Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day. September

Most of my foliage is looking very sorry for itself after such a hot, dry summer. Some of the leaves on the acers look quite crispy and my weeping Cericiphyllum japonicum ‘Pendula’ has shut up shop completely. I noticed a brief whiff of the distinctive toffee apple smell of its fallen leaves and then they were gone.

Cerdicphyllum japonicum 'Pendula'

Cerdicphyllum japonicum ‘Pendula’

I hope it will be all right next year, I love this little tree, but it doesn’t take kindly to drought.

Next month is the exciting one for bonfires of brilliant foliage colour. So far the only things that have coloured up in nicely are Hamamelis x intermedia  ‘ Arnold Promise’ .

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Arnold Ppromise'

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’

And the  Virginia Creeper, Parthenocissus quinqefolia  which is sprawling all over the old garage roof along with the neighbour’s Mile a Minute Vine. Both of these horrors should come with a health warning, they have designs on the whole garden.  They have leapt off the roof and and are trying to engulf a nearby apple tree and anybody who stands still long enough. Mile a Minute Vine, Ballopia baldschuanica is a relative of Japanese Knotweed and shouldn’t be allowed in a garden, I don’t know why nurseries sell them. But these horrors  do look pretty at this time of the year entwined with the ivy and completely hiding the garage and old stables along here.


The bargain basement Phormium  ‘Rainbow Queen’ which I planted in the winter garden is already quite big. I hope it doesn’t get too big. I once tried to dig up a huge, mature phormium. It was like trying to dig up concrete with a nail file.
The tree with the lovely cinnamon bark on the left is Prunus serrula. I am pleased at how quickly this tree is maturing.

In the background you can probably see the tree Dahlia imperialis. I have had two of them in the green house for two or three years now. They never bloom because the first frost cuts them down. If they bloomed it would be in November. I thought I would plant one of them in the garden and see what happens. They are far too big for the greenhouse, it is like keeping a giraffe in a rabbit hutch. They grow to about 8-10 metres. They would be good for an exotic garden because of the dramatic foliage. I grew them from seed. I can’t think why now.

Dahlia imperialis

Dahlia imperialis

This part of the garden has too many weedy elder trees which I need to get rid of.  You can probably see a couple in the background. Horrible things, I know they are supposed to guard against witches, but there can’t be that many witches around here. Anyway, I still have protection, because I shall certainly keep the lovely  Sambucus ‘Black Lace’ with its striking black foliage.


I think it looks good with the Hydrangea and Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Atrosanguinea’. I was given this Hydrangea as a pot plant last year. It has lived quite happily in the garden since then. In my soil I can’t think why the blue is still so blue. I took this photo a week or so ago, it is looking a bit more autumnal now.

Now for my pièce de résistance. I have blogged about my son’s jetty garden a couple of times and shown his fabulous tree ferns. He is addicted to them and had 12 at the last count. This June, he and Beatrice came round and brought me a most wonderful present. Not one, but three tree ferns, Dicksonia antartica.  They were just stumps with no roots or fronds. He supervised me planting them and left me with instructions to water them every day. It has been wonderful to watch the fronds appearing and expanding day by day.

A  few weeks ago they looked like this.

But now they are looking  even more wonderful with their fronds all unfurled. Thank you, dear Bertie and Beatrice, what a fabulously generous present. I love ferns and these are the Rolls Royce of all ferns. I am going to have to knit them some blankets for the winter.



Christina of Myhesperidesgarden hosts Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day. Do go and look at her wonderful blog and why not join in and show us the foliage which is enhancing your garden at the moment?

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29 Responses to Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day. September

  1. Christina says:

    One problem in gardening in a climate that can grow so many different types of plants is that some will suffer when the conditions don’t quite match what it they need. But usually they will pull through with a little care. The tree ferns are beautiful, lucky you! You have chosen a nice shady area for them, I’m sure they will thrive under your care. Thanks for joining GBFD.

    • Chloris says:

      East Anglia is dry, but this summer has been particularly rainless and my garden is too big for me to water everything. I hope I won’ t have lost too many plants.
      I put my tree ferns here by the wall because it is shady and the soil doesn’ t get too dry and I can keep an eye on them. I would like some by my stumpery but it is rather dry down there and honey fungus is forever lurking in the old orchard.

  2. What an enjoyable tour, thank you. I hope your cercidiphyllum picks up next year, the weeping form is lovely and choice. Fabulous tree ferns, I’m envious!

  3. rusty duck says:

    Another case of tree fern envy, always wanted one. I’ll be interested to see how you protect them for winter. The cold and soggy valley bottom probably makes it a challenge too far for me.

    • Chloris says:

      My son never loses his tree ferns in winter so I shall get him to supervise their wrapping up. Your Devon climate is probably better suited than mine, but I suppose they wouldn’ t like sitting around in wet all winter.

  4. Here is tree fern envy from Florida, I almost bought a Cibotium in Hawaii then decided against it. I also have Phormium envy! Phormium melts here, yours is lovely.

  5. Flighty says:

    An interesting post. I often think that foliage is overlooked in gardens which is rather a shame. Not that is is in yours which has some magnificent plants on show. xx

  6. mrsdaffodil says:

    A giraffe in a rabbit hutch, ha ha! Actually, I take some pleasure in the speed with which

  7. mrsdaffodil says:

    (Oops) …with which nature can obliterate man’s works. Think of the re-wilding of Detroit.

    • Chloris says:

      I just looked up the rewilding of Detroit and it is great to the think that man-made ugliness can quickly be obliterated. My old garage and stables don’ t look exactly tidy but they do look natural. Fortunately I am not a tidy gardener.

  8. Good luck with the tree ferns, you are doing well so far! I have friends here who overwinter bananas with a generous chicken wire enclosure which is then packed with dry leaves.

  9. Loved the walk through your garden (your photos are such fun), drought, and hotter periods than normal have created an unusual fall here as well. Some plants have done really well, but I have many that I’m worried how they well they will do if the winter is a bit colder than normal.

    • Chloris says:

      I am worried about quite a few of my shrubs and trees. As you say it is not good if they go into winter in a stressed state and in my garden, the dreaded honey fungus is always waiting to pounce on stressed plants.

  10. Tina says:

    Enjoyed the tour, love the Sambucus ‘Black Lace’ and agree that it’s very pretty with the Hydrangea and Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Atrosanguinea’. Those tree ferns are fun!

    • Chloris says:

      Sambucus ‘ Black Lace’ is gorgeous. Actually, this name is a synonym. I think it’ s correct name is Sambucus nigra f. porphyrophylla ‘Gerda’. But that has too many consonants for me.

  11. Kris P says:

    I’m still grinning at the thought of giraffe-like Dahlias being kept in a rabbit hutch. Dahlia imperialis has tempted me many times (my favorite mail order nursery in northern California offers it) but it comes with warnings to protect it from strong winds, which would be a virtual impossibility here. (Oh no, I just checked with that nursery and the plant is currently available – you’re a bad influence! I’m trying to strike it from my short-term memory.) I hope the tree ferns live long and prosper in your garden.

  12. Sam says:

    The wonderful tree ferns look great by your wall. What a splendid addition to your garden. Fingers crossed your plants recover from the effects of drought – we’ve not planted anything yet that I’m worried about here but it has been so dry. I know what you mean about mile-a-minute – there was a load in one of our hedges and we’ve been trying to get rid of it for three years..!

  13. The Persicaria and Hydrangea look great together. Very impressed by those tree ferns. They have such a Triassic look to them.

  14. Brian Skeys says:

    The tree ferns were a wonderful present. I would always find room for Prunus serrula in my garden, visitors to the garden always want to know the name of the tree with the beautiful bark.

  15. bittster says:

    A usual a very fulfilling post! Glad to see the winter garden again, I hope it really shines this season as it settles in. The dahlia is fantastic. I heard of someone growing it a bit south of me (no blooms though) and I was surprised to hear they did as well as they did. For some reason I thought they were fussy.
    The ferns are outstanding! I bought a tiny potted one this summer and it is an adorable pet which I hope will grow and grow. Outdoors is not an option so I’ll need to find a winter home. My only concern is the itchiness I get when handling it. I had read this was a possibility but it didn’t sink in until I was scratching and scratching!

  16. That fern is splendid! Your garden looks good at this time of year – it’s a different phase – the green phase, I call it – but everything here looks healthy and strong. Sorry about your little tree. I hope it comes back too. Do you know that some plants save their energy one year by not coming or “dying” above ground, only to resurrect themselves the next spring? Jack in the Pulpit is one such. Glad I didn’t did it up and throw the roots out. My best to you.

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