Christina is reeling from a family loss, so will not be hosting Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day today. I hope my foggy photos (they seem ethereal to me) will ease her heartache ever so slightly. The above is the view entering our lane, with the Italian Cypresses lining the drive.

I love the way the ghostly line of tall cedars retreats into the background.

Up close, the Ceanothus ‘Blue Jeans’ forms a scrim through which to view the scene.

At which point, if you turned around to look back the way we came, this is what you would see. Be well, Christina, and we will do our best to carry on this tradition of celebrating our gardens’ foliage on the 22nd of each month while longing for your return.

garden bloggers’ foliage day & wv

Poncirus trifoliata 'Flying Dragon'

Poncirus trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon’

I took this pic last week, as the leaves of the hardy orange were still falling, filling up the bird bath and revealing the twisted, fanged limbs of this favorite shrub. A few fruits still held on. The branches are now bare and the bath has been cleared…filled, instead, with cavorting Juncos. I’m not a regular but this shot seemed destined for Wednesday Vignette, hosted by Anna at Flutter and Hum.


I’ll also use it as an excuse to direct you to Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day, hosted by Christina, because there can never by too many opportunities to celebrate foliage in the garden.

friday grab bag…and more foliage


I’ll start with the foliage, joining (Christina) for her Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day. Finally, after three tries, I’ve gotten a Tetrapanax ‘Steroid Giant’ to take. Thank you, (Jane).


Valerie Finnis must have been something special to get this beautiful Artemesia named after her…and (Linda) is just as special for passing it along.


My consolation prize for missing Hortlandia was a visit to Xera, where I OD’d on luscious plants and brought home these two.


Here’s the tag description for Podocarpus macrophyllus ‘Maki’: “A compact form of the Japanese Yew Pine that forms a wonderful fine textured shrub with a distinctly asian appearance to 4′ tall in 5 years and 4’wide. Waxy needles are fresh looking year round. Adaptable to many situations including understory shade. Tough and draught resistant when established but just as happy with regular irrigation. Tolerates extreme heat well and may be grown against a hot wall and even endures dry shade. Underused.” Amen to that! I have it in a pot for now, but it sounds like a trooper, wherever it lands.


You may detect a theme developing here. This one is Pitosporum tobira ‘Tall and Tough’: “Japanese Mock Orange is an exceptionally tough, handsome and long-lived evergreen shrub. Scrolled green/black leaves are good looking year round. In May/June, clusters of white/cream flowers emit a powerful orange blossom fragrance. Full sun to shade in average well-drained soil. Light summer water, extremely drought tolerant when established. To 6′ x 6′ in 5 years. This selection is much hardier to cold than other P. tobira. Fantastic shrub.” OK, there might be more than one theme here, but the one that grabbed me was the indestructible part. The flowers are already starting to open and my nose knows that I did the right thing.


Speaking of indestructible, take a look at Berberis ‘Jamesiana’. Isn’t it a beauty? Now tell me, how can it be that R has a vendetta going against this fabulous shrub. It does have a very prickly personality, but that is just because he keeps hacking away at it to liberate a nearby Italian cypress (of which we have MANY).


On one side, it is complemented by Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’…


…while on the other a carpet of Ajuga ‘Black Scallop’ does the honors. Jim’s pendulous flowers will give way to pearlescent pale yellow drupes on their way to blushing red later on.


I hope you won’t tire of my going on and on about (Joy Creek), but how can I help myself, surrounded by plants like this Weigelia middendorffiana with its charming splashes of orange peeking out of buttery yellow blossoms?

That’s my roundup for this week. I hope you have a memorable weekend.

gbfd…yep, more foliage


It’s slooow going, but the Monkey Puzzle tree is finally beginning to make its presence known.


Just about time to cut back and move some things to make room for Cryptomeria japonica spiralis ‘Granny’s Ringlets’.


Her neighbors need to be reminded to be a little more neighborly.


The deeply textured leaves of Viburnum rhy. ‘Alleghany’ are its ticket to stardom, but I see a flower bud hiding in there. It will be fun to see how that develops.


This is Sedum ‘Jade Frost’ at its most charming, when it is just emerging, all fresh and new with even a few captured raindrops for emphasis. To what, you might ask, do we owe the opportunity to visit foliage a second time this month? Thank (Christina) and go ahead and wallow in more foliage…I never get too much, how about you?

focus on foliage, both sides of the pond


My focus on foliage along one side of Delusional Drive is really beginning to pay off. Taking a cue from Christina (Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides), who hosts Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day on the 22nd of each month, I have been adding a few flowering plants to spice up the mix. These days, though, the mix of many shades and textures of green holds its own.


Here it is looking the other way.This is before I have even begun the yearly weeding and cutting back chores.


Thuja occidentalis ‘Yellow Ribbons’ introduces a nice bright note, backed by the dark form of Ceanothus impressus ‘Victoria’, which will be covered in blue blossoms later on. Another Ceanothus, ‘Blue Jeans’ blooms earlier at the other end of the border. A few tufts of Carex buchanii do bronze duty.


Arcostaphylos densiflora ‘Harmony’ is pruned to show off her shapely ankles, with Yucca filamentosa nearby for textural contrast.


The queen of the border right now, to my eyes, is this deodora cedar.


I’m fond of Salix integra ‘Hakuro Nishiki’ when it is clothed in variegated pink, white and spring green leaves, but right now it’s showing off coral bark as new buds catch the light. The founder of the original Foliage Fan Club, Pam (Digging) invites us to strut our leafy wonders as a follow up to Bloom Day. She’s forgiving about when that happens (target day, 16th of any month). I’m so tardy this month that I couldn’t find a way to send you straight to her February post, but don’t let that stop you. Any visit to Pam’s blog is worth your while.

garden bloggers’ foliage day

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Is it cheating to feature a deciduous tree during its bare season? Maybe, but I do love this little weeping birch tree.


I’m not crazy about its placement right outside my studio window. Once it leafs out, it obscures much of my view of the rest of the garden. That might not be such a bad thing, as it cuts down on distractions.

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Its most charming attribute just now is the way raindrops gather at the tips of the many branches, creating a sparkling umbrella. Is a second foliage meme overkill? Not in my foliage-frenzied opinion. If you are with me on this, be sure to click through to (My Garden of the Hesperides) to see what Christina and her gang have in store.

it’s fire season for foliage

Euphorbia 'Fire Charm'

Euphorbia ‘Fire Charm’

We have Foliage Follow-Up on the 16th-ish of every month, and now Christina (Creating My Own Garden o9f the Hesperides) hosts Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day on the 22nd. I, for one, can never overload when it comes to celebrating foliage. If you feel that way too, be sure to click through to see what Christina has up her sleeve. The Euphorbia above is primarily ‘Fire Charm’ but there may be some ‘Dixter’ in there too. The stems are red all season long, but as nights cool, the whole plant bursts into flame.


One of the few annuals employed to dress up the deck is Coleus. No need to wait for Fall to enjoy this one’s fiery presence.


A companion Coleus cools things down ever so slightly.


I have quite a few glazed red pots. Left out in the sun, some of the succulents blush to match.

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Meanwhile, out in the hedgerow, Forsythia begins to color up while volunteer Cotoneaster is forming berries.


These berries will eventually turn bright red. I’m very fond of this subtler look.

Berberis janesiana

Berberis janesiana

The berries of Berberis jamesiana mature to red too, but this pearly, pale yellow was what attracted me. Like so many things in the garden, blink and we miss the perfect moment. It pays to be ever vigilant.

gbfd wednesday vignette

Sedum 'Cherry Truffle' with Dusty Miller

Sedum ‘Cherry Truffle’ with Dusty Miller

Did you know that there was another foliage meme? This one falls on the 22nd of each month and is hosted by Christina (Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides). It is called Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day, or GBFD. I’m happy to join in, ‘cuz foliage is my thing and Christina’s garden is a constant source of inspiration. Doubling up this time with Anna’s (Flutter and Hum) Wednesday Vignette. When I fill pots for summer interest, there are a few flowers for accent, but most of the emphasis is on foliage. Here Sedum ‘Cherry Truffle’ is combined with one of the many plants referred to as ‘Dusty Miller’ (sorry I can’t be more specific). Water droplets collect in the sedum and echo the solar light globe that shares the pot.

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.