GBFD December – Foliage says it all

At this season of the year flowers are few and far between; those that are in the garden are usually small, with an intense perfume to attract the very few pollinating insects that brave the cold air.  So it is foliage that fulfils the function of colour, form and texture.

Last year I posted about how we can learn about the structure of our gardens by taking photographs in black and white (or rather turning our colour images to black and white by editing our images – very easy to do).  This is useful in summer too when the colour of our favourite blooms blind us to the lack of form and structure and maybe trick us into thinking that our planting is more successful than perhaps it truly is.  In winter when often the colours turn to sepia of their own accord we are more aware of problem areas.

The slope in the early morning

The slope in the early morning

Above the slope, still mostly in shadow has lots of new fresh green from self-seeded Californian poppies and ‘cresto di gallo’ (a wild daisy-flowered plant I allow to grow as its new growth provides adds great taste to salads) and the darker foliage of prostrate Rosemary.

In black and white it looks quite different

In black and white it looks quite different

In black and white I can see the need for some foliage with larger leaves; but this is a very small area and large leaves are provided close-by in the form of Verbascum, but something I will think about when adding something new to this planting.  But there is a good mix of solid and more airy forms.

In the early morning when the garden was white with frost I enjoyed the large ice crystals that covered so much foliage.

Large crystals of ice have decorate the leaves of thyme

Large crystals of ice have decorate the leaves of thyme

The Frost highlights the difference in form of these leaves

The Frost highlights the difference in form of these leaves

The frost has attached itself to the protective hairs on the thyme foliage making it look like a cactus

The frost has attached itself to the protective hairs on the thyme foliage making it look like a cactus

Phlomis foliage edged in white by the frost

Phlomis foliage edged in white by the frost

Even the gravel is frosty, the formal beds looking west

Even the gravel is frosty, the formal beds looking west

In the large island Cerinthe, with the light shining through the foliage, contrasts with the frosty white leaves in other parts of the garden.

In the large island Cerinthe, with the light shining through the foliage, contrasts with the frosty white leaves in other parts of the garden.

Despite ten days of sub-zero temperatures at night most plants are still looking very green and happy.  All the Hemerocallis foliage has turned a deep yellow and has wilted onto the ground to form heaps that to me look like writhing snakes (I’ve no idea why it seems like that to me, we don’t have any yellow snakes as far as I know).

Collapsed Hemerocallis foliage adding a splash of yellow

Collapsed Hemerocallis foliage adding a splash of yellow

I know it is a busy time for everyone but I would enjoy seeing what foliage you have in your garden at the moment that is giving you pleasure.  Just leave a link to your post when you comment, and thank you for joining in this meme to celebrate foliage during the past year.

I would like to wish you all a very Peaceful, Happy Christmas and that the New Year will bring you good health and serenity in your garden.

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GBFD December

There is no pretending any more – it is winter.  The trees are bare; it is now the structure and the foliage of evergreen and ever-silver plants that are the mainstay of the garden.

For checking if you have good form and texture in the garden you can’t beat looking at you photographs in black and white.  This is not my idea, books recommend trying this and Janet at Plantaliscious often uses this method to learn about her garden. In this way you aren’t distracted by coloured flowers.  If you think your garden looks attractive in black and white I’m sure it looks amazing in colour.

Here’s a few examples, why don’t you try a few too and link into Garden Bloggers Foliage Day to share your findings.  Thanks so much for joining in this month but if you are too busy preparing for the Christmas festivities why not try it for January.

The left side border

I’m surprised at just how good this border looks in December in black and white.  Here it is in colour:

I almost prefer it in black and white, which I think is interesting.

Skeletal branches of the trees contrast with the mass of clipped lavender and grasses give lightness and movement

In colour its like this

The Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’ sings out even without colour

Looking up the bank, the groundcover foliage plants are making quite an impact

Sometimes it is the foliage that is beautiful or interesting when viewed close-to, as in this Euphorbia which seems almost to be deformed but I remember that some were like this last year and they still grew normally.

Euphorbia

This morning I awoke to a ground-frost, so just to prove that Italy is cold in winter here are some icy shots to finish.

Foliage is even more silvery with frost

Rather elegant black grass edged in frost

Please leave a comment with your link, thank you. Christina