Sunday, May 16, 2010

Foliage Follow-up: May 2010

On the sixteenth of every month, Digging hosts Foliage Follow-up so that we can explore our garden's non-flowering aspects.  I have reached the conclusion that in a shady garden, it is the leaves that rule.  So here are a few of my May garden leafy stand-outs.

Raspberry Ice Coral Bells (Heuchera  'Raspberry Ice') actually still has a few blooms hanging in there, but its foliage is the main show.  The leaves emerge small and reddish deep within the plant, then push out and change to the nicely variegated pattern that lightens up the dappled shade area.

Of course, if variegation is what you desire, the Strawberry Geranium (Saxifraga stolonifera) definitely catches your attention.  Spreading out like a slow moving groundcover, it has finished its bloom cycle, but still contributes to the show with its leaves.

Burgundy Glow Ajuga (Ajuga reptans 'Burgundy Glow') is another that brightens the darker areas of the shady garden.  In my garden, it seems to grow much slower than regular Ajuga, gradually weaving its way in and around other larger plants but never forming thick mats.  Really enjoy the lighter colors and purplish highlights.

Another bright spot in the shade is the Ghost Plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense).  With a little bit of protection, it survived this winter's 18 degree lows with only minor damage.  And now it is again growing, producing new leaves as it cascades out onto a nearby stone path.

Have been enjoying a new addition to this year's garden, the Agave 'Blue Glow'.  Its blue-green, red-edged leaves have the typical agave attention-grabbing spine at its tip (it quickly trains you to move carefully around it).  It has been producing new leaves from the center that stretch upward then fall outward to join the rosette, their tight initial growth producing patterns still etched on the newly opened leaves.

It all starts with the foliage; hope your garden's flavors of green are bringing you smiles.


  1. That 'Blue Glow' is a true beauty. Has to have winter protection though, doesn't it? Ghost plant has been a winner for me too.

  2. Pam: This is my first year with 'Blue Glow' and I do have it in a pot (more for chasing light than hiding from cold); but online sites report cold tolerance ranging from 5 degrees (Proven Winners) to 25 degrees (San Marcos Nursery).

  3. I love your variegated plants and must think of adding some to my garden. That Blue Glow is gorgeous. I think it is smart you have it in a pot. I would certainly take it in for the winter. Desmettiana is supposed to be hardy to 25 degrees but never makes it here.

  4. Lancashire: I like the variegated ones - really helps to brighten up the shade. Good to know about the Blue Glow.