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Foliage in my wet winter garden

After Barbie showed us her winter garden I thought it was about time I ventured out into the garden between downpours to take a few photographs so I too can show you my wet winter garden. This weekend it has rained pretty much non-stop here in the Newlands valley where I live. Its been cold and chilly and I have not been inspired to do any major garden projects. We’ve been staying indoors, keeping warm and reading the odd gardening book. On my walk-about today I realised that it’s all about the foliage at the moment – and the Camellias of course, but I’ve gone on and on about them in the last few weeks, so today I will focus on the foliage and the promise of things to come …

[one_half]View to my back gate – a burst of redView to my back gate - a burst of red[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Its wet, wet, wet everywhereWet, wet wet everywhere[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Red foliage of the Nandina peeping throughRed foliage of the Nandina peeping through[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The Freesias are coming up in the back gardenThe back garden where the Freesias emerge[/one_half_last]

[one_half]There is colour in the new grass gardenColour in the new grass garden[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Cape thatching reed looks wonderfulCape thatching reed looks wonderful[/one_half_last]

[one_third]Irises getting ready for SpringIrises getting ready for Spring[/one_third]

[one_third]The colour on NandinasWonderful colour on the Nandinas[/one_third]

[one_third_last]The wet wintery Alley-wayThe wet wintery Alley-way[/one_third_last]

[one_third]Rain drenched Murraya exoticaRain drenched Murraya exotica[/one_third]

[one_third]Nandinas up against the wallThe Nandinas up against the wall[/one_third]

[one_third_last]Rain, rain, go away …Rain, rain, go away ...[/one_third_last]

[one_half]Ixia bulbs coming up in the grass gardenIxia bulbs coming up in the grass garden[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Ixias in a moveable pot for a sunny bedIxias in a moveable pot for a sunny bed[/one_half_last]

[one_half]The Tulips are doing well in moveable potsThe Tulips are doing well in moveable pots[/one_half]

[one_half_last]I’m growing Dutch Irises for pickingI'm growing Dutch Irises for picking[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Sweet Babianas growing in a pot this yearSweet Babianas growing in a pot this year[/one_half]

[one_half_last]More new Irises are coming upMore new Irises are coming up[/one_half_last]

[one_half]More Tulips in pots for SpringMore Tulips in pots for Spring[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Look! All the new buds on the JasmineLook! All the new buds on the Jasmine[/one_half_last]

I’m joining Christina for June Foliage Day who says her garden looks as if someone went crazy in it with a blow torch!

I hope you enjoyed the walk through my winter garden.
Happy Gardening

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Foliage Follow-up – What happened?

It’s the 16th day of the month which means its time to join Pam at Diggings for Foliage Follow Up, the monthly gardening meme where garden bloggers showcase the beauty of foliage in their gardens. This month I’m looking for advice …

“Variegation is the appearance of differently coloured zones in the leaves, and sometimes the stems, of plants. This may be due to a number of causes. Some variegation is attractive and ornamental and gardeners tend to preserve these”.

Most gardeners love variegated foliage and I’m no exception. I love the contrast they provide and discovering how one can add interest in a garden with different colours, shapes and textures of foliage is what really got me interested in gardening. I can spend hours looking at different foliage types in a nursery and I have spent many, many hours pouring over books learning about different plants and their foliage and how to use them in a planting scheme.

One of my favourites has been the unassuming Acorus gramineus ‘Variegatus’ (Japanese sweetflag) that I use as a contrast in my back shade garden. I’ve really loved this easy plant and have used it in my big plant bed as a border at intervals, for repetition and colour. Its been a stellar performer up until very recently when I noticed one of the groupings starting to go ‘all green’, i.e. reverting to all one colour (‘reverting to type’ is what I believe it is called).

I thought I’d show a few photos of it … the way it was and how it looks now.

In my ‘brand new’ garden in February 2011 …

Acorum gramineus in February 2011

And then a few weeks later I planted some more in another spot …

More Acorus gramineus

Still more, I have this in groups of five in four differences places …

More Acorus ...

A closer view of the variegated foliage …

Close up of Acorus gramineus ...

Here you can see what a wonderful contrast it provides to some of my foundation plants …

A lovely contrast plant

And now … just a few months later its ‘returning to type’ / going green. Sigh … what to do?

Is this something I should be expecting? Is this normal? It is not an expensive plant. In fact I can buy them very cheaply and am wondering whether I should just yank these out and replace them with fresh new plants, or will they change back again? I love this plant – It’s evergreen, has narrow, shiny erect, fine leaves that are about 12 – 18 inches long. According to my notes it likes Sun to light shade; prefers moist to wet organically enriched soil.

I’d really appreciate any opinions and advice on this. They don’t look attractive the way I’ve planted them if they are all just green like this as they just look like ordinary lawn that has been left to grow wild – which is not the look I was going for, or want right here. It looks exactly like overgrown lawn right now.

Happy gardening

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Foliage Follow Up in March

It’s the 16th day of March which means its time to join Pam at Diggings for March Foliage Follow Up, the monthly gardening meme where garden bloggers showcase the beauty of foliage in their gardens.

At no time has it been more obvious to me than over the last few weeks, just how important foliage is in the garden. With no mass displays of gorgeous blooms my garden would have been a sorry sight without the colour, interest and lush growth all the different foliage has provided. With small areas of pretty blooms highlighting beautiful shades of greens, greys and blues, contrasting shapes, forms and textures … it’s been a wonderful few weeks of admiring the foliage.

Here are some of my favourite foliage plants and combinations I’m enjoying at the moment. In the third and fourth photos below, the coloured leaf from the Silver Birch tree (Betula pendula) has fallen into the Dusty Miller – I was amazed at how interesting and beautiful the colour contrast is – in nature. I’m not sure I’d put those colours together but when it happens naturally it is simply beautiful.

[one_half]Carex evergold and Duranta “Sheena’s gold”Carex evergold and Duranta "Sheena's gold"[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Ipomoea batatas and OsteopernumIpomoea batatas and Osteopermum[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Carex, Dusty Miller and an autumn leafCarex, Dusty Miller and a fallen autumn leaf[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Interesting contrast – close up of the leafInteresting contrast - close up of the leaf[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Artemesia  Silver Mound and CissusArtemesia Silvermound and Cissus[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Artemesia schmidtiana ‘Silver Mound’Artemesia schmidtiana 'Silver Mound'[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Carex and Sutera – what do you think?Carex and Sutera - what do you think?[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Nandina pygmaea and PlectranthusNandina pygmaea and Plectranthus[/one_half_last]

[one_half]I’m liking how all these work togetherI'm liking how these work together[/one_half]

[one_half_last]and the start of Autumn leaves …and the start of Autumn leaves ...[/one_half_last]

The Artemesia schmidtiana ‘Silver Mound’ is a brand new purchase. I really like it but I bought it on impulse and don’t have a plan for it. I’ve been hauling it around and placing it next to existing plants to see where it will look good – so far I’m not finding the perfect place, so it’ll have to live in the pot for a bit longer.

[note_box]PS: Please join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter – we’ll be so happy if you do![/note_box]

Happy gardening

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February Foliage Follow-Up

Foliage has played a major role in providing interest and colour in my late summer garden here in sunny Cape Town. Its been a hot, dry month and although I’m sure we are not over the heat of summer just yet, I think our hottest days might be over. I didn’t plan very well for a flower show this summer – partly because I was distracted in October and November last year and partly because I was concentrating on adding foliage interest in the garden. How fortunate it is that I ‘fell in love with foliage’ as it is the different colours, shapes and textures being provided by all the foliage that make my Summer garden pop.

I’m a few days late in joining up with Pam at Diggings for February Foliage Follow Up, a monthly gardening meme where Pam and other garden bloggers showcase the beauty of foliage in their gardens. So let’s get right to it – Here are some of my favourite foliage plants and combinations right now.

Apart from the few Angelonias, this entire area is a mass of colour not from blooms but because of the different foliage used.

February foliage follow up

Another favourite foliage scene, my little “woodland”. As you can see there are a few lonely blooms but the area looks green and lush with interest provided by foliage.

February foliage follow up

A new acquisition this month is Carex testacea ‘Prairie fire’. These plants are small so the wonderful orange foliage is hardly visible at this stage but given the right growing conditions and care, these should look magnificent ’round about next year this time.

February foliage follow up
My new favourite foliage plant is Ipomoea batata – I love the colour – Chartreuse – (even saying it is cool!). I’ve tested this in small areas in my garden to see whether I can replace some of the now thuggy Lamium. I do like the Lamium and its extremely useful in deep dry shade – but I don’t want it to take over the entire garden so I’m hoping to lift a few area with the lovely colour of this lime green Ipomoea. Look how pretty replacing some Lamium here …

February foliage follow up

Another old favourite combo – the Duranta with Impatiens peeping through it. I realised today how much this shrub has grown. It had been left for dead after last years plumbing disaster – but has revived and is once again flourishing. So pleased about that. Again I love the colour which is a fabulous contrast in a foliage garden.

February foliage follow up

Another favourite combo. Actually, to be honest, here I am just showing off my blue Hydrangea. The first bloom of the season on this plant was pink. We fed and mulched and (it seems) did all the right things and now her blooms are the desired shade of blue. Just the way I love it.

February foliage follow up

If you know Pam or follow her blog, (if not, why not?), please join me in wishing her a Happy 6th Blogga-birtha-versary! She wrote a lovely post to celebrate her 6th year of blogging at “My 6th Blogiversary and I’m still Digging Gardens“. Congratulations Pam! 6 years is amazing. Here’s to the next 6!

Happy Gardening

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

January Foliage

As is customary at this time of the month, I’m joining Pam at Diggings for January Foliage Follow Up, a monthly gardening meme where Pam and other garden bloggers showcase the beauty of foliage in their gardens. Lots of casualties here in the scorching summer sun. I’m losing a few Agapanthus to something that seems to be devouring them from the inside out, one of the new Carex is wilting and succumbing to the heat of summer and some of the Mexican Feather grass is not happy in the full sun spot I allocated it. A few other casualties too, but let’s focus on the positive and have a look at the foliage combos I’m particularly attracted to this month …

I found a Persian Shield (Strobilanthes dyerianus) at my local nursery. Ever since I discovered this in one of my favourite gardening books, “Foliage”, by Nan Ondra, I’ve wanted one. And how marvellous that it requires partial shade – I have plenty of those spots in my back garden. I plan to plant it in an amongst the little field of white Impatiens I have got going on in the back. But then look at this … at the same time I bought the Persian Shield I bought another variegated Hydrangea and had them standing together. Look how beautiful these two look together …

Persian Shield and Hydrangea

I might have to plant these in close proximity to each other.

Here are my favourite foliage plants and foliage combinations this month.

[one_half]The wonderful Strobilanthes dyerianusThe wonderful Strobilanthes[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The variegated HydrangeaThe variegated Hydrangea in flower[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Dusty Miller with Carex EvergoldDusty Miller with Carex Evergold[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Dusty Miller with Carex ‘Frosted Curls’Dusty Miller with Carex 'Frosted Curls'[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Trachelospernum jasminoides “Chameleon”Trachelospernum jasminoides "Chameleon"[/one_half]

[one_half_last]P. madagascariens & Ipomoea batatasPlectranthus magagascariens and Ipomoea Batatas[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Wild Iris & Helychrisum petiolareWild Iris (dietes) & Helychrism petiolare[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Nandina and the Louisiana IrisesNandina and the Louisiana Irises[/one_half_last]

I’m finding Summer to be the most challenging in the garden so far. There is so much that needs taking care of and the heat doesn’t inspire me to get things done. Dare I say this? I’m looking forward to Autumn!

Happy Gardening

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

Foliage Follow-up in December

As is customary at this time of the month, I follow-up The gardening event of the month, Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, with a post highlighting the foliage that is flourishing in the garden. Pam at Diggings hosts the monthly Foliage Follow Up, a monthly gardening meme where Pam and other garden bloggers showcase the beauty of foliage in their gardens on the 16th of the month. As I have become quite passionate about foliage plants this is one of my favourite posts to do every month.

A new acquisition this month were a small variegated Hydrangea I bought (which was a half price bargain) which I’m planting in a very shaded corner that needs some ‘lifting ad Carex ‘frosted curls’ which I’m filling in a few blank spaces with where I want an evergreen “grass-like” look. I like Carex for its mounding habit (and because it is so easy and thrives in shade – perfect for my garden). I’ve included a photo of the foliage of my Tibouchina because I am marvelling at how beautiful it is. This was a plant I moved because it was not doing well at all. In fact I thought it was history. We moved it to the back garden into a shaded spot against a wall and it has done an about turn – growing huge, lush leaves that are quite lovely. Sadly, no flowers, but I love the plant so I don’t really mind. And perhaps it will flower again some time.

Here are my favourite foliage views this month …

[one_half]Carex and CampanulaCarex and ....[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Duranta, Dietes and ZantadeschiaDuranta, Dietes and Zantadeschia[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Love the colour on the Nandina pygmaeaLove the colour on the Nandina pygmaea[/one_half]

[one_half_last]New: Variegated Hydrangea for a shady spotNew: Variegated Hydrangea for a shady spot[/one_half_last]

[one_half]I’m loving the Dusty Miller that’s growing fastI'm loving the Dusty Miller thats growing fast[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Plectranthus madagascariens and DurantaPlectranthus madagascariens and Duranta[/one_half_last]

[one_half]I like this combo, strappy Irises and FicusI like this combo, strappy Irises and Ficus[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Accidental: Festuca glauca and ImpatiensAccidental: Festuca glauca and Impatiens[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Agapanthus, Lamium, Duranta and ScopariaAgapanthus, Lamium, Duranta and Scoparia[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Foliage of the recovering TibouchinaFoliage of the Tibouchina[/one_half_last]

[one_half]I am surprised at the lovely foliage of Cleome!I am surprised at the lovely foliage of Cleome![/one_half]

[one_half_last]The new Carex ‘frosted curls’The new Carex 'frosted curls'[/one_half_last]

I’m quite amazed – looking back at my photos now, it’s quite fascinating how much colour and excitement carefully selected foliage brings to the garden. The biggest gardening lesson I learnt all year!

Happy Gardening

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features Perenniels

Foliage Follow Up in November

The past few months I’ve become quite obsessed with the foliage in my garden. I’ve been concentrating on the look of plants and their foliage (rather than the blooms) and I’ve acquired a number of new plants bought purely for their lovely foliage or for the way they will look in the garden when combined with my existing plants. I think my favourite new acquisition is Festuca glauca which I first admired in my Gardening Mentors’ garden, Diana of Elephant’s Eye in Porterville. Diana has a real gift for beautiful combinations and the results are extraordinary!

Without any further waffle, here are my latest “combinations” that I am enjoying at the moment – experienced gardeners, please jump in and tell me if you see something that is not pleasing to the eye – I am learning and don’t always see when things don’t gel well together. I appreciate constructive criticism – it helps me to grow as a gardener.

[one_half]Festuca glauca, scoparis, Acorus & LamiumFoliage Follow Up[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Surrounding the HydrangeaMoving in on the Hydrangea[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Chondropetalum tectorum & NandinaChondropetalum tectorum & Nandina[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Acorus gramineus, Curry plant & HypoestesAcorus gramineus, Curry plant & Hypoestes[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Agapanthus, Plectranthus & ScoparisAgapanthus, Plectranthus & Scoparis[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Duranta and Festuca scoparisDuranta and Festuca scoparis[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Acorus gramineus – just love thisAcorus gramineus - just love this[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Newly planted: Miscanthus sinesis “Zebrinus”Newly planted: Miscanthus sinesis "Zebrinus"[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Agapanthus and Carex evergoldAgapanthus and Carex evergold[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Dusty miller and Carex EvergoldDusty miller and Carex Evergold[/one_half_last]

[one_half]New: Duranta and Mexican feather grassNew: Duranta and Mexican feather grass[/one_half]

[one_half_last]New: Miscanthus variegatus and ?New: Miscanthus variegatus and ?[/one_half_last]

I’ve forgotten the name of the very last grass – I think its Pennisetum “something-or-other”. The last two photographs are of brand new combination plantings, so they still need some time to grow to show off their potential. This month I need to concentrate on flowering plants again – this “foliage obsession” has resulted in very few blooms in my “November garden“, but the foliage is looking lush and great!

Below is a new combination I’ve just planted about a week ago. I planted the Artichoke a while back and because of its “upright” way of growing, its showing lots of bare ground below. So I’ve planted the silver-hued Helichrysum petiolare below it as a contrast (I saw this on someones blog, I forget which one) and I loved the combination. I planted the Helichrysum only last week so it will need a few weeks to spread and fill out before I can see how it actually looks. Hopefully I will be able to show it next month, and I hope it looks good. Here are the individual plants… What do you think – Good combo, or no? I’m thinking something “pretty” that flowers should join this combo, but not sure what yet. Any suggestions? The spot is quite sunny – sunny enough for the Artichoke to be growing at a furious pace.

[one_half]Artichoke plantArtichoke plant[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Helichrysum petiolareHelichrysum petiolare[/one_half_last]

Happy Gardening

About Foliage Follow Up

Today I’m linking up with Pam at Diggings for Foliage Follow Up.  “Foliage Follow Up” is a monthly gardening meme where Pam and other garden bloggers showcase the beauty of foliage in their gardens on the 16th of the month.

Christine's garden Design Gardening Home page features Perenniels

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day

Another post I’m late with – I’m joining Christina of Creating my own garden of the Hesperides in her new monthly Garden Bloggers Foliage Day which takes place on the 22nd of every month. As I also took part in Foliage Follow-up on the 15th, I found it a bit difficult to do another post about foliage so soon after, without being totally repetitive. That is, until I had the bright idea of showing my current favourite foliage combinations for this post.

Let me preface this post by reminding all that I am a very new gardener and am learning by reading, observation, trial and error. These combinations I am showing here are my own experimentation where I am playing around with colour, texture and form. They work for me … right now. Perhaps I will look back in a year and cringe, perhaps not, time will tell.

I have a few books I have found most beneficial when considering plant combinations and that have changed the way I garden. Two in particular … the first is “Foliage” by Nancy Ondra which I bought on the recommendation of Cathy & Steve of Our Garden Journal. The book opened my eyes to what can be accomplished in the garden without ever considering the flowering potential of a plant. I love this way of gardening as it creates a garden which always looks wonderful, regardless of the season. The second book, which I am absorbed in right now, is “Designing with Grasses” by Neil Lucas. I  love ornamental grasses and am on a hunt for a few that will add more interest in my garden. I’m off to buy Miscanthus sinesis “Variegatum” next week. I can’t wait to add this to my garden and have the perfect place for it.

For today, these are my current favourite combinations (Click images to enlarge)

[one_half]Festuca Glauca, Acorus and LamiumFestuca Glauca, Acorus and Lamium[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Festuca Scoparia and DurantaFestuca Glauca, Acorus and Lamium[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Chondropetalum tectorum and NandinaCape Thatching Reed and Nandina pygmaea[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Pittosporum eugenioides & DietesPittosporum eugenioides ‘Variegata’ & Dietes[/one_half_last]

[one_half]A mix of foliage I loveA mix of foliage I love[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Iris, Acorus gramineus and Catnip , i mean furIris, Acorus and Cat nip ... er, cat fur[/one_half_last]

These are just a few select combinations I’ve been working on very recently. Im really loving the combination of photo 4 – the Pittosporum eugenioides ‘Variegata’ with the tall strappy Dietes in front of it and the Delphiniums peeping through … I can stare at it all day. I think the lovely bark of the tree right next to it all enhances the scene of course.

I have a long way to go and right now its all about finding the right plants – sometimes it means waiting for the plant to become available or driving way out of town to a specialist nursery to get it … but its so worth while when it all works.

Happy Gardening

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features Perenniels

September Foliage Follow up

I took some time out today to take some photographs of the foliage in the garden to link up with Pam at Diggings for Foliage Follow Up.  “Foliage Follow Up” is a monthly gardening meme where Pam and other garden bloggers showcase the beauty of foliage in their gardens on the 16th of the month. Please join Hercules and I as we stroll through the garden. It’s not just the flowers that smell good … according to Hercules!

[one_half]Welcome! Join us as we stroll the gardenWelcome! Join us for Foliage Follow-up[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Festuca Glauca shinesFestuca Glauca shines[/one_half_last]

[one_half]New growth on Nandina pygmaeaNew growth on Nandina pygmaea[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The sun kisses Carex evergoldSun kisses Carex evergold[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Lovely new growth on Star JasmineLovely new growth on Star Jasmine[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Lovely variegation on the Pandorea “Charisma”Lovely variegation on the Pandorea "Charisma"[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Silver-hued Helichrysum petiolareSilver-hued Helichrysum petiolare[/one_half]

[one_half_last]New growth is pink on the Chameleon plantNew growth is pink on the Chameleon plant[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Moving on … What else should we show?Moving on ... grass is foliage too[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Cape Thatching Reed looks greatCape Thatching Reed looks great[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Beautiful as a contrast (in the Veg patch)Beautiful as a contrast (in the veg patch)[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Brightening up a dark cornerBrightening up a dark corner[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Another contrast in a dark spaceAnother contrast in a dark space[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Acorus gramineus ‘Variegata’ – a favouriteAcorus gramineus ‘Variegata’ a favourite[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Love the contrast of the dark leavesLove the contrast of the dark leaves[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Sun kissed dark foliage of NandinaSun kissed dark foliage[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Bright green Lavender dentataBright green Lavender dentata[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Thats all we have to show today! Bye bye!Thats all folks! Bye bye![/one_half_last]

Thank you for joining Hercules and I on our Foliage Exploration! We hope you’ll join us again next month. For now we wish you …

Happy Gardening