gbbd & ffu in a vase

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This dark and gloomy day made photographing this week’s vase challenging. Oh, well…must soldier on. Gathering tax records led to a swamping out of areas where all sorts of things had been gathering dust. Hence the tall vase, which I had completely forgotten about.

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The bright red leaves are from the sourwood tree, or Oxydendrum arboretum. Dark leaves come from Weigelia ‘Wine and Roses’. The dark red snapdragons are the last flowers to keep going strong and have earned a repeat and increased numbers for next year (I hardly expected such productivity from a humble six-pack). The last hot pink Zinnia is hiding in there somewhere too.


One branch of Cornus kousa ‘China Girl’ completes the picture.


That girl from China has been putting on a show, what with one thing after another, since early spring. She deserves a rest after this last glorious aria. This 3-in-one post links to (May Dreams Gardens) for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, (Rambling in the Garden) for In a Vase on Monday, and (Digging) for Foliage Follow Up.

foliage follow-up…all new

Schefflera delavyi

Schefflera delavyi

Finally, at the HPSO Plant Fest, I found a small Schefflera delavayi within my price range. Cistus was the vendor and here’s what the plant tag has to say about it: “In our never ending search for garden hardy evergreen Schefflera relatives, here’s one that’s actually a Schefflera. This Himalayan species grows eventually to 6 or 8 ft and can have leaves in excess of 2 ft with an exquisite tawny indumentum. So far has proven hardier that even Fatsia to a low USDA zone 7!!” Can you tell I’m just a little bit excited?

Brunnera 'Alexander's Great'

Brunnera ‘Alexander’s Great’

More Plant Fest finds: that’s Brunnera ‘Alexander’s Great’ in the background, even bigger and bolder than its predecessors. It and the Kniphofia ‘Orange Vanilla Popsicle’ in front of it came from the Jockey Hill stand.



This wonderful Fatshedra came from Alison at our Bloggers’ Bazaar. The variegation reminds me of Fatsia ‘Camouflage’, another wish list plant. That does it, since I decided to focus on new foliage plants for this installment of Pam’s (Digging) monthly festival of foliage.

flowers & foliage get equal billing

Thalictrum roehebrunianum

I’ve always loved the foliage of Thalictrum but wasn’t crazy about the fluffy flowers. Along came T. roehebrunianum with these dainty little flowers and resistance was futile.

Hydrangea quercifolia

Flowers are almost an afterthought on Hydrangea quercifolia as it mixes it up with Sambucus nigra ‘Eva’. In Autumn, its leaves turn shades of rust and flame.

Hydrangea 'Preziosa'Speaking of Hydrangeas, they are mostly background plants around here. ‘Preziosa’ has interesting black stems and pale flowers that show subtle coloration from rose through blue, all on the same bush.

Hydrangea 'Limelight'

‘Limelight’ has cone shaped flower heads that start out green and go through the slow transition through white to a rosy blush at the end of life.

Campsis 'Madame Galen'

I planted Campsis x tagliabuena ‘Madame Galen’ in front of five fence posts, with the idea that they would reach out to each other. The two that receive the most sun are adhering to the plan while the others languish in part shade.


The flowers, when they come, do Madame proud.


No one that I know buys Sempervivums for the flowers, but aren’t they interesting? They grow on ungainly stalks and signal the death of the plant, but the flowers themselves are rather pretty.

Coleus & Abutilon

If there was any doubt that foliage can rival any flower, Coleus would send it packing. Here’s a deep russet one shading to orange. In front of it is an Abutilon with buds that match the Coleus foliage so completely that they disappear. Down in the left corner is another Coleus with chartreuse leaves splotched with maroon.


Crocosmias have a way of turning up unexpectedly. This one chose a woodland setting, where it adds a touch of color to a tapestry of greens. I like it best in this early, budding stage.

Leycesteria formosa

I think I take this same picture every year, when the Leycesteria formosa decks herself out in dangling earrings like this.

Anthirrum & Lavender

I planted a few things just to cut for bouquets, like this deep red snapdragon amid the lavender.


Tithonia for the butterflies. They seem to be appreciative.


Sami wonders where her plants are. I neglected to plant any catnip this year but she quickly lost interest (unlike the strays). She’s not as mean as she looks, she just doesn’t like to have her picture taken.


There must be Nasturtiums every year. This is a new to me strain with the variegated leaves. There are some orange sherbet colored blossoms hiding in there somewhere.

Argentina anserina

A couple of purely foliage plants are living in pots until friendlier planting weather. First up: Argentina anserina, whose shimmering silveriness I failed to capture. Just imagine those deeply pleated, serrated leaves fashioned from tin and you get the idea.

Viburnum rhy. 'Allegheny'

More heavily textured leaves on Viburnum rhy. ‘Allegheny’. The leafy love in this post is dedicated to Pam (Digging), who invites us to strut our foliar stuff for Foliage Follow Up on the 16th of each month. Credit goes to Carol (May Dreams Gardens) for hosting Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day on the 15th.


I’ll say bye for now, with one backward glance at Platycodon, otherwise know as balloon flower (see how the buds blow up like their namesakes before opening?)

oh, the foliage!


Hey, there might be something to all this talk about the morning light. I caught it just right the other day as I was going out to pick up the paper. The sword-like foliage in back is Sisyrinchium striatum, surrounded by heathers. A hinoki cypress is the dark shape in the middle (it actually is frosted with golden edges when not in shadow). In the foreground is an unnamed grass from a neighbor, with a bit of Stachys ‘Helen Von Stein’ peeking into the left corner.


The same cast of characters backing up a native Madrone.

Carex buchanii

Carex buchanii adds color between Birds’ Nest Spruce and Iris foliage.


Stepping back, the spruce is crowding into a mislabeled Viburnum, but they do look pretty together.


The bright new growth on the weeping Norway spruce is always dramatic, but even more so catching the light like this.

Artemisia 'Valerie Finnnis'

All of the above photos were taken from the back side of Delusional Drive to take advantage of the light. Moving around to the front, Artemisia ‘Valerie Finnis’ is backed up by Sedum ‘Cape Blanco’. Valerie came from Linda (Whatsitgarden) in all its silvery goodness. Let’s hear it for Pam (Digging) for dreaming up Foliage Follow-Up and hosting it every month.

favorite: ‘Thunderhead’ pine and more for FFU & GBFD

So many memes, so little time…so, once again , I’m putting three related themes into one post. I’ll give you the links at the end.

'Thunderhead' pine

Starting with my favorite plant in the garden right now, Pinus thunbergiana ‘Thunderhead’. Close up in spring, it’s the “candles” that arrest the eye. Pinching them back results in a lower growing tree.


But I love the candles, and it isn’t strictly necessary to choose between sprawling and upright. The tall part has been let go, while the shorter part has been “candled”. I think it results in an even closer resemblance to the cumulus clouds for which it was named.


Houz did a nice write-up about this favorite. You can find it HERE.


It took me a while to warm to the idea of introducing Yuccas into Delusional Drive. Now I couldn’t be without the textural contribution of their strong, sword-shaped leaves. This one came from Means, so I don’t have a full ID. Just Spanish Dagger and variegated.

Yucca recurvifolia

My first Yucca came from Ryan at our first bloggers’ swap: Y. recurvifolia.

Senecio greyi

This could easily occupy my “favorite” slot. It was labeled Senecio greyi, but I think Loree calls it Brachyglotis greyi. Whatever. Those silvery edges make it a winner as far as I’m concerned.

Mugho pine

R is the opposite of a plant snob. He cares not if a plant is common as dirt, so he’s always slipping in things like this Mugho pine. I must admit to loving it.

Euonymous 'Emerald N Gold'

Most of the year the variegation on Euonymous ‘Emeral ‘N’ Gold’ is yellow and green, but it blushes prettily in the cold months.

Dracunculus vulgaris

Dramatic from beginning to end, Dracunculus vulgaris is pushing up through the woodland duff, already showing the distinctive patterning of its future stems.

The Favorite Plant in the Garden meme is the brainchild of Danger Garden, where Loree will host a roundup of faves you have featured through the month on the last Friday. Pam, of Digging hosts Foliage Follow Up. It is targeted for the day after Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, but as you can tell by my late entry, the rules are loose. You are welcome to join in when you can. A similar meme from across the pond is hosted by Christina. It falls on the 22nd of each month, so why not note that on your calendar and give it a try.

triple play: ffu, gbfd and garden favorite

foggy foliage

Our days have been starting out cloaked in fog. Looking out from the front deck, the scene is framed by gnarly cherry tree branches on the right and red branches of Stachyrus praecox on the left, giving perspective to the cedar trees disappearing gradually into the fog.


The view out back has deciduous trees forming the scrim in front of the ghostly forms of conifers farther down the trail into the woods.


There was moss left over after using some at the base of our “Christmas Tree”. It was left in a wire basket on the outdoor table and up popped these cute little fungi for a natural fairy garden look.

Mahonia 'Arthur Menzes'

Mahonia ‘Arthur Menzies’ finally came across with some flowers this year, but it is here as a foliage plant. It’s stiff, holly-like leaves are evergreen and textural for year-round interest.

Cryptomeria japonica spiralis 'Grannies Ringlets'

And to complete the triple play of the title, here’s my favorite plant of the week: Cryptomeria japonica spiralis ‘Granny’s Ringlets’. That Arcostaphylos in the background currently obscures it from the entry drive, but from the back side of the bed its curlique habit stands out from its more serious neighbors. It will eventually gain enough height to make its presence known from any angle. Loree of Danger Garden fame hosts the favorite plant meme and will have a roundup on the last Friday of the month. I have long participated in Pam’s Foliage Follow-Up meme at Digging. Recently I discovered a similar meme, Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day, at Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides, hosted by Christina. I may be cheating a bit by hitting all three with one post, but you know how it is when the weather turns nice enough to get out there to start weeding and pruning, so I trust you will forgive me.

A comment from Anna brought to my attention that I did not include any info about Granny. You can find it HERE.

foliage follow-up for the holidays

Deodore cedar

Conifers shout “Holidays” to me. Here’s the bargain NOID deodore cedar with one of the towering native cedars as a backdrop.


Despite its humble beginnings, its performance has been stellar.


It has an almost frosted look, so I’m looking forward to the day when I can steal a few branches to bring indoors.


In the meantime, the wind storms were only too happy to oblige by littering the ground with evergreen branches.


A swag for the door gave me an excuse to feature this goofy little folk art angel that usually watches over my work station. I made a loop in a length of rope, then wired bundles of branches onto the ends with the unused wire fasteners from our trash bag liners. A purple satin ribbon matches the angel’s robe.


Our fireplace is free-standing, so no mantle. A pony wall around the stairs serves the same purpose. We had to leave a stretch in the middle for Sami to use as a perch.


It’s such fun to have an abundance of material to tuck in here and there inside and out.


I won’t bore you with every nook and cranny, but instead will suggest that you visit Pam to see what she and others are celebrating in the way of foliage.

ffu: time for evergreens

Cotoneaster horizontalis variegata

I’m wishing I had planted more Cotoneaster horizontals variegata, as it is turning into a nice spreading ground cover.


The two-tone leaves give it a silvery look, and you can even spot the occasional red berry in there.


Ozthamnus 'Sussex Silver'

Ozthamnus ‘Sussex Silver’ adds another shimmery element. It presents a pruning challenge, getting scruffy after blooming. So far, I’m finding it worth the trouble and R enjoys wielding his loppers in its direction.

deodora cedar

One of several successful bargains from Means, this Deodora cedar (sorry, that’s all I know) brings a golden glow to Delusional Drive.

Gaultheria procumbens

Wintergreen, Gaultheria procumbens, is filling in nicely for another ground cover. The red berries are tasty, too.

Viburnum ?

Only a few leaves remain on the mislabeled Viburnum, but they glow to make up for it.

Hydrangea quercifolia

Ditto for Hydrangea quercifolia.

Pam over at Digging has more foliar fun in store, as she does every month for Foliage Follow Up.

Fall is for Foliage


I always have to have at least one pot of coleus to brighten the porch area. A couple of 4″ pots from the super market soon fill a good sized pot with color to rival any blossom.

coleus Aurora Black Cherry

Each year there’s a new batch of varieties from which to choose. The name of the big, dramatic one in back escapes me, but the one in front is ‘Aurora Black Cherry’, with a pot of basil in the foreground.

Cornus kousa

Out in the garden proper, leaves are turning and the dogwoods are producing their charming fruits.

Callicarpa 'Profusion'

Beauty berries are plumping up and taking on that metallic sheen.

Paeonia 'Gold Sovereign'

Some of the best leaf color comes from the tree peonies and will only get better until the end.

Lecesteria formosa

Where once were pretty little white flowers, now dangle plump, shiny purple fruits on the Lecesteria formosa.
Hypericum inodorum 'Asbury Purple'

Here’s Hypericum inodorum  ‘Asbury Purple’, sporting shiny black berries to top off the foliage that gives it its name. Other foliage fanatics will join Pam for Foliage Follow-Up just as we do every month the day after Bloom Day. Don’t be left out.

And now there is another foliage meme here, by Christina, on the habit-forming blog, Creating my own garden of the Hesperides. Check it out and expand your horizons with even more fabulous foliage.

Flinging Foliage


Lots of brilliant foliage combinations popped up on the bloggers’ Fling, so I thought I’d share some of them with you for Foliage Follow Up this time. The first one was spotted at Chickadee Gardens.


The Danger Garden was in full spiky form.


Foliar peek-a-boo in the Ernst Garden.


Next door, at the Fuller Garden, fine foliage underfoot.


You can point your camera anywhere in the Old Germantown Gardens and come away with a winner. This happened to be in the greenhouse.


Those rose hips were enormous, in the demonstration gardens of Joy Creek Nursery.

Pam is the mastermind behind Foliage Follow Up and I can now vouch for the fact that she is every bit as charming in real life as she is online (it’s a Fling thing…you get to hang out with your gardening heroes).