My love for flowers is well-documented. Nevertheless, I value my foliage plants as well. I've a substantial collection of plants grown specifically for their foliage. However, with the recent and somewhat unexpected appearance of masses of flowers on my Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt', I was struck by the number of foliage plants that offer attractive flowers as well.
I started looking at other foliage plants that offer floral "benefits" even if only briefly. I've listed some that came to mind below. (Note: most of the floral shots were pulled from my photo archives as the majority of the plants shown here bloom in warmer weather.)
|I have several Abelia 'Kaleidoscope' shrubs, as well as other Abelias. All of them produce small, bell-shaped white blooms that manage to accent the foliage without overwhelming it.|
|I've 6 Agonis flexuosa (aka peppermint willows), all inherited with the garden. In summer they produce long, trailing stems studded with white flowers. As an aside, the foliage stems are a favorite of the local crows when building their nests.|
|I don't actually like most succulent flowers. Crassula multicava 'Red' (aka royal carpet jade and fairy crassula) is an exception, even when the dainty pink and white flower sprays sprawl over surrounding succulents.|
|It's easy to forget that Hebe 'Purple Shamrock' blooms. I frequently use the foliage in flower arrangements but I rarely remember to photograph the flowers.|
|There's a Laurus nobilis (bay laurel) hedge separating our property from the neighbor's along our back slope (also inherited with the garden). I didn't even notice that it blooms in late winter-early spring until a couple of years ago.|
|I planted 2 Leptospermum 'Copper Glow' shrubs in our front garden in 2014 after we'd removed our front lawn. They're near the top of my list of favorite plants. The sprays of flowers they produce in summer are simply a bonus.|
|This hedge of Laurus ilicifolia (aka Catalina cherry) on the south side of our property line also came with the garden. Its flowers are attractive, as are its berries, although the latter are messy, prone to self-seeding, and loved by rats.|
I've misgivings about some blooms on foliage plants, most notably those borne by agaves. Most agaves are monocarpic and therefore die after flowering. Yes, they often produce pups and/or bulbils as a byproduct of the process but it usually takes years before those grow large enough to make anything near the statement their parents did.
Best wishes for a pleasant weekend, free of any weather-related drama. It looks as though we have at least a short dry spell ahead of us here, for which I'm grateful.
All material © 2012-2023 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party
A good list of fine plants there! The Agonis is very graceful and the Arbutus has the bark and flowers making for overall beauty. Abelias around here are sheared into balls or cubes and never get to flower. Sigh.ReplyDelete
Always tempted to try another Agonis 'After Dark'--mine the main trunk split into two all the way to the base.
The gardeners do shear our large Abelia "Edward Goucher' although they seem to know well enough to back off mid-year to allow it to bloom. (It's next to the front hedge so they hack both at the same time.) Fortunately, they never shear the Abelias with more decorative foliage.Delete
I tried 'Cousin Itt' a few years ago when it came through our garden center. Of course it isn't hardy here. The strawberry tree is one of my favorites but unfortunately the snows have taken a toll and the whole center of it is broken out. We have some 'Marina" ones on single trunks and I'm contemplating trying one. I have to have at least one! Just curious - how often do you trim the laurel?ReplyDelete
The gardeners shear the bay laurel on the back slope about 3 times a year. If they don't trim it back enough, my neighbor complains ;)Delete
I knew lomandra wasn't a grass, but it still shocked me last summer when I saw it's bloom. So glad you included agaves on the list. They're the ultimate "foliage" plant that then surprises you with a bloom.ReplyDelete
I can't claim I'm very happy when one of the agaves blooms, Loree (much less 3 at once!), but it's interesting to watch their progression.Delete
I can't believe that out of all your gorgeous foliage plants, there are none I know or could probably grow. I have a few where I actually cut the blooms off as I find them a distraction.ReplyDelete
I consider most succulent flowers distracting, Linda. Even the flowers that are attractive interfere with the plants' sculptural appeal.Delete
So true about the beauty of flowers on "foliage" plants. You've shared some great examples. I agree with you and Linda about some of the blooms being distractions on beautiful foliage. With some of them I cut them for arrangements or leave them until they fade, and then cut them off.ReplyDelete
We all channel Morticia Addams sometimes it seems ;)Delete
Your Melianthus major is gorgeous! It grows in the PNW: I see it occasionally in other people's gardens on my walks, though this may be the first time I see a bloom. Impressive and unexpected color.ReplyDelete
Sea squil, not unlike Fox tail lily, loved but unattainable.
Your (6) peppermint willows and (4) strawberries trees... all are magnificent. A little sigh of little envy escapes me. They indicates quite a large garden, Kris. A lot of love and hard work on your part to keep it going and looking so beautiful.
The property's a little over 1/2 an acre, large by the standards of Los Angeles County but well short of the 2 acres I once wanted, Chavli. What was I thinking?! I only just manage to take care of what I have now.Delete
Beautiful! The front garden would make me stop and stare.ReplyDelete
Your Acacia 'Cousin Itt' has always been in a league of its own! And the flowers! I've never been flowers on 'Cousin Itt'. I removed mine a few weeks ago; it has simply gotten too unwieldy for its spot.ReplyDelete
They DO spread out! It may be that my 'Cousin Itts' have just reached maturity, or the rain that prompted all this years blooms - or a combination of those factors. They're still coming!Delete
Your Arbutus 'Marina' is lovely. I've admired your Leptospermum for a long time--interesting to see it in flower.ReplyDelete
I count myself very lucky to have inherited great trees, like the Arbutus, with the garden, Susie.Delete
Hello from Berkeley, CA! Searching for wishlist plant images has brought me to your blog so many times, and I’m always thankful for your many images and insights. I was inspired to write because a few of my Cousin Itts have also burst into flower this year. They’re about 8 years old, and I had only seen bits of flowering last year.ReplyDelete
Anyway, thanks for sharing your gardening adventures! -HCS
Thanks HCS. 'Cousin Itt's" blooms are further proof that rain has magical properties ;)Delete