On the 16th of every month, Pam Penick hosts Foliage Follow-up – a celebration of the more permanent stars of the garden. So, head over there for additional wonder and happiness! Yesterday’s Bloom Day post focused on blue flowers, but in all seriousness – they would not look half as good if it weren’t for the surrounding colors and textures – ranging from yellow and chartreuse, through green, to brown and black. They are all powerful in their own right, and add both contrast and visual focal points. Here are a few of my current favorites:
The browns, blacks and greens of this stunner – Pennisetum purpuraeum ‘Vertigo’. I mean really – what does not look spectacular against this one?
The mesmerizing texture of Canna ‘Pretoria’ will create a fabulous focal point just about anywhere.
‘Pretoria’s’ leaves have a delicate red edge which looks superb and adds definition when juxtaposed against a darker foliage.
Another take on green and yellow – Miscanthus zebrinus – a tall, upright grass with a graceful weeping habit. It comes in a smaller version too.
The sheer size of the leaves of Colocasia command your attention. This poor thing survived the winter in a pot. Somewhere in spring, I tossed the semi-mushy corms in a bed to see if they would come back. They did. Now they dwarf just about everything else around it. Not the ideal spot perhaps, but I’m happy it’s back. Next year, I will give it a more exclusive home, worthy of its grandeur! I bet it will look great against my new purple wall…
Cyperus papyrus adds height and fuzzy flowers. Such a fun plant! An annual in this climate, though.
The tiny leaves, and knarly twigginess of a Corokia against leaves and berries of a ‘Black Lace’ Elderberry.
More green and burgundy – the veiny leaves of Red Sorrel make a great ground cover. A prolific self seeder, it pops up all over the place. At some point, I might try to exercise a bit more control over its adventures, but for now, I quite enjoy it wherever it appears. You can actually eat it too. It’s young leaves give salads a great splash of color and zest! If anybody would like seeds, let me know!
The marvelous purple texture of a Strobilanthes – Persian Shield – against an Aucuba japonica.
Oops – almost forgot this month’s oddball. It seems I have an albino iris! It is supposed to look like the variegated variety behind it, but as of yet, there is not a hint of green on it. I’m watching it closely to see whether it will wither and die, revert back to variegation, or thrive and prosper as its ghostly self. Exciting!
Finally, the graceful weeping foliage of Iris confusa against the dark, bluish green of my Edgeworthia. This elegant draping habit is what made me want this plant in the first place. The long-lasting and pretty spring flowers are just an added bonus.
I was born and raised in Sweden, By now, I have lived almost as long in the United States. The path I’ve taken has been long and varied, and has given me a philosophical approach to life. I may joke that I’m a sybarite, but the truth is, I find joy and luxury in life’s simple things as well.
My outlook on life has roots in a culture rich in history and tradition, and I care a great deal about environmental stewardship. Aesthetically, while drawn to the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia, I also have a deep appreciation for the raw, the weathered, and the worn - materials that tell a story. To me, contrast, counterpoint, and diversity are what makes life interesting and engaging.
Color has always informed everything I do. I’m a functional tetrachromat, and a hopeless plantoholic. I was originally trained as an architect working mostly on interiors, but soon ventured outside - into garden design. It’s that contrast thing again… An interior adrift from its exterior, is like a yin without a yang. My firm conviction that everything is connected gets me in trouble time and time again. The world is a big place, and full of marvelous distractions, and offers plentiful opportunities for inquiry and exploration.
I started writing to quell my constant queries, explore my discoveries, and nurture my curiosity. The Creative Flux was started in 2010, and became a catch-all for all kinds of intersecting interests. The start of Flutter & Hum at the end of 2013 marks my descent into plant nerd revelry. I occasionally contribute to other blogs, but those two are my main ones. For sure, topics are all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blogs!
Love the black Elderberry…I wish mine would grow a little faster!
Oh – be careful what you wish for… Mine is almost up to the phone lines by now. And this year, it smothered my Sheherazade lilies completely. Last year they looked beautiful peeking through the black foliage, but now they have become the targets of a rescue operation.
I’m with you on the black elderberry. Mine was the star of the garden in its first year. It shot out in every direction year two. This year, its third, it is suffering exhaustion from all that activity and I keep lopping off dead branches. Sorrel scares me, as the weedy one here romps through every bed with an underground root system designed to thwart every effort at eradication.
Wonderful foliage photos, Anna.
Thanks – but yikes! I might have to rethink the sorrel thing…
I really need to hunt down that Pennisetum!
How cool is that albino iris? I hope it thrives for you. I grow red sorrel too, and haven’t had any problems so far with it self-sowing. I do like that Canna Pretoria. I’m trying to settle on a Canna to use as a centerpiece in my new bed. Tropicanna? Bengal Tiger? And now Pretoria? How to choose…
Thanks – I hope so too! Maybe it will even multiply so I can share! Good to hear about the sorrel – Ricki had me worried… As for the Cannas – jeez, I love them all. The flowers don’t do much for me, but the leaves… I really like the hot coloration of the Tropicanna, but the yellow/green stripes are nice too.. Sorry – I’m not much help, am I…?
Alison – I just read somewhere that ‘Pretoria’ and ‘Bengal Tiger’ are synonymous. Glad to hear, because I for one, could not tell the difference. All these names can be so confusing…
Is it bad that I’m cataloging things I want at the next plant exchange? You have so many beauties!
No, it actually helps… What caught your eye this time? Send me a list!
You have a lot of dramatic foliage. I have the species elderberries, plus ‘Sutherland’s Gold’. The cultivar hasn’t fruited yet, but the species have.
Thanks – I can’t wait for the day when I won’t be embarrassed to show it all in its context (other than close-ups). Isn’t it true that certain types of Elderberries are poisonous, whereas others are edible? Can’t remember what the distinction is, but I know that ‘Black Lace’ is one of the edibles. It makes for great syrup!
You have no idea how refreshing it is to see photos of leaves that are not tattered from the hail, torn from the wind, or eaten down by the bugs…my garden is no where as pretty as yours.
Such is a gardeners life.
Ugh – I can only imagine what a hail storm would do to a garden. Anyway – notice how my photos are almost always close-ups? There is a reason for that. The connector spaces are completely torn up, and in a state of perpetual transition. I haven’t even taken out the garden furniture this year. So, don’t feel bad… Other than the pretty close-ups, I’m not enjoying my garden much right now either. I’m hoping that when the soil softens again, I can finish what I started. Gardening really is an art for the patient…
Red sorrel is so striking. I keep thinking of adding it to my garden. Love your bold-foliage close-ups this month.
Ricki had some reservations, but I say go for it! Time will tell if I need to eat my words… 🙂
Pam – if you want some seeds, I’d be happy to send you some!
Oh man, that lovely Iris confusa again — each time I go out to look at the ones in my garden from you, I see more shoots popping up. Canna is on my list to add some day — how thirsty are they in the summer?
Cool – by next summer you too will be reveling in their beauty! 🙂 As for the cannas – yes they are a thirsty lot. I killed a few before I figured that out… I keep one of mine together with the Papyrus in a pot full of waterlogged soil. It seems to love having constantly wet feet!