Changing foliage in September GBFD.

The present sunny spell is lasting quite a long time. We had torrential rain last Friday which perked all the plants up, and now we are back to sunny days once more. September so far has been a very warm, sunny month.  I’m not complaining,  but we do need more rain to keep the garden happy. When looking round the garden for foliage to photograph this morning, nothing was jumping out at me, it is too soon for the autumn tints where we live, only one or two plants have started to change, most will be photographed for next month.

Cornus  sibirica Westonbirt

The red stemmed Cornus along the driveway in the front have just started to change colour, only a few leaves at the moment, but the rest will follow soon until they are all a pink/purple colour next month.

Mature Ivy

Mature ivy by the front gate always has wonderful shiny leaves. This bush is favoured by lots of wildlife so is allowed to stay with just a light trim in the spring.


My poor Camellia bush, still in the front,  which was given a short back and sides by the undergardener when he was cutting the hedge, he thought it was laurel, has put out lots of new shoots thank goodness ! I don’t think it is going to have many flowers next year because of its haircut, I found one or two buds this morning, but I think that will be all.

Miscanthus malepartus

I know I’ve shown Miscanthus  malepartus before for the flower spikes, but the arching leaves look lovely at this time of year, before they will turn yellow next month.

Phlomis fruiticosa

Phlomis fruticosa is in the border by the field. I have deadheaded it but left the seedheads behind the plant, on the ground, as I’ve found that ladybirds like to overwinter in the pockets on the seedheads. I think the silver leaves contrast well with the solidago that is flowering behind at the moment.

Pontederia cordata

Taking over the pond, is Pontederia cordata, we really must get in there and sort it out. The leaves contrast with everything around it and show up well, still being bright green.

Pittosporum Tom Thumb

I have shown Pittosporum Tom Thumb before on  a foliage day, but now, with the Physotegia virginiana Vivid flowering in front of the purple foliage, I think they look nice together.

Bamboo golden

The sun shining through the leaves, brings the small bamboo, Pleioblastus viridistriatus,  to life. This needs cutting right down in the spring, otherwise it rampages across the lawn. We know to our cost when one year I forgot to cut it back!


Just the common Pulmonaria, which was cut back after it flowered. They are all now covered with new luscious foliage, which should keep going through the winter.

Cedarand variegated Laurel

A Cedar looking very blue at the moment, next to a variegated Laurel, both in need of cutting back as someone complains whenever he is cutting the grass!

cyclamen hederifolium

Cyclamen hederifolium foliage has now joined all the little flowers. The foliage is so interesting, no two plants have exactly the same pattern on their leaves.

Heuchera Lime Rickey

Most of my Heucheras are looking a bit worse for wear, but H. Lime Rickey in the woodland is still looking very fresh.

Camellia Jury's Yellow

In the woodland, the Camellia leaves are so shiny, brightening the shade in that area. I’m happy to see that there are lots of buds for next spring on this plant.

Choisya ternata

Also with shiny leaves and flowering for the second time is Choisya ternata. Shiny leaves always look good on a dull day, but even better when the sun is shining!

Ophiopogon planiscapus nigrescens

The large patch of Ophiopogon planiscapus nigrescens, just gets better and better. This was planted almost in raw clay, before I knew any better. Bits that I have taken off and planted elsewhere in the garden have never done so well. The little green shoot you can see is a tiny oak tree, it will have to be removed before it gets any bigger.

Aeonium and phormium yellow wave

It is almost time to think about bringing in any pots of plants that aren’t hardy. The Aeonium can stay out maybe a couple more weeks, contrasting with the Phormium Yellow Wave behind it.

Veriegated Yucca

Usually when we have a long hot summer, flower spikes are already showing by mid September. I can’t see any signs of a flower spike yet, but I suppose there is still time. What I must do is tidy up the lower leaves, that is after I have cut the spikes off the ones just above, or I will come in with blood flowing from masses of wounds!

Libertia peregrinans

Libertia peregrinans has sword shaped foliage, an orange/olive green colour. They have white flowers the same as the larger plants. Being very upright sword shapes, the foliage contrasts with everything around it.

There we have it, that is my foliage for this months Foliage day, hosted once more by Christina at My Hesperides Garden, thank you Christina for getting us to go and look at our foliage, to look beyond the flowers and see what is holding the garden together. Do pop over to her site to see  foliage in different parts of the world.

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32 Responses to Changing foliage in September GBFD.

  1. Christina says:

    I Pauline, so I was wrong about your having lots of autumn colour, never mind something to look forward to for next month! thank you for joining in so consistently each month and having such interesting foliage to show us. I love your Aeonium, I should look for one of those, I would have to protect it in a harsh winter too but it looks lovely in a pot so bringing it inside wouldn’t be a problem. when I was driving home earlier today I saw some wonderful ivy just like yours and wondered why I don’t have any!

    • Pauline says:

      I think it will be another month Christina, before we get lots of autumn tints. Tonight is going to be just above freezing so things may start to happen, we don’t normally have a frost until the middle of October, but the greenhouse has been shut this evening just in case.
      Seeing Aeonium growing in the Scilly Isles, permanently planted outdoors, make me realise that mine in a pot is so much smaller than it should be! I like the mature ivy because it is so valuable for the wildlife, once the little flowers open it is heaving with any bees that are around and the birds love the berries which turn black long after all the other berries in the garden have been eaten.

  2. rusty duck says:

    Every year I think I must trim the pulmonaria leaves back and every year don’t get round to it. Looking at yours I can see the benefit. I rather covet your aeonium too. I saw them growing in the ground at Coleton Fishacre which would be lovely but they do need to be in a pot for us lesser mortals. Very tempted to get one! What a great clump of Ophiopogon. Mine is increasing but it seems very slow.

    • Pauline says:

      It is worth it Jessica, if you have time to cut back the pulmonaria, usually mine look so awful after they have flowered, I’m glad to get rid of them! My main plant of Ophiopogon is quite a rug now, probably 4ft by 3ft, new plants come up quite a distance away, these are the ones I move round the garden, but they are never as good as the parent plant which is in pure clay!

  3. Alain says:

    Many things I would like to be able to grow, camellia to start with! Your Aeonium is indeed quite attractive even if it might do better if you could leave it out.

    • Pauline says:

      We are lucky with camellias Alain, we are just acid enough and fortunately winters aren’t too cold here, nothing like yours! Our drainage in the garden wouldn’t suit the Aonium, neither would the frost when it comes. The Scilly Isles that I mentioned are 30 miles west of the most SW corner of the UK and they hardly ever have any frost or snow, the plants we saw there were absolutely magnificent!

  4. pbmgarden says:

    Hi Pauline, your Aeonium is just amazing. Hope your camellia surprises you with lots of blooms, despite a haircut. I pruned mine this summer at the wrong time but had to as it had overgrown toward the neighbor’s drive. Still saw plenty of buds on it today so am optimistic. Your Ophiopogon planiscapus nigrescens is lovely. I have plenty of clay to plant some in, but does it need sun or shade?

    • Pauline says:

      I have always planted the Ophiopogon in the sun Susie, I think it would be lost in the shade, being so dark.
      The camellia in the front was covered with flower buds ready for next year, but someone who shall be nameless cut them off! My other camellias, thank goodness, will make up for it.

  5. Cathy says:

    I love mature ivy, Pauline, although I am currently having to remove some from the (ex) mahonia corner and the back of the new border near the stream. I would not have thought of planting heuchera in shade, and yet they do really suffer in the sun – would you recommend it? It’s interesting that your colour changes haven’t really started – mind you, we have had almost no rain this month whatsoever.

    • Pauline says:

      Normally Cathy, I wage war on all the ivy that we have here, it tries to take over all the flower borders, so is pulled out by the armfull. Once the one by the gate changed into the mature form, it was allowed to stay as the bees and birds find it’s such a good late source of food.
      I have found that Heucheras tend to burn up in the sunshine, they have been much better here if in dappled shade, the purple ones seem to lose some colour in deep shade.
      Maybe our autumn tints will start soon, we have had a couple of rather cool nights which usually start them off. We have only had one wet day this month, sorry but we really need some more!

  6. Tistou says:

    September has been very sunny and warm for us in Estonia too. Thus we are missing autumn colours as well. All the acers, willows and other good foliage plants are turning rather brown and crisp this year. A little cold snap would make the change!

    • Pauline says:

      We are starting to have cooler nights now Tistou, so the colours should begin to change here soon I hope. The garden is still very green with touches of yellow, it is definitely autumn now.

  7. Jane Scorer says:

    Pauline, it all still looks so lovely and perky – what is your secret ? My heucheras are looking sad too, so I take comfort from the fact that they are not alone – I thought it must have been something I was responsible for !!

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you Jane, no secret, just a downpour a couple of days before I took the photos, also I didn’t show any of the collapsing, yellowing foliage! The Heucheras that had any sun on them have gone crispy round the edges, only the ones in the shade have stayed presentable, maybe I should have watered them!

  8. wellywoman says:

    Fantastic foliage. I love the lime green heuchera. I must make a note of that. Just wondering when we’ll get the first frost or whether we’re in for another mild winter?

    • Pauline says:

      We hopefully don’t get our first frost until October 15th Louise, although it was pretty close the other night. I find the paler the Heucheras are, the more shade they need, otherwise they crisp up in the sun, Lime Ricky seems happy in the woodland. I hope we have a proper winter after the last one, when it was too mild and wet, I like to have 4 separate seasons!

  9. Frank says:

    I thought after seeing all your berries that the foliage would also be a colorful show. It is of course, but not the autumn colors I thought I would see. You have so many nice contrasts between different colors and shapes, you really do a nice job with foliage in your garden!
    Just keep avoiding that yucca for as long as you can!

    • Pauline says:

      No colourful foliage yet Frank, maybe by next month. Nights have only just started to be a lot cooler, so this should start forming the colours that appear after the green fades away.
      I will be careful near the Yucca, I’ve been stabbed too many times!

  10. debsgarden says:

    Gorgeous, as always. Our dogwoods, Cornus florida, are the only trees here that have a faint pink blush to hint of coming color changes. I am quite taken by your Phlomis fruticosa in front of the solidago. I have a weakness for silver-leafed plants. By the way, I also have a camellia that was shorn carelessly by my own under gardener. I am still concerned about some of those naked branches, which have yet to put out new growth. This was a magnificent older camellia, and now it is lopsided. Hopefully, it will recover.

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you Deb,the greens are still not changing yet here, too soon for this part of the country.
      “Camellias of the world unite” we will have to start a support group to protect them! I hope your camellia recovers, even though it will mean no flowers for a year.

  11. You have such a huge variety of foliage, silver and green, hairy and shiny, all shapes and sizes, a positive cornucopia! I too rather like that lime green heuchera, and wish my ophiophogon would thrive as much as your main patch, it doesn’t seem to enjoy life in most areas of my garden, but I will persevere, I particularly like it as a contrast to snowdrops and to silvery leaved plants.

    • Pauline says:

      Yes, I’ve planted Ophiopogon round the garden as a contrast Janet, but those plants never do as well as the original, I wonder why? I use it in a vase for contrast if I pick any snowdrops, along with small leaves of Arum italicum marmoratum, they go well together.

  12. You sadly seem to be having lots of issues with insufficient rainfall this gardening year. It is a little dry here at the moment as well. I have been moving a few things around and wish there was a bit more rainfall to help the shifted plants recover. You always have lots of interesting types of foliage to show Pauline. I particularly liked the combination of the Aeonium with the Phormium Yellow Wave. That shiny black Aeonium is incredible.

    • Pauline says:

      Normally Jennifer, we have rather a lot of rain where we live on the SW corner of the UK. All those clouds crossing the Atlantic pick up moisture as they travel and then dump it on us as we are the first bit of land that they reach! Something went wrong this year though and the rain never seemed to arrive. We are now having a few showers which the garden has certainly appreciated, maybe soon I can start moving things too.

  13. Annette says:

    Fabulous selection and a good mix of different textures, colours and shapes. Such a treat to see a garden that has such a huge range. I also spotted a beautiful solidago – is it Dazzler?

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Annette, I do like an assortment of foliage! The solidago was given to me by a friend who told me it was “special, not the ordinary sort” so I’m afraid I don’t know which one it is, but it seems very well behaved! I’ve tried to look it up in the Plant Finder, but there are so many to choose from, I’m no wiser.

  14. Lovely selection of foliage in your interesting post. I had been thinking about cutting back some ivy that has rather taken over a wall, but I think I will leave it until the Spring now so the birds can eat the berries. I also didn’t know about cutting back the Pulmonaria when they have finished flowering- it is now on my list for next spring.
    I love using sword like foliage as a contrast in the border and so was very interested in your Libertia peregrinans. I looked it up and it says ‘suckering’. Is it much of a nuisance to keep in check?

    • Pauline says:

      Annette, I’m so glad you are going to leave your ivy berries for the birds, they take a long time to turn black, but by then the birds have eaten all the red berries elsewhere in the garden.
      Libertia peregrinans has increased but only slowly here, I have moved some to the border opposite but on the whole I think I would say that it is quite well behaved, just spreading slowly in the heavy soil that I have.

  15. Pauline you have so much foliage standing out now…green and shiny and just shifting a bit here and there…you reminded me I need to look for my poor cyclamen as it is buried now as I haven’t cleaned the volunteers and weeds from the beds.

    • Pauline says:

      The garden is getting more golden as the days go by Donna, autumn is certainly with us now. I hope you find your cyclamen, I have been enjoying mine for since the end of July!

  16. I’ve never heard Pulmonaria should be cut back after bloom, will have to give it a try next year. Your Choisya looks especially healthy and beautiful. With our dry summer, I’ve been worried camellia buds would be scarce, but thank goodness we have a gracious plenty.

    • Pauline says:

      I only cut the pulmonaria leaves away Marian, because they look so awful after they have flowered, they seem to be covered in mildew which doesn’t look very nice. The new leaves come through almost straight away and look so much better.
      We too seem to have plenty of camellia and rhododendron buds thank goodness, at one time I thought we might be losing them, so extra watering had to be done.

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