Thursday, April 13, 2017

Focus on the Foliage

This time of year is full of beautiful, fresh foliage!

There's no sign of life from the original Japanese shrub mint, but all of the ones I grew from cuttings (still in pots) are leafing out.  (Note to future self:  This plant doesn't put out new leaves until fairly late in the spring.  Don't give up on it too soon!)

Japanese Shrub Mint 'Gold Angel'
{Leucosceptrum japonicum 'Gold Angel'}

The caladiums I stored in the garage over the winter have come back!  I wasn't sure they would, so this is a happy surprise.  All I did was take them into the garage before the first freezing night.  I left them in their pots and didn't water them until I noticed the first signs of new growth. (It might've been better to have begun watering them a little earlier, but spring came so early this year that it caught me by surprise.)  I'm not sure if that's the best way to do it, but it worked this time.

Based on what I've read, some caladium will survive our winters in-ground, if it's a mild year, but I didn't want to risk it-- plus they were in pots, which makes them more susceptible to the cold. Maybe I'll try some in the ground, this year...

{Caladium ('Candidum'?)}

You may remember that I put the Carex 'Everillo' back in pots after the rabbits were nibbling it?  Rabbits seem not to want to come onto the covered patio, so the grasses are safer in their pots.  'Everillo' has put on a fair bit of growth since then-- very brightly-colored leaves.  I think it will darken as it ages (at least it seemed to do so last year), but it's very pretty at the moment.  Part-sun reportedly helps it hold its brightest color.  I guess I can give it a try.  (One benefit of potted plants: They're very easy to move around until you find the right spot.)

The toad lily on the right edge of the picture below has interesting foliage, too, though I didn't give it its own photo.  If you look closely, you'll see that it is very faintly speckled with darker green spots.  (Speckled leaves!  How very toad-y of it!)

Carex 'Everillo'
{Carex 'Everillo'}

Carex 'Evergold' is lovely, as always... Graceful, elegant, cool... Don't hate her because she's beautiful! ;o)

Carex 'Evergold'
{Carex 'Evergold'}

The new 'Iron Cross' oxalis has very interesting marked leaves-- and sweet little dark pink flowers-- but mine is terribly leggy.  Maybe it needs slightly more sun...

Oxalis 'Iron Cross'
{Oxalis 'Iron Cross'}

The trees that are latest to leaf-out in our garden have begun to do so-- even the ashes and the red oak.  Bald cypress has much more interesting foliage than many conifers, because it is deciduous.  It goes "bald" over the winter, but in spring it is a bright apple-green, and in autumn it turns rusty red.

Bald Cypress
{Bald Cypress spring foliage}

This next plant is one I started last year from seed from Nan Ondra's seed give-away.  Agastache 'Golden Jubilee' has golden-green foliage (which is anise-scented), violet-pink flowers (which attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds), and seeds that goldfinches are said to enjoy.  All this and it's supposed to suffer heat and humidity gladly!  (We'll see.)  It's still tiny, but what a color!

'Golden Jubilee' Agastache
{Agastache 'Golden Jubilee'}
I'd read that fast-draining soil is an absolute must for this plant and that it performs best in full sun, so I planted it in the new Oval Bed, which has both sun and well-drained soil in spades-- but now I'm seeing other reports that it may benefit from some light afternoon shade to protect the foliage.  *sigh*  Isn't that always the way it goes?  Just when you think you've figured something out... I may move just one or two of the clumps to see which perform best, but it's no easy task to find "light afternoon shade" that's not already spoken for-- or doesn't come with morning shade, too.

'Golden Jubilee' Agastache
{Agastache 'Golden Jubilee'}

'Purple Volcano' lyreleaf sage has a habit of reseeding and spreading itself hither and thither, so I may regret helping it along and giving it a foothold in a couple of new parts of the garden, but for the time being, it's not a problem.  (It seems easy to pull up, too.)  I like the rosettes of dark leaves.  The flower spikes aren't hugely ornamental or long-lasting, but they're pretty in a very simple, unobtrusive way.

'Purple Volcano' Lyreleaf Sage
{'Purple Volcano' lyreleaf sage}

The tomatoes (not pictured) are getting along nicely and have started to set fruit.  I planted few 'Sundance' yellow squash today, too.  That's it for edibles, this year-- well, not counting the dark opal basil and mammoth dill I'm trying to start from seed, some onion chives, and this pot of fernleaf dill.

Fernleaf Dill
{fernleaf dill}

I neglected to take a photo of the new Black Diamond crepe myrtles.  One or two of them are having some slight issues-- a touch of powdery mildew, maybe?-- but the others look great.  The foliage really does look very nearly black!

The new leaves on the 'Victor' crepe myrtle are prettily edged in red-- and the very newest ones glow when they catch the light.

'Victor' Crepe Myrtle
{'Victor' crepe myrtle}

The two gingers that are the farthest along are white butterfly ginger (Hedychium coronarium) and the pincushion ginger, with its more textural, corrugated leaves.

Pincushion Ginger Lily
{Hedychium thyrsiforme}

Speaking of texture, you can't beat forsythia sage for tactile interest.  Look at those crinkly leaves!

Forsythia Sage
{Salvia madrensis}

Forsythia Sage
{Salvia madrensis}

The two new dwarf gardenias ('Double Mint') are not doing as well as I'd hoped.  One is in particularly bad shape.  I don't know that there's much to do but wait and see what happens.  At least 'Daisy' is still alright-- and all three are promising flowers:

'Daisy' Gardenia
{'Daisy' gardenia}

I think the one shrub that I'm still waiting to see much from, this year, is the large viburnum.  It's being very slow to put out leaves, and I can't recall if it's always this slow-- but there are tiny starts of flowers, so I think leaves will follow, eventually.