May 1st 2016 Showers and sun

We arrived home last evening when it was already dark, having spent the last four days in Suffolk to celebrate my MIL’s 90th birthday.  So as all gardeners do, the first thing I wanted to do when I got up this morning was to walk around the garden. Continue reading

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Home from Chelsea

What is the first thing you do when you arrive home after a few days away?

Last evening when I arrived home from Chelsea, I didn’t even open the door of the house but immediately needed to walk around the garden to satisfy myself that all was well.

The sun was going down do the light was coming from a low angle and the garden seemed magical to me.

Even more of the roses were blooming, Madonna lilies were opening and Stipa tenuissima was wafting about in the wind, tempting me to run my fingers through it.

Sambucus and rose Scepter'd Isle in the triangular rose bed

Sambucus and rose Scepter’d Isle in the triangular rose bed

Dwarf gladioli in the large island

Dwarf gladioli in the large island

Budhlea alternifolia

Buddleia alternifolia

Trachelospermum jasinoides, hides the gas bottle from the vegetable garden, and its scent fills the air all around the garden

Trachelospermum jasminoides, hides the gas bottle from the vegetable garden, and its scent fills the air all around the garden

Cotinus catching the last rays of the sun

Cotinus catching the last rays of the sun

The slope

The slope

From the drive you can't even see the paths between the beds

From the drive you can’t even see the paths between the beds

I hate being away from home at this time of year, all the more because later in summer it will be too hot and many plants will go into summer hibernation so this is really the moment for abundance in the garden.  I did enjoy the Chelsea Flower Show and when I get my thoughts together I’ll post about my impressions.

GBFD – A beautiful garden is dependent on the foliage

This month I didn’t go out into the garden to look for foliage to photograph for this post but instead decided that I would look through the images I have taken so far this month and think about how the foliage relates to the whole garden experience.

This image taken on the first of May sums up my thoughts on foliage; even though the garden seemed full of flowers at the time (May 1st) in this particular view there are only a couple of tail end tulips still blooming and yet to me it looks lovely.  The texture and form and the varying shades of green MAKE the garden.

Looking accross the small island to the circular rose bed

Looking accross the small island to the circular rose bed

Looking across the large island there are flowers but without the foliage it would be a pretty poor show (May 5th)

Under the mulberry the blue colour and texture of Festuca glauca contrasts with the deep plum colour Huechera. (May 5th)

Under the Mulberry

Under the Mulberry

Some plants have foliage almost more lovely than their flowers.

Crimson edged leaf of Allium  Karataviense

Crimson edged leaf of Allium Karataviense

Cotinus

Cotinus

Sedum with feathery silvery folage of an artemisia

Sedum with feathery silvery folage of an artemisia

One red poppy in the formal beds of Perovskia

One red poppy in the formal beds of Perovskia

Large island in the foreground

Large island in the foreground

Looking across the large island there are flowers but without the foliage it would be a pretty poor show (May 5th)

Again this month I wanted to show you that by changing your images to tones of grey (thank goodness for digital photography) you can see very clearly how textures and forms work together to make a pleasing tapestry that will form the background to the flowers you want to display to their best advantage.

Cistus and Artemisia with Allium Christophii

Cistus,  Artemisia and Eleagnus with Allium Christophii

Same image in colour

Same image in colour

A narrow path leading you further into the garden

A narrow path leading you further into the garden

The grey image emphasises how wriggly the path edge is, I must adjust this, as it is unnecessarily fussy

The same image in colour

The same image in colour

What job is foliage doing in your garden?  Do you have a plant that you chose because it had lovely foliage rather than for the colour of its flowers?  If you are in the Southern Hemisphere it is autumn now, do you have some colourful autumn foliage to share with us?

To join in GBFD, simply post about foliage and leave a comment here with the link.

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.