Spring Foliage.

Spring has sprung and love is in the air.
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Lovely fresh young foliage is opening up at last. I have a  crab apple with red leaves in the orchard. They buds are just beginning to open. I can’t wait for the lovely dark pink flowers.

Malus 'Princteon Cardinal'

Malus ‘Princteon Cardinal’

I love crab apples for the flowers and fruit and I would certainly like to add a few more to the orchard. One of my favourite yellow-fruited ones is Malus transitoria which has masses of little fruits which look just like beads. I have a little one which I grew from seed. It is about 6 years old and just over 4 feet tall. I don’t know whether it will come true from seed; I am really looking forward to it producing its first starry white flowers and then yellow fruit.

Malus transitoria seedling

Malus transitoria seedling

I have a weeping purple leaved Cercis canadensis which is just coming into leaf. This is quite an old tree, I brought it with me when I moved. It doesn’t grow very big but it is such a pretty shape and has lovely shaped leaves. In the Autumn the leaves smell of toffee apples.

Spirea japonica 'Goldflame'

Cercis canadensis ‘Ruby Falls’

The orange buds of Spiraea japonica ‘Goldflame’ are looking pretty. The young leaves are a delight but in summer they lose their brightness and the shrub produces pink flowers which clash terribly with the leaves and I loathe it. I threaten too get rid of it each Summer, but in the Spring it gets to stay a little longer.
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My new winter garden will rely on attractive foliage to make it interesting all year round.
I found a Photinia which is new to me. I love ‘Red Robin’ which has leaves that become bright red in Spring but this is pretty too.

Photinia x fraseri  'Pink Marble'

Photinia x fraseri ‘Pink Marble’

I think a pink or purple tinge on the foliage is pretty. I bought these two hebes for the winter garden.


Heucheras are good value for interesting foliage and I think I will get some more. These are the ones I have in the winter garden. I wonder why they all have foody names.


Bergenias are brilliant for shiny foliage too. Beth Chatto’s Nursery has a wonderful range and I shall certainly get some more when Julie from PeoniesandPosies and I go there next month.

Bergenia 'Bressingham Ruby'

Bergenia ‘Bressingham Ruby’

I have just noticed the chewed leaves on this Bergenia. Oh dear, I hope it is not the dreaded vine weevil.

In the winter garden two euphorbias are looking really good at the moment. Some of the new hybrids have wonderful foliage.


In the greenhouse the foliage of Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’ is looking very bronze. Later in the season it will turn red.

Aeonium 'Zwartkop'

Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’

I will finish with the foliage which is really exciting me. The spring treasures, Erythroniums and Trilliums will be blooming soon. Meanwhile I am enjoying the glossy foliage.


Thanks to Christina at Myhesperidesgarden for hosting the meme: Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day. Spring is a wonderful time to enjoy fresh new leaves, so please share the foliage which is delighting you at the moment. If you visit Christina’s blog you will see her wonderful use of foliage for all round interest in her garden. I visited Christina last year and I was so impressed by her wonderful use of foliage throughout the garden; she has designed her garden with great flair and an artist’s eye.

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57 Responses to Spring Foliage.

  1. mattb325 says:

    Spring is definitely in the air for your garden! The ascot rainbow euphorbia is certainly one of my favourites; it certainly complements the heucheras and hebes very well! I know what you mean about the goldflame spirea – the flowers and foliage don’t really go well together, but the foliage alone makes it worth a place in the garden 🙂

    • Chloris says:

      I always cut the Spiraea flowers off, much to my husband’ s amazement. Not being a gardener he doesn’t understand why anyone would cut the flowers off a plant. It is just one of those weird gardening things which baffle him. A bit like when he catches me scrubbing my birch trees or collecting toilet roll tubes to grow sweet peas in.

  2. You have some wonderful foliage combinations in your garden with lots of color. I like your selection for the winter garden as well with the deep purples for interest.

  3. Alison says:

    Ah, you have some lovely foliage to share. Spring is my favorite season.

  4. Photinias? you must elaborate.

  5. I like the unexpected colors that you get the some very young foliage, as with your crabapple. I look forward to seeing your Trilliums and Erythroniums in bloom. I planted some T. grandiflorum last fall but they have not emerged yet.

    • Chloris says:

      I am thinking of getting Malus ‘ Donald Wyman’ too, I love its white blossom and red fruit. I remember you have a lovely specimen on your front lawn.

      • Donald Wyman is a lovely crab, just worth noting that the birds are not too fond of the fruit, so you may be surprised by how much is still hanging on in spring.

  6. Christina says:

    Liz, thank you for your enthusiastic comments, you are very kind. You have some fabulous foliage foliage on your amazing collection of plants. I am very envious that you can buy such supper Euphorbias in the UK, they are all hard to find here and anything special or new is just never available. thanks for joining in this month, I can’t see your comment with a link, I’ll check to see that it hasn’t gone into the spam.

    • Chloris says:

      I love the new Euphorbia hybrids. I have a dark one, ‘Blackbird’ too which I forgot to show. I read your post earlier but didn’ t get round to commenting straightaway.

  7. Alain says:

    Thank you very much for this post Chloris. Reading it, I finally learned what is chewing my Bergenia leaves. I looked it up and it is indeed the vine weevil. However something else might be damaging the leaves of yours as the chewing on mine is much more regular and all the chewed off sections being the same size. My Bergenia leaves have been like that for several years but fortunately nothing else seems affected.
    Glad you are able to enjoy the garden again after winter. We are starting to feel spring here too.

    • Chloris says:

      Glad to hear that you don’ t think I have vine weevil. Perhaps it is slug damage on mine, I have plenty of those.
      The weather is still chilly here but it certainly looks like Spring in the garden.

  8. Excellent foliage examples! Your ‘Goldflame’ Spiraea is something special! This is a beautiful spring celebration post. 🙂

    • Chloris says:

      It is a shrub that I generally overlook. It has lovely foliage and featuring it here has made me realise that if I prune it this Summer I will have a nice neat, compact bush next year. It is rather large and leggy at the moment.

  9. Really lovely purple and red tinges coming through on your foliage. Malus transitoria is a wonderful tree. I think it is because the apples are held apart on such long stems (relatively) and look like a net of tiny glowing lights. I would be very interested to know if it comes true. It hadn’t occurred to me to try from seed. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you don’t have vine weevil.

    • Chloris says:

      I wonder if crab apples come true from seed. I don’ t suppose they do because ordinary apples don’ t. I am really looking forward to seeing what it will look like when it is mature. I once grew a Magnolia from seed and it took about 10 years to grow big enough to flower. What a disappointment it was! Tiny little flowers. Really undistinguished. I hope my crab apple won’ t be such a disappointment.

  10. Cathy says:

    Thank you for sharing your foliage Chloris, always good to see what other delights are out there. I like the look of that Ascot Rainbow – and hurrah! your last photos confirm that I DO have some erythronium coming up! I saw the foliage today and my label said that’s what it was but they were planted the year BEFORE last and there was no sign of them last year. What have they been doing all this time, I wonder…?

    • Chloris says:

      Our erythroniums should be blooming soon, how exciting to see that yours haven’ t vanished after all. I find that the pretty little Dens- canis seed about a bit.

      • Cathy says:

        Hope so – I keep forgetting to check mine after the initial excitement of finding them. They look as if they might be tempting to slugs – are they?

  11. Tina says:

    There’s such a variety of color in your foliage. The Heucheras are especially lovely. I love the spirea too–such a “wow” orange and nicely different from the usual pinks/purples of early spring. Lovely photos, too!

  12. rusty duck says:

    It was Beth Chatto who introduced me to bergenia through her woodland gardening book. I’ve always wanted to visit her garden too, so very jealous that you are going. Make sure you take your camera.

  13. pbmgarden says:

    Wonderful plants you’ve featured here. The rich color in the Hebe ‘First Light’ is wonderful.

  14. Kris P says:

    Your spring foliage may be even more exciting than your flowers! I love that Photinia!

  15. gardenfancyblog says:

    Chloris, your garden looks so lovely and fresh this spring. The foliage is delightful even without the flowers at this time of year. I wasn’t aware of the Princeton Cardinal crabapple; it’s hardy here so I might have to look for one, as I need a few more for our flowering grove — the leaves are so incredibly red. Thank so much for sharing your spring foliage! -Beth

  16. Cathy says:

    Things are only just taking off here, so it is lovely to see all your leafy treasures. The Photinia is very pretty, and the Heucheras are one of my favourites too, as well as Bergenia, which is a highly underrated plant I think!

    • Chloris says:

      Most people thing of the big Elephant’s Ears, Bergenia with plain green leaves when they think of Bergenias. The foliage of some of the new hybrids is stunning in Winter.
      The new Heuchera hybrids have an amazing colour range too.

  17. I especially love the Spiraea “Goldflame”, such a wonderful plant. Don’t think they are particularly “trendy” at the moment, which I think is very misguided. Sure their time will come again!

  18. Chloris says:

    I love it as a foliage plant but I hate the flowers. My bush is very old. This year I am going to cut it right back to get a better shape.

  19. Flighty says:

    A most enjoyable post, and the pictures confirm just how colourful and varied foliage can be. I especially like the hebes. xx

  20. Angie says:

    Lovely new foliage appearing everywhere Chloris and of course most welcome. I am not a fan of the Spirea either and don’t have it in my garden, my neighbour however does and know exactly what you mean about the clashing colours from the blooms.
    I wondered if what ever had been eating your Bergenia was vine weevil when I first saw the picture – I hope not. Pesky bl**dy things!
    I just bought some Erythronium to add to my garden yesterday – I’ve never grown them before. Spring is well an truly upon your garden now.

  21. snowbird says:

    Oh….what a super pic of the frogs! And how marvelous that you grew a crab apple from seed!
    I have your Photinia too, what a wonderful addition to your winter garden, it’s already earning it’s keep!
    I did enjoy all your foliage…..and today I planted out all the plants you sent me, they have grown well in the greenhouse, so thanks again for sending me them!xxx

    • Chloris says:

      I love you shot of frogspawn too. I am excited to see if my crab apple will come true from seed or whether I will have a bran new variety.
      So glad that the plants I sent you have done well.

  22. Robbie says:

    Heucheras- I need more this year-a girl can never have too many Heucheras!
    spring is in the air, but snow was on the ground this morning, not much but oh the ice was a pain! It will warm up here soon.
    Your garden inspires me + your enthusiasm is contagious!
    We have a few “crocus” poking through the snow + the short dwarf iris are blooming in a few places-I can hardly wait! I am seeing green, but no blooms on trees.
    Yours are so lovely:-)
    A frog! WOW-it will be a bit before we see them:-)

  23. Chloris says:

    I agree, heucheras come in such amazing colours these days. I love them.
    Oh dear, your snow seems to go and on, I don’ t know how you manage to stay so cheerful. Still it can’ t be long now if your little irises and crocuses are managing to struggle through. I hope you will be enjoying Spring very soon.

  24. Anna says:

    Oh “Spring has sprung
    The grass is riz” along with all the fabulous foliage in your garden Chloris. I have a serious case of crab apple envy looking at those delicious red leaves. I’ve read somewhere that many of the heucheras with food names have been bred by the same French breeder.

    • Chloris says:

      I didn’ know that these foody- named heucheras were all bred by the same person. I have a friend who hates all the new colours but I love them.

  25. Oh look at your garden grow and all that luscious foliage especially the Heucheras…Happy Spring!

    • Chloris says:

      Yes Spring is here at last, today the temperature rose to 14 degrees. Everything is coming on so fast now, I hope you are enjoying signs of Spring after your long, hard Winter.

  26. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Welcome spring! An exciting time in your garden indeed! A foliar (and reptilian) feast for the eyes!

    • Chloris says:

      I was excited to see the frogs together in the pond for the first time. I hope the fish won’ t eat all the tadpoles. Yes spring is here at last but we are not as advanced as you are yet.

  27. bittster says:

    Awfully risqué opening photo!
    Beautiful range of foliage as usual. It all has such a nice ring of spring to it and I’m excited to see the same thing happen here someday. I’m hoping in spite of the shopping madness you take plenty of pictures when you go to Beth Chatto’s garden. I’ll be interested to see your impressions.
    ps. I also hate those pink blooms on the yellow and orange spireas. I’m hoping there’s a breeder out there working on it.

  28. Debra says:

    Love the frogs! Foliage is my obsession right now. I love flowers but I want the garden to love fabulous even when they aren’t in bloom. That need for structure in leaf colour and shape is becoming more obvious to me this year. My dad will be coming to visit in a couple of weeks and it seems like everything is blooming right now! Yipes! Will I be one of -those- gardeners who says: oh yeah, it’s nice now … but you should ahve seen it last week …

  29. I love any plant foliage with a purple tinge. :o) How wonderful to have frogs in the garden. We have toads but frogs don’t stay around for long because it’s too dry. Spring has finally sprung here, too. Yay!

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