapsed with the heat but has recovered after a soaking with the hose

The flowers of Lampranthus spectabilis are almost a distraction

The flowers of Lampranthus spectabilis are almost a distraction

Foliage predominates in the Large Island

Foliage predominates in the Large Island

Although I love the silver and purple foliage and think it works really well in my garden, what I am enjoying the most whether it’s looking out of the kitchen or sitting room windows or sitting on the terrace is the wonderful cool dappled shade created by the wisteria which now covers the pergola.

Wisteria foliage giving delicious dappled shade

Wisteria foliage giving delicious dappled shade

I do hope you’ll join in with GBFD, use it as you like; to showcase just one fabulous foliage plant or demonstrate how foliage works for you in your garden; if you have posted before in Foliage follow up please feel free to link to that post.  Enjoy the rest of June and the approaching summer solstice.

29 thoughts on “GBFD – Silver and Purple

    • Thanks for joining in again this month Susie. Silver foliage does come in an amazing variety of leaf textures, some like hairs, others like machine embroidery others quite knobbly. Christina

  1. I think the silver really does set off the other colours in your garden Christina – very well thought out. 😀 Heuchera does well in our dry summers too, but occasionally gets scorched. It must be really hot for it to wilt! Sedums are invaluable for all-year-round interest, and I do like that purple one. I think I need some Lampranthus too – the pink is lovely combined with silvery leaves.

    • Hi Pauline, thank you for joining in again this month. I love the silvers! Am thinking about adding more as they shine in the garden as the flowers fade with the heat.

    • The wisteria also shades inside the house which is lovely in summer and then in winter all the foliage is gone and light floods back in; the perfect hot country climber!

    • Good to hear that, so many books describe this as the perfect grass for hot conditions. I think the name of the Panicum is correct, if you’ve not heard of it, you are making me wonder if I got it wrong. thanks for the link Scott.

  2. Those do look great. I stay away from silver leaved plants because our summers are hot and humid, not hot and dry. The closest I get are the Nepeta, of which I have lots, which has a sort of silvery grey leaf.

  3. I really like the way you use the silver foliage. It would be good in my garden too but I’ve not been able to set it off to its advantage. It doesn’t work just putting in an odd plant here and there. Must try harder!

  4. Hi Christina! I’ve not been around for a while but what a wonderful post to come back to! I love the foliage in the large island. Fabulous 🙂

  5. Christine, I’ve just been visiting Pauline’s foliage post (Lead up the Garden Path) and yours is such a contrast! In her cooler, wetter garden she has lots of big, lush green leaves, while you have sparkling silvers. It really highlights the importance of planning gardens to suit the climate and landscape. Meanwhile it’s cold and soggy here today and I have to wait a few months for some decent foliage at all, so I’m enjoying blog posts from the northern hemisphere and getting inspiration. Sedum ‘Purple Emperor’ is going on my list.

  6. hello Christina, the sedum you asked about is called Sedum spathulifolium Purpureum, no need to publish this comment I just wanted to be sure you saw the name, I’ve added it to the blog post too, it would look good in your garden and I imagine do very well, Frances

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

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

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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 )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.