Foliage for January.

Foliage Day has come round very quickly this month, or so it seems. There is lots of foliage that is looking decidedly tatty, I really must get round to cutting it down, and there are a few plants that shine out because their foliage is still looking fresh and new, even though they have been with us for some time.

Variegated ivy

Just outside the back door is a pot with some variegated ivy in it, it always seems to look nice even though it must lose some old leaves sometime.

Cyclamen hederifolium

Cyclamen hederifolium is making a super weed proof carpet under one of the rhododendrons in the woodland, this is such a lovely sight when flowering during the latter part of the summer. Even in winter though, interest is created by the different leaves making a beautiful pattern.

Cyclamen hederifolium

Across the path is another Cyclamen hederifolium, this time with almost all silver leaves, this one is now seeding everywhere, so hopefully, soon we will have another interesting weed proof carpet.

Cyclamen hederifolium

These cyclamen leaves are so different with a pointed edge all the way round the leaves, there is so much variety in their leaves.

Snakeshead fritillaries

This just looks like a very messy border, but we are still in the woodland and these new shoots are telling me that I will have plenty of Fritillaria meleagris, snakeshead fritillaries, in a matter of about 6/8 weeks!

Helleborus Moonbeam

Helleborus Moonbeam has just got one leaf so far, no flower buds have appeared yet, so I’m hoping that the plant is making lots of nice roots and will soon join in with some flowers.


Most of the ferns have been cut down as they have all turned brown, but this one, I think it is Polypodium Pulcherimum,  at the entrance to the woodland keeps putting out new fronds, it always seems to look very fresh.

Euphorbia mellifera

In the corner of the back garden by a sitting area is Euphorbia mellifera. The books say that this isn’t totally hardy but we have had this one for at least 10 years and it survived the bad winter of 2010/11 when we had snow a foot deep and temperatures down to -7C. The flowers, when they come in April, smell of honey and the perfume travels right across the garden.

Foliage tapestry

At the top of the front drive, forming a screen for the huge Calor Gas tank and the wood store are clockwise from the top left, Leylandii ! (we inherited it and keep it clipped to 7ft) Beech,  Mahonia, Camellia, and one whose name that I have completely forgotten, can anyone help? It is about 4ft high, doesn’t seem to be growing very much, it has variegated leaves and prickles like a holly!


In the border by the field, the leaves of my Cardoon are looking promising.

Acanthus mollis

The foliage of the Acanthus mollis by the pond did collapse when we had some frost, but has now recovered and looks as good as it did in the summer.

Trachelospermum jasminoides

Just one of the uprights on the pergola has an evergreen growing up it. All the others have roses and clematis. This is Trachelospermum jasminoides which has white flowers in the summer  and a perfume to die for!

Box golden

My chinese ginger jar next to Stipa gigantea has lost its golden colour due to the lower light levels, but soon it will be golden again. That unfortunately will be the time to tidy it up by giving it a trim.


A small carex in the bog garden obviously likes all the moisture as it is spreading quite a bit, I think some can be moved elsewhere.

Arum italicum marmoratum

One of my favourite leaves in the garden is Arum italicum marmoratum. The leaves are so beautifully marbled and the birds spread the berries round the garden so we have it popping up in places where I would never think of putting it!

Thanks you Christina at My Hesperides Garden for hosting GBFD once more, do pay her a visit to see which foliage round the world is  looking beautiful at the moment.

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39 Responses to Foliage for January.

  1. Christina says:

    Thank you for joining GBFD so consistently Pauline. Cyclamen hederifolium have gorgeous foliage, don’t they? I think they would be worth growing even if they didn’t flower! Your Trachelospermum jasminoides is looking very healthy, that is supposed to be tender too, but seems to grow despite frost and low temperatures. People here insist on calling it Jasmine and hate it when I correct them! Good that you showed the new shoots of Fritillaria meleagris, foliage can also be the promise of things to come.

    • Pauline says:

      I think Christina, when I planted the Trachelospermum, it was a case of “ignorance is bliss”, I hadn’t realised at the time that it wasn’t fully hardy, but it seems to be enjoying life protected from the north and east winds by a Beech hedge at the side of the field.

  2. Sigrun says:

    Beautiful! Your Helleborus ist not hardy in my garden, my be in other climates in Germany.


    • Pauline says:

      Hellebores don’t like the frost here Sigrun, they flop onto the soil until temperatures rise again, then stand up as if nothing had happened!

  3. Tistou says:

    What an abundance of leaves you have in your garden, Pauline! However, I think I start to appreciate our snowy winters as a complete break from gardening. Otherwise there wouldn’t be a break from constant excitement too, which could lead to ovesatruration. Nonetheless, I’m still excited about your beautful fresh leaves!

    • Pauline says:

      We don’t get much of a break at all Tistou, with it being so mild in this corner of the UK. Sometimes I would like some snow so that I could have a rest and do something else, but other times, it is wonderful to see all the new shoots coming through and know that spring flowers won’t be far behind!

  4. rusty duck says:

    I do like the Arum. The plain green one is everywhere here but that is a cracker. It’s good to see so much green foliage around your garden. And the fritillaries. Soon be Spring.

    • Pauline says:

      We have masses of the plain wild Arum Jessica, I dig out so many each year, but still have too many. I love the leaves of the variegated one and the birds help to spread it round the garden. Each day, the fritillary leaves get a bit longer, it won’t be long now, I’ll have to get my rusty pheasant put in place to guard them before you-know-who starts patrolling the woodland!

  5. Peter/Outlaw says:

    The foliage you’ve shown is delightful! So many of the same plants in your garden are growing here. I’m especially fond of cyclamen, variegated ivy, and arum italicum for their winter interest!

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Peter, some plants really earn their place in the winter garden with their interesting foliage. When everything else is brown and collapsing, I love to see lots of green dotted around.

  6. Anna says:

    Time seems to be disappearing rather quickly Pauline so it does not seem like a month since your last foliage post. The ivy in the top photo is most striking as indeed is that beautifully marked arum. I know it’s a flower but what caught my eye the most is the snowdrop featuring in your attractive new header. I feel that I should recognise the snowdrop but I can’t put a name to it just now. So annoying! Will you be kind and put me out of my misery please?

    • Pauline says:

      I can’t keep up with the passing days and weeks, I seem to always be catching up Anna!
      The snowdrop in the header is G. Robin Hood, it was taken last year, my bulbs of Robin Hood are still pointing upwards but haven’t opened yet this year, maybe another week and they should look like the header photo.

  7. Alain says:

    I am envious of your carpet of cyclamens. They do grow here but not so lustily.

    • Pauline says:

      I must have more ants than you do Alain, they spread the seed around because they like the sugary coating on them. I feel why try to grow the seed myself when I have a little army to do the work for me. Also having the ants means that we have Green Woodpeckers coming to the garden to eat them, so they are never a problem!

  8. snowbird says:

    Ooooh……what an amazing garden you have. I was reading your about section and browsing your posts, I have to admit to being a little green eyed! Maybe one day I will get there. I love the idea that it’s all created with wildlife in mind, and how lovely to have a woodland, a bog and pond and a wildflower bank….such variety. As well as the scouse thing in common, and an obvious love of animals and wildlife, it appears you are an artist too, I paint for a living. Given all that….well…I had to subscribe didn’t I????xxx

    • Pauline says:

      Lovely to hear from you Snowbird, thanks for leaving a message. We certainly do seem to have so much in common, it’s unbelievable!
      The woodland is only small, but the biggest woodland we will ever own, 6 oaks, 6 ash and 4 horse chestnuts! The bog we planted when we discovered we had an underground stream and plants put in by the previous people were all dying.
      I can see that we are going to have plenty to talk about in the future!

  9. pbmgarden says:

    I am impressed with your green patch of Cyclamen hederifolium foliage. The patterned leaves are so striking. Sorry I can’t help you identify the shrub but that grouping looks very nice.

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Susie, the cyclamen foliage does make a lovely pattered carpet and it gets better each year.
      I’ve reached the age when names just vanish, even names of very ordinary plants, it is so very frustrating!

  10. Caro says:

    I hadn’t realised that cyclamen spread like that, very useful! I’ve also got some carex which are doing very well, having been planted last summer and there are signs of bulbs coming up already here as it’s been quite mild. (Not last night though, it was -3C here in N London.) I’ll look out for the smell of Euphorbia mellifera – one of the tenants here left one behind when she moved as it was too big to take to her new garden – A gift I’m very happy to have!

    • Pauline says:

      We must have lots of ants Caro, because it is them that spread the seed! The seeds apparently are coated with a sweet sugary substance that the ants like, they carry the seed away, lick off the sugary coating and drop the seed, leaving it behind. I must have a little army working away for me!
      Lucky you, having a gift of a Euphorbia mellifera, you will love the honey perfume.

  11. catmint says:

    I love foliage, even more than flowers I think. Your variety is very impressive, Pauline. I lust after that Euphorbia, haven’t found a spot for it yet. Yours looks very healthy, and I imagine the honey smell must be fantastic.

    • Pauline says:

      The Euphorbia certainly earns its space in the garden Catmint, even when not flowering, the foliage always looks lovely. The flowers aren’t much to look at, not like other Euphorbias, but the perfume can be smelt 100ft away if the wind is in the right direction!

  12. Chloris says:

    I love the variation in Cyclamen leaves, they are gorgeous. Arum is lovely at this time of the year. I use the leaves to set off snowdrops in a vase. I am very impressed by your topiary skills.
    Your prickly shrub is Osmanthus heterophyllus.

    • Pauline says:

      Yes Chloris, the smaller Arum leaves are just the right size for snowdrops, not that I pick many of them, but a few do come indoors so I can compare different markings on the flowers.
      Thank you so much for identifying my mystery shrub, I have reached the age when names just vanish, people’s as well as plants!

  13. Angie says:

    The variety in the Cyclamen foliage is gorgeous isn’t it. I can’t wait until mine make sizable clumps like yours Pauline.
    Each time I see your Ginger Jar, I am encourage to give this a go. With the grass behind it I think it looks a bit like a headless peacock 🙂 No offence meant btw.
    Great foliage all around your garden – the copper beech surrounded by the greenery is my favourite.

    • Pauline says:

      I can see what you mean, re the ginger jar Angie! The cyclamen leaves always amaze me with such a difference in all the leaves, I don’t think 2 plants have the same patterns.

  14. Cathy says:

    Some lovely foliage on display Pauline, as always. Completely forgot to include cyclamen in my variegated foliage – lovely isn’t it? Your trachelospermum is looking so healthy – I want to move mine but am not sure where to put it yet. Hope your fritilliaries survive unscathed this year – I know how much you look forward to them.

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Cathy, the different patterns on the leaves are so pretty, no 2 the same.
      I shall be on pheasant patrol as soon as I hear him calling, trying to keep the fritillaries from being eaten!

  15. Frank says:

    So nice to see fresh as summer foliage at this time of year, and it’s nice to see the cardoon coming up so healthy after nearly being smothered! I know it’s probably the most common plant but my favorite is that ivy in the first photo 🙂

    • Pauline says:

      I was so pleased that the Cardoon survived Frank, last year it grew so tall and made a lovely vertical in the border, plants certainly want to survive, no matter what we gardeners do to them!
      We have so much common ivy which we pull out by the armful, but I like the variegated one that we have by the back door in a pot. It stays in the pot all year, it’s just the planting round it which gets changed each season.

  16. debsgarden says:

    I was going to identify your shrub, but I see that Chloris has already done so. I have two of these variegated osmanthus in my arbor garden and another in the woodland garden, and I love the way they light up shady spaces. I may find a spot for another.

    The foliage of your Moonbeam hellebore is gorgeous! I would hardly care if it bloomed at all. Your woodland is always an inspiration to me. How I wish I could grow wonderful cyclamen like you have! I don’t see cyclamen around here; I think our summers are too hot. I do have arum, and it is just beginning to grow, after a couple of years of settling in and taking hold.

    • Pauline says:

      I would like the Osmanthus a lot better if it wasn’t so prickly Deb,weeding under it is a nightmare!
      I bought the Hellebore Winter Moonbeam because of it’s lovely foliage, I hope it will put out more leaves in future years, still just one at the moment but I’m hopeful!
      What a shame cyclamen don’t survive for you, they would be lovely in your woodland. Summer heat isn’t a problem here, as long as they can cope with all our rain, then they’re fine.

  17. AnnetteM says:

    Sorry I missed this post when it came out. For some reason WordPress never shows me your posts in my reader. I think I will unfollow and then follow again to see if it behaves better.
    I am really jealous of your cyclamen. I love it, but it does’t last here. Sometimes the leaves come up a second year, but it never flowers. You have lots of lovely greenery but my favourite is the Arum italicum marmoratum. I have added it to my wish list.

    • Pauline says:

      Sorry Annette, that you’re having problems with WordPress, I don’t know what to advise you to do I’m afraid.
      Do you have your cyclamen in too much sun maybe, I’m surprised that they don’t survive for you. I know they like dappled shade and a nice free draining leaf mould type of soil.
      The Arum is one of my favourites too, I started with just one plant, but thanks to the birds spreading the seed, I now have quite a few brightening up shady places.

  18. Hi Pauline, Thanks so much for the hugs you have sent my way.
    The Arum italicum marmoratum foliage really caught my eye. It has such an interesting leaf. The cyclamen also are wonderful with the silvery-grey Cyclamen hederifolium being my favourite of the cyclamen in your post.

    • Pauline says:

      Jennifer, I know what it is like when your dog dies, I feel for you. Jason, our Sheltie, died of Cancer and Gemma, our Retriever cross, died of old age. They so quickly become part of the family and leave such a gap when they go.
      The small Arum italicum leaves are just the right size to accompany any snowdrops that get brought inside and yes, I love the silvery cyclamen, I hope it increases like the others.

  19. Cathy says:

    The Arum foliage in your last photo really is stunning Pauline. I think it’s the shape as much as the colours that caught my eye.

    • Pauline says:

      I really like the Arun italicum Cathy,the birds are attracted to the bright orange berries in the autumn and then deposit the seed under most of my bushes, I never have to do anything to spread it around the garden!

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