A Love of Foliage

Listen, I like flowers as much as the next guy.  But, my true love, the one that gives me reason to get my hands dirty and full of nasty blisters is none other than … the foliage.

I am consumed with foliage and it’s different textures, different colors, different shapes and how it changes from season to season. To me, that is the essence of gardening. I am by no means an expert, but I do get annoyed when I see garden design decisions being based solely on flower color. While I see bloom color being a factor in the overall decision making process, it is typically a factor for a short period of time (albeit a strong one) and then is gone. The plant shape, size, texture and foliage color are so much more impactful on the overall scheme of the design.

With that in mind, I thought I would share some of my favorite foliage photos. As I reviewed these, I got all sorts of fired up and “en fuego”, so take a deep breath and get ready to be dazzled.

When you think hydrangea you immediately think about the impressive blooms. But the foliage color and shape is phenomenal both pre and post bloom:

The phenomenal color of the Hypericum ‘Albury Purple’ (St. John’s wort) enhanced after a rainfall:

Hibiscus blooms are prolific, but how can you not like the color, shape and texture of it’s leaves:

Hibiscus ‘Kopper King’

Newly emerging foliage often takes on a unique look that allows it to stand out in the spring. Like with this Ninebark ‘Diablo’:

Ninebark ‘Diablo’

Some times, the simple act of foliage filling in quickly in the spring, with a promise of what is to come is enough for me:

Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint)

Geranium blooms are all that, but I’ve come to appreciate the lacy foliage and find it to be a great contrast perennial, especially when placed next to other perennials with more bold foliage:

Speaking of bold foliage, I finally came to grasp the concept of utilizing this concept (preferably in small doses). I have two Yucca ‘Golden Sword’ located in my front bed and they have acted as a true focal point, even into the winter:

I have long been obsessed with using yellow/chartreuse foliage color. I have tried real hard to not overdo it. These dwarf spireas provide a nice punch of color along my front entry and I honestly find the blooms take away from the shrub. I will often cut black the blooms in an effort to keep the foliage pristine:

I have a ton of Ajuga ‘Chocolate Chip’ under my shade trees and they will change foliage color from spring to fall as the trees fill in and the amount of shade increases:

And then there are those plants where the foliage is really all it has to offer and damn do they look good:

Hosta ‘Guacamole’

Sedum ‘Red Carpet’

And finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t include my absolute favorite foliage type of all, the ornamental grass:

Miscanthus ‘Gracillimus’

One Comment Add yours

  1. jmarkowski says:

    You can read about more of my gardening likes, dislikes, adventures and failures at http://www.obsessiveneuroticgardener.com.


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