GBFD September

What a lovely time of the year to join in with Christina’s monthly foliage meme.
Russell Page, whose book: ‘The Education of a Gardener‘ has been so influential, wasn’t keen on masses of flowers without foliage. He said of the herbaceous border: ‘This extensive and brightly coloured hay, ( for that is what many herbaceous plants quite simply are) has neither body nor character enough to make broad planting look other than flimsy.‘ I couldn’t be without my coloured hay, but as Christina constantly points out, flowers look so much better supported by beautiful foliage.
Here is some of the foliage which I am particularly pleased with at the moment.

Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy.'

Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy.’

The ‘Forest Pansy’ is my favourite foliage plant in the garden. I love the sun on the purple, heart-shaped  leaves. It needs a sheltered spot and I am going to find space for another one, I love it so much.

Also with dark red foliage, Malus ‘Princeton Cardinal’ has fruits which are a perfect  match.

Malus 'Princeton Cardinal'

Malus ‘Princeton Cardinal’

Pink foliage makes quite a statement and I am enjoying this acer in my winter garden. It started off as a tiny thing in a pot and now it is growing in the soil it is romping away. I love the way the stems are pink as well as the leaves.

Acer conspicuum 'Pink Flamingo'

Acer conspicuum ‘Pink Flamingo’

I have another pink leaved shrub and that is Lophomyrtus x alphii ‘Magic Dragon’. It likes a moist soil and I hope it is hardy. It survived last winter alright.

Lophomyrtus x ralphii 'Magic Dragon'

Lophomyrtus x ralphii ‘Magic Dragon’

Stilll on the pink theme, I bought  a beautiful pink Pennisetum this year. It is called Pennisetum setaceum ‘Fireworks’ and that is a very good name for it. Like the lovely Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’, it is not hardy. I hope it will survive in a pot in the greenhouse this winter.

Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum'

Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’

Lots of grasses are looking good now. Although it is not strictly foliage, I must show you my crazy Stipa barbata seedheads. This lovely shimmering grass head twists and turns in the breeze and turns everybodys’ heads. I first saw it some years ago in Beth Chatto’s garden and when I eventually found seeds for it I was delighted. I don’t know why this lovely grass is not often available in nurseries.

Stipa barbata

Stipa barbata

In the winter garden Euphorbia characias ‘Glacier Blue’ is looking good with some purple Nicotiana flowers and ferns and grasses,

Euphorbia characias 'Glacier Blue'

Euphorbia characias ‘Glacier Blue’

I have shown quite a few ferns on this blog, as I love them, even if I am not very good at remembering their names.The Japanese Painted Fern is easy to remember though and how pretty it is.

Athyrium niponicum

Athyrium niponicum

And now for some yellow leaves. I love the bright  yellow  variegated leaves of this Corokia x virgata ‘Sun Splash’. Corokias are quite wiry and contorted in their habit. This is the first time I have come across a yellow one, so I had to buy it.

Corokia x virgata 'Sun Splash'

Corokia x virgata ‘Sun Splash’

I fell for the gorgeous, shiny, copper and yellow foliage of a Coprosma repens ‘Pina Colada’ at the summer plant fair at Hyde Hall. The leaves look as if they have been polished. I have it in a pot at the moment because I am not entirely sure how hardy it is. Does anyone grow it?

Coprosma repens 'Pina Colada'

Coprosma repens ‘Pina Colada’

Also in a pot I have Itea ilicifolia with its lovely green tassels. I think this plant needs a sunny sheltered spot to survive. As I have already lost one, I will keep this in the greenhouse and plant it out in the spring.

Itea ilicifolia

Itea ilicifolia

I saw a beautiful one on the terrace at Great Dixter this summer.

Itea ilicifolia. Great Dixter

Itea ilicifolia. Great Dixter

I like the white margined leaves of Cornus alternifolia ‘Argentea’ which I grow by the pond. This was a cutting from one in a previous garden but now it has developed in to a nice shrub. It is a bit similar in habit to the Wedding Cake tree, Cornus controversa.

Cornus alternifolia 'Argentea'

Cornus alternifolia ‘Argentea’

Nearby, also by the pond is another acer. I have forgotten its name but it looks good with the Forest pansy beyond.
With all this bright foliage I still love green leaves. I have a Mahonia which I grow for its lovely, soft foliage even though it does have yellow flowers. There are no prickles on this one, so the name is very appropriate.

Mahonia 'Soft Caress'

Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’

And now for  my giant Dahlia imperialis which I keep in the greenhouse as it is not hardy. I grew it from seed and I didn’t realise that this plant can grow to 20 feet. My plants are 3 years old and the stems look like bamboo canes.

Dahlia imperialis

Dahlia imperialis

The trouble is that this dahlia blooms in November, or would do if the merest frost didn’t blacken it entirely. If you google it you will see that it has such beautiful blooms. I don’t suppose I will ever see them. If I had any sense I would get rid of this cuckoo and grow something more appropriate to the climate. But as you see I have no sense. But I did open the greenhouse window this year to assist it in its bid for freedom. The Tree Dahlia is a good name for it.

Dahlia imperialis trying to escape.

Dahlia imperialis trying to escape.

Late in September and there is a touch of autumn in the air. And it has arrived in my last picture of the Virginia Creeper which has covered the sheds and is now scrambling up a nearby holly tree.

Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Parthenocissus quinquefolia

So there we have it, some of my favourite foliage this September. What are you enjoying at the moment? Thanks to Christina at MyHesperides garden for hosting this meme.

I am sorry that I am unable to comment on the blogs I follow at the moment but I hope to be able to catch up soon.

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33 Responses to GBFD September

  1. Christina says:

    You do have some amazing foliage plants in your garden Liz. I am very envious of the Cercis ‘Forest Pansy’, I’ve always wanted one of these since I saw it for the first time at RHS Wisley. Thank you for sharing all your treasures.

  2. Pauline says:

    I like all your pink foliage and your blue euphorbia is wonderful, I shall have to look for it.

  3. rusty duck says:

    That Tree Dahlia is amazing! I hope we don’t get any early frosts…

  4. Cathy says:

    I am not sure whether you are showing with that dahlia or not – it’s certainly not everyone’s cup of tea!! Amazing thing, anyhow. Love your crab apple – googling it I see it has pretty flowers that stand out as well, unlike my ‘Royalty’ where you can’t distinguish the blooms from the leaves and likewise the fruit. Hope all is well with you…

    • Chloris says:

      I am fine thank you Cathy, I was on holiday as you now know. I don’ t like telling the whole world when I am away, although the Pianist says I am being paranoid and burglars don’ t read gardening blogs.
      My crab apple has really pretty flowers, dark pink with a white stripe.

  5. Wonderful! I love seeing new things. A Pink Maple, what a concept! I am going to look into the evil Dahlia, though I am probably too far south to grow one. Going to have a glass of wine and contemplate a Pink Maple.

    • Chloris says:

      I saw this dahlia growing in Sri Lanka a few years ago so I should think it would be ok for you and you would get to see the flowers which I won’t here.
      Pink Maples, well why not? It is a pretty thing to contemplate. Can you grow maples or is it too hot for them?

  6. Meriel Murdock, Co. Wicklow, Ireland says:

    I saw one of those Tree Dahlias in full flower in a Community garden just south of Sanfranscisco. I was amazed at the time. Lovely flowers rather like D. merkeii, but larger, if memory serves or I could find the photo. I’m even more amazed at yours popping out the window! I would love to know your secret to germinating Stipa Barbara. I have tried but unsuccessfully. Any tips? I hear it is tricky to grow too! Altogether a marvellous selection of foliage, thank you for the inspiration.

    • Chloris says:

      I have seen Dahlia imperialis blooming in Sri Lanka and I thought it was a marvellous sight. The problem in this country is the late flowering which means the buds are doomed to get frosted before they open.
      Stipa barbata is a bit tricky to get to germinate. I got just two plants from lots of seeds. I think they hate wet so I covered the seeds with gravel. Once the plants got going they were no trouble, although I believe they are short lived.

  7. Kris P says:

    It’s not common that I see plants on your site that are also growing in my own garden but there are actually two in this post: Pennisetum ‘Fireworks’ and Corokia x virgata ‘Sunsplash’. I’ve wanted a ‘Forest Pansy’ for a long time but have hesitated as they tend to burn – and then there’s the issue of my tree-hating neighbor who might protest if it lived to reach its mature size.

    • Chloris says:

      I suppose you can keep your pennisetum in the garden all year round, I don’ t know whether mine will survive the winter even in the greenhouse. I am thrilled with the corokia, it makes a lovely splash of colour.

  8. *happy slightly envious sigh* ‘Forest Pansy’ has to be my all time favourite foliage plant, and I am saving up for one, they seem to have become very pricey since I bought one for my last garden. You really are “in the pink” with all those plants, and thank you for the reminder that I need to put the painted fern back on my list, I want to plant one by my Persicaria ‘Red Dragon’. Your Cornus alternifolia ‘Argentea’ is a real beauty, I’ve not come across that before, and your tree dahlias is positively bonkers. I think you need to build a sort of tower extension to your greenhouse to accommodate it…

  9. Julie says:

    I have really enjoyed this look at your foliage today Chloris – it reminds me that I must make sure to add some darker coloured leaves to my borders & I love that blue euphorbia!

  10. Flighty says:

    A most enjoyable post and lovely pictures. Autumn is a wonderful time for colourful, and interesting, foliage. xx

  11. Forest Pansy is popular here but must be grown in full shade with perhaps just a touch of morning sun, like many other dark leaved plants. Fingers crossed for a bloom from your wacky dahlia.

  12. snowbird says:

    You do have such interesting plants, I enjoyed all the purples and fell head over heels for Pina Colada and your stunning mahonia. Your tree Dahlia is astonishing….a veritable triffid, I do hope it does OK with it’s head out, I certainly wouldn’t part with it!xxx

    • Chloris says:

      I might try the dahlia out in the garden next year. It gets cut back by frost in the greenhouse but comes back again. It might be fun to use it as a foliage plant.

  13. hoehoegrow says:

    So much to think about Chloris! You are a true plantaholic and I fear there is no redemption for you 🙂 Such diversity of foliage and it made me reflect as I am a frivolous ‘hay’ lover who lives for colour in blooms, at the expense of foliage I fear. Loving the subtle hues of your Malus.

    • Chloris says:

      I am a plantaholic and there is no hope for me. I love coloured hay too but your sub trop garden gets its impact from the lovely foliage. That Malus is a gem and it has such pretty flowers in spring.

  14. You have some beautiful foliage combinations here Chloris. My favorite is the Euphorbia characias ‘Glacier Blue’ and all the hues of purple and burgundy are just wonderful!

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Lee. I love euphorbias, I am always wary about handling them though. The sap is horrible stuff on the skin and really dangerous if you get it in the eye.

  15. What a wonderful selection, as you say this is a fabulous time of year to appreciate leaves for their colour, texture and form – your garden has so many lovely examples. The cercis is especially lovely, I also adore its leaves from the time they break bud to the moment they start to colour and then fall.

  16. bittster says:

    I love the dahlia and would be more than happy to crack the window for it as well. Funny where an innocent little seed can take you.
    Your foliage selections are fantastic and very special this month. I’m looking forward to seeing what else the winter garden has accumulated over the past few months!

  17. Chloris says:

    Thank you Frank, I know you enjoy foliage too, especially when its yellow. I would have shown my variegated Arundo donax, but you would have curled your lip contemptuously at the sight of it, as yours is so much better.

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