Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Foliage Follow-up

This is my first Foliage Follow-up post.  For my non-garden obsessed friends, Foliage Follow-up is a monthly event hosted on the 16th of each month by Pam of Digging garden blog fame.  It provides an opportunity to highlight the foliage that adds so much to gardens but usually takes a back-seat to showier flowering plants.

Since moving to our current 1/2 acre lot, I've gained a much greater appreciation for foliage.  After initial plantings of flash-in-the-pan flowers, I'm now concentrating more on plants with a sustained presence in the garden.  As I like to buy my plants in the smallest sizes available to conserve on expenses and to allow roots to establish a firm footing, many of my new additions are still quite puny.  I'm not the most patient person so giving these plants the time they need to fill out naturally without crowding them with other plants is hard for me but I'm trying...

Without further preamble, here are the foliage plants I'd like to highlight:

Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt"
I fell in love with this Acacia the first time I touched it but I was only able to find it in large pots at $40 a pop.  Then I tripped over it (almost literally) in a 1-gallon container for $12 at Sperlings Nursery in Calabasas, which I visit occasionally after trips to see my elderly mother.  I bought 2 and wish I'd purchased at least 1 more.  In addition to its beautiful foliage, it's drought tolerant and takes partial shade!  It's also supposed to produce pale yellow flowers but I'll be happy with it even if it never flowers.

Acanthus spinosus

This Acanthus, along with 2 others, was sold to me as mollis but it and 1 other are almost certainly spinosus.  It appears to have a less upright posture than mollis and it bloomed much later, in summer rather than spring, than mollis did in my old garden.  I thought about pulling it out to replace it with mollis but I've decided  that I rather like the more serrated leaves.

Coprosma repens 'Plum Hussey'
Okay, I bought 'Plum Hussey' in part because of its name but also because of its wonderful leave variation.  As temperatures dropped the foliage has become a deeper plum with less variation but I suspect the leaf variation will return with new growth when the temperatures warm up a bit.

Duranta erecta 'Gold Mound'
I bought a number of these lower-growing Duranta to complement the Agapanthus in place all over this property.  As usual, most of the plants I purchased were small - 6-inch pots when I could find them.  As the weather cooled, the first season they were in the ground, the foliage unexpectedly turned from gold to a dark, purplish green.  I checked on-line sources and local nursery experts on this but no one commented on a weather-related change in this plant.  In any case, as the weather warmed, the gold color returned.  'Gold Mound' produces small blue flowers in summer but it's the foliage that makes the statement.

Erysium linifolium 'Variegatum'
I put these Erysium in my back border to echo the foliage color of the Hebe speciosa 'Variegata' I planted soon after moving in.  It's a good, no fuss plant (and, as shown in the picture above, it's already beginning to bud).

Eupatorium corymbosa
None of the pictures I take do service to the beauty of this plant, which I purchased by mail order from Annie's Annuals.  In bloom, it immediately attracts everyone's attention in my yard but I think its purple-tinged foliage is also wonderful.

Pseuderanthemum 'Texas Tri-Star'
I bought 'Texas Tri-Star' for its leaf variation.  In warmer weather, there's much more green and cream color to the leaves than shown above.  I have a dozen of these plants (all still small!) in 3 different areas of the garden.  This one, set with 2 others close to the house, was the last to take on the reddish tones it shows above.

My final foliage all-stars for this first Foliage Follow-up post are pictured without commentary below.  See Pam's Digging blog to find links to foliage selections in other gardens.

Hibiscus acetosella 'Haight Ashbury'

Leucadendron discolor

Loropetalum chinense 'Shang-hi'

Pelargonium tomentusum
Trachelospermum jasminoides


  1. I love your plant tastes. That acacia and leucadendron are simply amaaaazing!!

    1. Louis, thanks for visiting my blog! I checked out your blog and, given your plant interests, it looks as though both the leucadendron and acacia would fit right in. The leucadendron in my own garden has done so well since liberation from its prior confinement in a pot, I'm planning to add more.

  2. Beautiful collection of colorful foliage for establishing your garden. Your Duranta 'Gold Mound' is so much brighter than mine right now.

    I see some plants I need to look up like the erysium and hibiscus.

    1. Shirley, most of my Duranta have turning darker than the one I pictured in this post, just as they did last winter. Do yours turn purplish when the temperatures drop?

  3. 'Plum Hussy'? 'Cousin Itt'? I'd buy those plants based on name only, but, boy, the foliage is great too. You have a wonderful selection of foliage to show for your first Foliage Follow-Up post. Thanks so much for joining in!

    1. Great plant names, huh? Some growers could probably boost their sales just by choosing more creative names for their varieties. Thanks for visiting my blog and for hosting Foliage Follow-up - I never miss it!

  4. The only thing worse than not gardening in Zone 10 myself is when I see people who are gardening there but not taking advantage of all the wonderful things the can grow, like your Leucadendron! What a fabulous plant! And it's fun to see that Acacia in the ground, mine is forever cursed to life in a container, or certain death in the ground.

    1. I'm pretty thrilled with the Leucadendron too. I had it in a pot at our old house, in one of the view spots with sun, but escaping the pot gave it a whole new lease on life - it's tripled in size. Thanks for checking out my blog. I visit yours so regularly for inspiration I sometimes feel like a stalker!