As I was getting ready for the monthly Garden Bloggers Bloom Day I realised that although I love having pretty flowers in my garden, I’m actually far more taken with the foliage of plants. When I’m shopping for plants these days I look for plants with interesting foliage rather than questioning the colour or look of the flower. If a plant has gorgeous foliage and the flowers appeal to me too, well then it’s an absolute winner of course, but I’m attracted to the foliage of a plant and don’t care too much about its flowering potential.

My big bulb planting experiment has taught me a lot about my plant preferences. Now that the bulbs have all emerged and are mostly in bud, I know exactly which ones I will nurture and replant next year and which will end up in the compost bin. Some of my “favourite flowers” won’t be making it back into the planting scheme. For example, Dutch Irises (which are true bulbs) are one of those destined for composting. I simply love having a vase of these gorgeous blooms in my home but regrettably I don’t particularly like the actual plant in my garden. The flopping foliage doesn’t do anything for the overall look of the garden once it emerges, but I remain hopeful that the flowers will make up for it once they bloom. After that, Sayonara!

Rhizomatous Irises on the other hand, like the Siberian and Bearded Irises which are so popular, have wonderful, large, strappy leaves that contrast beautifully in a plant setting, regardless of their flowers. I would have these in my garden even if they did not produce a single bloom, simply because I love the strong, strappy upward growing leaves that contrast so well with more delicate and ornate foliage. Even the Agapanthus, when not in flower, contributes to the overall look of my garden and ornamental grasses? Well these are in a class of their own and my love affair with grasses has only just begun…

Today I’d like to share some of my very favourite plants that I love specifically for their foliage. These are the plants that create atmosphere and interest in my garden.

Carex evergoldCarex evergold

Big strappy IrisesBig strappy Irises

Festuca glaucaFestuca glauca

Ficus benjamina ‘Starlight’Ficus benjamina 'Starlight'

Trachelospermum jasminoides ‘Chameleon’Trachelospermum jasminoides 'Chameleon'

Nandina domestica Sacred BambooNandina domestica Sacred Bamboo

Ipomoea Sweet Caroline PurpleIpomoea Sweet Caroline Purple

Inherited Ponytail PalmInherited Ponytail Palm

Plectranthus madagascariensisPlectranthus madagascariensis

Inherited PhilodendronInherited Philodendron

Hypoestes phyllostachyaHypoestes phyllostachya

Lilium LongiflorumLilium Longiflorum

Agapanthus africanusAgapanthus africanus

Panicum Virgatum “Shenandoah”Panicum Virgatum “Shenandoah”

Chondropetalum tectorumChondropetalum tectorum

Nandina pygmaea ‘Dwarf Sacred Bamboo’Nandina pygmaea 'Dwarf Sacred Bamboo'

Plectranthus ciliatusPlectranthus ciliatus

Lamium ‘Beacon Silver’Lamium 'Beacon Silver'

Cynara – Globe ArtichokeCynara - Globe Artichoke

Acanthus mollisAcanthus mollis

Cinerarias (annuals)Cineraria (annuals)

Helichrysum petiolareHelichrysum petiolare

Heliotropium ‘Royal Marine’Heliotropium 'Royal Marine'

Lavender (I forget which type)Lavender (unknown type)

Delphinium ‘Belladonna Casablanca’Delphinium 'Belladonna Casablanca'

Acorus gramineus ‘Variegata’Acorus gramineus 'Variegata'

Nandina pygmaeaNandina pygmaea

Hypoestes ‘polka dot plant’ whiteHypoestes 'polka dot plant' white

Duranta ‘Sheena’s Gold’Duranta 'Sheena's Gold'

Caladium (I think?)Caladium (I think?)

Dianella tasmanica ‘Variegata’Flax lily

Alocasia cucullataAlocasia cucullata

All the Spring flowering bulb purchases, researching and planting, caring for and watching has been an amazing experiment and I’ve enjoyed the learning process and wonder of it all. I’ll enjoy a summer of not having to buy flowers for the vase but will make very different choices next year when I plant my spring flowering bulbs. I think I am “growing up” as a gardener. From planting odd pretty plants that I bought on impulse to carefully planning and researching, trying different combinations and making bolder decisions … it’s been a huge learning curve and very rewarding.

I’m linking up to Pam at Diggings monthly Foliage Follow Up, a monthly Garden Blog meme for lovers of Foliage!

What is your favourite foliage plant in your garden?

Happy Gardening