Tuesday, February 17, 2015

February Foliage Follow-up: Bronze Tones

Last week our temperatures veered into the mid-80sF (29C), making it feel not only that winter was over but that we were skipping over spring into summer.  However, the morning marine layer returned on Monday and the daytime temperatures have drifted back down into the 70sF, comfortable and definitely spring-like.  With flowers popping up everywhere, it's easy to overlook the surrounding foliage but not all of the foliage in my garden has willingly accepted an understudy role.  In scanning my garden, my eye was repeatedly drawn to bronze tones.

The Xylosma congestum hedges are a case in point.  Trimmed back a few weeks ago, they're now wearing shiny new foliage in a delicious bronze shade.

Xylosma hedge shown against a backdrop of a neighbor's pine trees in the distance

The bronze foliage is even more evident when viewed next to the deep bluish-green of the Ceanothus hedge planted alongside it


My normally green Aeonium have also turned a beautiful shade of bronze.

This clump of Aeonium is just touched with bronze at the edges

This clump, only a few feet away and part of the same bunch gifted to me by a friend when we moved into the house, has turned a deeper bronze

And, these 2, planted along the driveway where they get very little water, are bronzer still

And, finally, these sitting on the backyard patio table exposed to sun all day, are moving from bronze to burgundy


And the Calliandra haematocephala is sporting bronze foliage as fancy as its powder-puff red flowers.

This shrub outside the living room window has been allowed to leaf out more than usual

It will have to be cut back soon as it's reaching out into the pathway

I'd love to use its stems in a vase but the leaves close up in the dimmer light of the house



Pretty as any flowers, wouldn't you say?  These bronze beauties are my contribution to the monthly foliage follow-up meme sponsored by Pam at Digging.  Visit Pam to find her foliage highlights and links to other foliage-centric posts.


All material © 2012-2015 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

17 comments:

  1. I wonder what brought on the bronzing, the temperature swing or just the warmth before. Either way they look great!

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    1. New growth on Calliandra and Xylosma always comes in bronze but the Aeoniums have especially noticeable tans this year. I expect temperature and limited water have combined to create this impact, especially as the deepest color is showing in the plants that have subsisted on our limited rainfall.

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  2. Have your plants been using a tanning bed? No, it's just that beautiful sunshine you're enjoying. I don't think I'd paid attention to your Calliandra haematocephala foliage before as I was too busy drooling over the flowers but the foliage is handsome. Great foliage, Kris!

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    1. This year, the Calliandra has had more of an opportunity to flaunt its foliage as my garden service hasn't had time for that in the 20 minutes a week I'm currently getting from them.

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  3. I'm a sucker for these shades and I especially like the Calliandra haematocephala.

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    1. The Calliandra is beautiful but it gets very, very big if not cut back regularly - one untended plant belonging to a friend took over his driveway, which is no longer passable with a car.

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  4. Beautiful aeoniums!
    I had one but it died, I think it got too much water during a particularly wet period here. Lovely to see leaves being the prominent decorator, there are so many if we just look around.

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    1. It's hard for it to get too much water here, Helene!

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  5. The new growth on the Calliandra haematocephala is truly spectacular - just as much as the puff-ball flowers that it produces. When does it normally flower in LA?
    It's a plant that I think is far too tender for my climate, so I'll just have to admire it vicariously through your photos :-)

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    1. The Calliandra is flowering here now, Matt - late winter/early spring.

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  6. The new growth on the Calliandra is very pretty. Seeing your lovely bronze tones made me wonder if I had anything bronze in my garden.. maybe, somewhere, but the first thing that came to mind were the plants that are the 'bronze' of crispy sunburnt death.

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    1. Oh no! I'm well acquainted with that form of bronze color too - we also see it during our summer months.

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  7. It is interesting that new growth is often bronze, roses especially often show this colouration when the leaves first appear. I think it is the plants form of protection for the delicate new foliage which as you say is a lovely as any flower.

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    1. That's true about new growth, Christina. My shrub roses are showing that lovely bronze color now.

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  8. I love it - your Aeonium series is essentially a primer on the effects of light and watering practices for those plants. I tried introducing more of that coveted tone with the introduction of bronze fennel last year (I grow it mostly for butterflies) but it was not happy with the working conditions here. It "quit" abruptly, without even giving notice. Your Aeonium looks to be much more reliable.

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    1. Fennel usually "quits" on me too, Deb. Of course, it might be more "engaged" if I gave it a little water.

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  9. Calliandra's new leaves remind me of the flowers of a shrimp plant. I really like the rich wine and burgundy shades of the succulents.

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