Foliage for May. GBFD.

Foliage is bursting forth everywhere in the garden, you can almost see the leaves growing, getting larger and larger every day. This first photo though is of a road I drive along most days and the leaves on the beech trees are just so beautiful, I felt that they ought to be included.

West Hill


The first foliage from the garden is from Actinidia kolomikta which has the most gorgeous variegated foliage of green, pink and white. It starts out all green then gradually changes,  first with white blotches, then with pink. It then stays like this all summer.


Here is the climber on the side of the house. For more information about Actinidia, click here, where I wrote about it last year.


A few of the roses  have still got the beautiful red foliage that they put out a while ago. It contrasts so well with everything around it. This one is Shropshire Lad which has a lovely peach coloured flower.


A close up of the leaves shows the intricate serrated edges – just beautiful.


In a more shady part of the garden, an epimedium is showing its stunning foliage, which will end up all green as the months go by.

Lemon balm

Near to it is a plant of lemon balm, Melissa, the golden variety. The leaves make wonderful  flavouring for ice creams, teas, chicken, fish etc.


A very common plant, but so useful, Linaria, seeds itself all over the garden but as it is so wonderful for the bees, the majority are allowed to stay. It is even better when it gets its purple or pink flowers.


Plants should sometimes come with a health warning, this one certainly should, Lysimachia cilata Firecracker. It loves my heavy, damp soil and each year tries to make a take over bid. I have to be firm and pull out what I don’t want, even so, the foliage is rather lovely, contrasting with Euonymous Emerald Gaity next door.

Bog garden

Next is a view of one end of the bog garden which has fern, hosta, iris and astilbe foliage all contrasting with each other. The ferns have never been so tall before, must be all the rain we have had!


Leaves of the Rogersias are pushing through, only small at the moment, but soon they will be making their presence felt in the bog garden.

Krossa Regal

Hostas are growing furiously in various parts of the garden, this is Krossa Regal. The clump is spreading nicely, getting to be huge now that it is quite old.

Minute Man

Another hosta, this time Minute Man in a container round in the gravel garden at the back of the house.

Euphorbia melliferra

Euphorbia mellifera has grown from seed, just as well as the parent plant died a couple of years ago during our very bad winter when we had lots of snow and frost. It only had one flower this year but that was enough to give us the beautiful honey scent wafting round the garden. Even when not in flower, the leaves are interesting by themselves.

Acanthus mollis

Another plant that is making itself at home is Acanthus mollis, it is beginning to spread just a bit too much so will need to be curbed with a spade!


Sambucus Black Lace is now gearing up to its moment of glory. When the pink flowers appear they are set off by these purple leaves and look wonderful together.

I hope you will agree that some plants are just as interesting without their flowers, their foliage is with us for much longer and makes pleasing patterns in the garden. Thanks to Christina for hosting this foliage day, to see more please go to                





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24 Responses to Foliage for May. GBFD.

  1. Firecracker has lovely deep plum leaves, and finely shaped too!

  2. Anna says:

    Everything seems to have taken off here too this week Pauline after what seems like weeks and weeks of suspended animation. There is some glorious colour in your garden – the greens of your bog garden really shine out and I wish I could step into them.

    • Pauline says:

      So hot yesterday working in the garden Anna, it has come so suddenly. The greens of the bog garden feel nice and cool compared to other areas in the garden, they will soon be joined by the colours of the candelabra primulas.

  3. Lyn says:

    Wonderful foliage combinations. It’s lemon balm that is the thug in my garden, so I’m ignoring it, but the rest are lovely!

    • Pauline says:

      Lemon balm Lyn, has a habit of seeding itself everywhere if I don’t manage to cut the flowers off in time, but at least we can eat the enemy and in the shade it looks like patches of sunshine!

  4. Liz says:

    Hi Pauline,

    Lovely Foliage (once again I’ve completely forgotten) in your garden. It’s really weird here for trees; some are out and have been for a long time, others seem to be struggling to get their leaves and it’s so late! Part of my privet hedge barely has any leaves on it at all, and I don’t understand why. Perhaps lack of water for the past few months and then the sudden deluge has upset it???

    Anyway, I hope the weather is treating you well now. Predicted 26 here and thankfully I have the day off! Yay. Too hot for me to sit outside now, so I’m hiding indoors for a little while 🙂

    • Pauline says:

      It is so hot today Liz, having to work in the shade, can’t stand the heat I’m afraid ! Feel awful saying that after all the cold weather we have been having, but it has come so suddenly. No wonder the shady parts in my garden look so much better than the sunny bits, will have to get up about 6am to weed them before the sun gets too hot!!

  5. Alberto says:

    Hi Pauline, love your ferns, they’re huge and so green! I bought that lysimachia too a few weeks ago, and I haven’t planted it yet, there’s no such damp place in my garden to place it! As it seems to be so tough I might just plant it and it will do the rest, what do you think?

    • Pauline says:

      Alberto, I think the ferns are so tall because we had such a wet month in April!! The Lysimachia does tend to flop if there isn’t enough moisture in the soil but, the more moisture there is, the more it spreads. Hope yours behaves itself, take a chance, maybe in semi shade, always best to have a go!

  6. wellywoman says:

    Pauline, some great foliage there. I love the Krossa regal hosta. This is my favourite time of the year when the foliage is so fresh. I was looking at the trees on my way into town today. That freshness is quite fleeting as well, by mid June everything will mellow as summer progresses. So it’s good that we’ve finally got some great weather so we can all appreciate Spring/Summer at last.

    • Pauline says:

      So lovely to see the sun WW, must make the most of it and catch up with all the jobs that need doing in the garden. Like you, this is my favourite time of year when all the foliage is so fresh and full of promise. My Krossa regal hosta is getting to be quite huge now, must be over 12 yrs old, and gets better each year. The blackbirds are always rooting through the mulch round it, the slugs don’t stand a chance!

  7. Pauline, I do agree that foliage is as important as flowers. It is in the garden for the long haul. I have never seen Actinidia kolomikta before and think it has really interesting color. I have Lysimachia cilata Firecracker as well. It really does like to wander!! I have though about yanking it out altogether, but whenever those burgundy leaves come into view, I procrastinate.

    • Pauline says:

      Jennifer, I feel the same with regards to Lysymachia, would love to tear it all out, but then give way when it looks so good with the plants around it, just wish it would stop spreading! The Actinidia is now a lot more pink in just the few days since the photo was taken, maybe it’s the sunshine that makes it turn colour.

  8. as usual lots of lovely foliage in your garden Pauline, Frances

  9. Christina says:

    Hi Pauline, thanks for joining in again this month. Sorry I’ve been so long leaving a comment, I’ve been visiting the UK and the chelsea flower show, more anon. i used to have Lysimachia cilata Firecracker that a friend gave me, but it never looked as good as yours and it needed so much irrigation I eventually pulled it out, too needy a plant for me. Your foliage is all looking lovely. Christina

    • Pauline says:

      Christina, I’ve been watching it on TV, maybe I saw you!! Hope you enjoyed our hot weather, I am just wilting in all this heat! I can understand that Firecracker wouldn’t like your well drained soil, I never have to water it here!

  10. debsgarden says:

    Wonderful foliage! I really like your bog garden combination. I was warned about the invasive nature of ancanthus mollis, so I planted it in the worst soil, hard packed clay and full of tree roots. It survived, barely, and this year is finally growing well. No doubt, under the soil it’s roots are finding their own way to prosperity.

    • Pauline says:

      Good for you Deb, managing to curb Acanthus mollis, I thought I had until this year when it has suddenly taken off and I’m now wondering where it will come up next! The bog garden and its ajoining area is one of my favourite places in the garden, everything always looks so lush, thanks to the underground stream, even in a drought.

  11. catmint says:

    If I had to choose between foliage and flowers (which would be terrible) I’d definitely choose foliage. I was looking at your photos and wondering why foliage was never blue, but actually the hosta leaves have a blue tinge, unless it is just the light in the photo?

    • Pauline says:

      I’m with you there Catmint, definitely a foliage lover! The hosta, Krossa regal is even more blue than it appears in the photo. It is a glaucous covering to the leaves, which can come off if they are handled too much. Quite a lot of the hostas have this same covering which is rather nice and contrasts with others round them.

  12. What a lovely post Pauline, some beautiful shots of leaves, and I love your bog garden, great contrast in textures. I have a green leaved version of Lysimachia and have similar problems with it attempting to take over, but such a lovely plant…

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you Janet, the bog garden has lots of contrasts at the moment, and the leaves are all so huge, thanks to all the rain we had at the beginning of May. I find other Lysimachias have better manners than Firecracker, but even if it came with a warning, would we take any notice when the leaf is so beautiful!!

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