Friday, May 17, 2019

It's not all about the flowers

My May Bloom Day post was a little over the top, even for me.  I took my camera outside to seek out foliage stars that could compete with all the flowers currently dominating my garden.  While it was difficult to snap photos without flowers photo-bombing the shots, I captured a number of foliage shots worthy of recognition.

Acacia 'Cousin Itt' frequently features in my foliage focused posts but on this occasion it's the contrast between its feathery texture and the smooth leaves of succulents I want to highlight.

Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt' mingles here with Aeonium arboreum and Aeonium haworthii 'Kiwi'

'Cousin Itt' is cozying up to Agave ovatifolia 'Vanzie' here


Japanese maples aren't easy to grow in my windy location with its searing hot summer temperatures but I've got three specimens in protected locations that are doing relatively well, at least so far.

Acer palmatum 'Mikawa Yatsubusa', a dwarf variety, still small although I've had it for more than 5 years

Acer shirasawanum 'Aureum', acquired earlier this year, is showing why it's called the Golden Full Moon Maple

Acer palmatum 'Sango Kaku', my oldest specimen, purchased as a small stick 8 years ago


Some of my best foliage shots are anchored by succulents.

These 3 Agave desmettiana 'Variegata' were planted several years ago as pups of one of the 2 plants currently in flower in my street-side succulent bed

Mangave 'Kaleidoscope' with more Aeoniums, as well as Crassula pubescens, which is preparing to bloom


Some foliage is showing off with red new growth.

Agonis flexuosa 'Nana'

Calliandra haematocephala, which I appreciate more for its foliage than the powder puff red flowers it's know for


Grasses and grass-like plants are also prominent features of my garden.

I've used grass-like Lomandra longifolia 'Breeze' in areas throughout my garden.  Here it's accented by the variegated foliage of Abelia grandiflora 'Kaleidoscope' (and, yes, some photo-bombing flowers).
 
I've used Seslaria 'Greenlee's Hybrid' as an edging material here and elsewhere in my garden

Stipa tenuissima (aka Mexican feather grass) is another grass I've used extensively.  It gets very fluffy when it's full of seed heads.  I'm in the process of combing them out before the seedlings take over but I haven't gotten to these plants yet.


Those are some of the foliage highlights in my garden this May.  They're not as flashy as the flowers perhaps but they're just as important.

Best wishes for a pleasant weekend.  We've got a good chance of rain on Sunday here, which is utterly remarkable, especially as we also had rain earlier this week.  Fingers are crossed that you get whatever weather you're hoping for too.


All material © 2012-2019 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

24 comments:

  1. Oh, that Cousin Itt. I've killed it couple times. It looks so fantastic in your setting. I need to find a reasonable facsimile that is not as likely to die up here in PDX. And Stepa tenuissima, always gorgeous. Fun post. Cheers

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    1. 'Cousin Itt' has a reputation for croaking even here, Patricia, but thus far I've lost only one and currently have seven healthy specimens. The Stipa would take over if I didn't keep a close eye on it.

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  2. You do have some wonderful foliage plants, thanks for sharing them. I'm hoping for a bit of rain on the weekend, just enough to keep the plants happy. But also, if there's a window of opportunity for me to go out and weed for a few hours, that would be nice.

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    1. Don't you wish you lived in the Camelot Guinevere (Vanessa Redgrave) sang of where it rained only overnight? Weather Underground is predicting 100% chance of rain in our area tonight so it better come through!

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  3. The juxtaposition of Cousin Itt with the Aeoniums is striking. I so envy your ability to grow aeoniums in the garden. Here they are relegated to pots so never achieve such a spectacular display. As always your garden is lovely.

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    1. Thanks L2G! I'm lucky to have the perfect climate for Aeoniums.

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  4. Such nice textures throughout your garden. I really love the Stipa grasses and the stone walk covered with creeping thyme as it goes past the lath house. The Aeoniums are wonderful!
    Sadly my Acer palmatum 'Sango Kaku' seems to have developed canker. I noticed less foliage last year and this year the coverage is sparse. I've had it many years (maybe 10?) and it is 12' tall. I love that tree, and will be sad to see it go.

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    1. I'm sorry to hear about your 'Sango Kaku', Eliza. I'd be devastated to lose mine too.

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  5. How lush your garden looks after your bonus rainfalls. But it's hard to believe that you might not be producing another gorgeous vase of color next Monday. Or will you be changing to a more green palette. I find the green is easier on the eye and far less work. At least at my house. But of course all this depends on rainfall too. Once a week would be perfection.

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    1. Oh, there are still way to many flowers clamoring for their moment in the sun - or rather, vase - for me to fall back on foliage arrangements at this point in the year, Jenny. The first Delphiniums (which I discovered just last year I can grow as annuals provided I lavish them with water in my cutting garden), Agapanthus, and Renga lilies (Arthropodium cirratum) are only now stepping on the stage. I'll fall back on succulent arrangements by late summer, though - you can depend on that.

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  6. I outright giggled at "flowers photo bombing". Your succulent collections are so amazing. I love that Mexican Feather Grass too. I would have it everywhere if it grew here. We are expecting rain here tomorrow. It has been so windy my new banana tree is getting beat to smitherenes.

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    1. The Mexican feather grass would be everywhere here if I ignored its seedy ways, Lisa. It's now considered invasive in parts of California and I probably wouldn't plant it if I had it to do over again. You can't beat the way it waves in the wind, though. In your climate, I expect the cold winters would keep it under control and possibly require you to treat it as an annual.

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  7. This year the foliage looks great everywhere, though your 'Cousin Itt's are a standout. That 'Golden Full Moon' maple has striking foliage as well.

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    1. I read Sunset's entry on the Acer shirasawanum after I brought it home. Unlike Acer palmatum, it's not considered suitable for my Sunset zone 23/24 but it's doing okay so far. Fingers crossed.

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  8. I’ve finally stopped even trying to keep an Acacia 'Cousin Itt' alive (in a pot, only for the season, it doesn’t matter). I do enjoyed y seeing yours though...

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    1. Too much rain for 'Cousin Itt' up your way perhaps, Loree. Maybe he doesn't like getting his hair wet.

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  9. A wonderful use of foliage as I would expect from you. I particularly love all your succulents.

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    1. You can't fail with succulents here, Chloris!

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  10. It's too easy to let flowers take over our consciousness when it comes to filling in a border. Other than hostas (which I LOVE and have purchased almost a dozen different varieties in my shopping spree) and succulents, I have to purposefully seek out more foliage plants to fill in the gaps. Even though we live in such different climates, you've given me some ideas with your use of grasses :)

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    1. I had no grass of any kind in my former tiny garden but I've really enjoyed its impact in my current, much larger space. Grasses add movement that few other plants can match.

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  11. there is hope for my Japanese maple. I feel as if it has barely grown since we moved - doesn't like the wind I guess.

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    1. I lost one Japanese maple I planted in a natural wind tunnel area, Diana. They seem to struggle with both high winds and extreme summer temperatures here. Placing mine in areas buffered from both by either walls or hedges seems to have helped.

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  12. Hi Kris, I'm a retired horticulturalist (Hoyt Arboretum and Oregon State University Horticulture) up here in Portland, Oregon. I'm going to be in Los Angeles visiting my sister, Thursday PM, through Sunday AM, May 30 - June 2. Would it be possible to come by a see your garden. Loree Bohl and Lance Wright, both bloggers up here, are fellow partners in horticultural crime. Thank you Kris, I appreciate it! Steve Morgan ceanothus1@comcast.net.

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    1. Thanks for contacting me, Steve. I sent you a note. Let me know if you don't receive it.

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