Some of my foliage is so brightly colored, it can almost be mistaken for floral material. Yucca 'Bright Star' falls into that category. I added 3 of these to my main backyard border in January. The plants are still relatively small and the surrounding plants currently distract attention away from them to a degree, but I think that'll change as the Yucca grow taller. If the neighboring Nicotiana alata 'Lime Green' encroach upon them, the Nicotiana may have to go.
|One of 3 Yucca 'Bright Star' in the mid portion of the main backyard border|
|Another of the 3 plants photographed from above to show off the color variation|
|The Yucca are currently surrounded by Nicotiana alata, Euphorbia 'Dean's Hybrid,' a Prostanthera ovalifolia and Adenophora seedlings|
Abelia grandiflora 'Kaleidoscope' could also be considered a flower-like foliage plant. It's hard to ignore in any setting. I've used it in groups in 3 different parts of the garden.
|This one, introduced in the in the backyard border 2 years ago with 2 others, is putting on new growth|
I'm continuing to add plants for foliage interest. One of my most recent purchases is Melianthus major, purchased at s spring plant sale conducted by the local botanic garden. Although it can grow up to 12 feet (3.7 meters) tall and wide, I've been told that it can easily be kept to a smaller size. I've added mine to what I'm calling my "red bed," an area previously occupied by a seldom-used snorkel spa that was dismantled in January, freeing up more garden space. (One has to establish priorities, even in the garden.)
|Newly-planted Melianthus major|
I've added a variety of foliage elements to the other new backyard bed, an extension of our fountain bed. Among these are 6 Liriope spicata, clumped in 2 groups of 3 plants each. I understand that this species of Liriope can spread with abandon so I hope I don't regret the choice. At present, I like how it adds a spiky vertical element along the pathway.
On the other side of the path, along the house, Plectranthus ciliatus 'Zulu Warrior' is once again showing why it's one of my favorite plants. It's attractive even when it isn't in bloom. The foliage also has a nice spicy scent. I cut it back hard this winter but it has once again put on a healthy flush of new growth. I established this mass from cuttings brought from our old house and I recently planted cuttings from this stock in the new bed on the other side of the path (as well as other locations in the side and front yards).
|Plectranthus ciliatus 'Zulu Warrior' gets just morning sun|
On a recent trip, I picked up a new Aeonium, A. canariense (aka the Velvet Rose), which ended up in a large pot on the small south-side patio. I'm hoping that it'll prove as easy to grow as the other Aeonium I have growing all around the property. When we moved in, a friend gifted me with a few cuttings of what I believe is some variety of Aeonium arboreum. Unsure where to put it, I planted a few pieces below the citrus trees in the vegetable garden. The few quickly grew into many and now, whenever I have an empty area in dry soil I'm not sure what to do with, I stick an Aeonium cutting directly in the soil, walk away and see what happens. So far, there's no place these plants haven't thrived. (Frankly, it's almost scary.)
|The original clump of Aeonium arboreum planted below the Mandarin orange tree has grown dramatically in size despite regular harvesting of cuttings|
|Another clump, developed from cuttings stuck into the soil about a year ago|
|A few plants recently added in a very dry, largely untended area near the driveway where nothing much other than weeds (aka as Santa Barbara daisies) grow|
I haven't added any of these Aeonium to the dry garden (yet). I'm not sure why. However, when I was walking about snapping pictures for this post, I noticed that Leucadendron 'Ebony' (acquired last September at far below the usual going rate, possibly due to mis-labeling as 'Safari Sunset'), is putting on new growth at last.
Finally, while searching for foliage high-notes, I looked down and realized how nicely my thyme groundcover is filling in among the stepping stones in the side yard.
|The thyme shown here, labeled as Thymus serpyllum, hugs the soil|
|This thyme, also sold as Thymus serpyllum, is somewhat taller (grown here with Ajuga 'Mint Chips')|
These are my foliage highlights for April 2014. Please visit Pam, our foliage follow-up hostess, here to see her foliage highlights and to find links to other gardeners' contributions to this useful meme.