I can imagine that most people will be posting beautiful photos of frost encrusted leaves for this months foliage day, not me however, as we are still waiting for our first frost. I have sown some meconopsis seeds and am waiting for the frost to stratify them before I can bring them into the greenhouse for them to sprout, just as well that gardening teaches us patience! At this time of year it is mainly the evergreens that are making the garden look “furnished” although there are still some deciduous leaves that are looking good enough to be included. One plant that stands out, no matter what the weather, is the Yucca on the raised alpine bed.
Now that Cyclamen hederifolium has stopped flowering, it is their leaves that are forming a beautiful tapestry on the floor of all the shady borders.
No two plants have the same pattern on their leaves, this one is very silvery and has white flowers, the corm is now huge, it is one of the first ones I planted here, over 20 yrs ago.
Milium effusum Aureum has seeded throughout the woodland strip where they look like patches of sunlight on a dull day. I have to keep this plant under control, it is a bit too happy here and would soon take over if allowed!
Ferns usually die down over the winter or soon look untidy with the wind and frost, this year though, there are quite a few still looking presentable. This is Blechnum chilense with quite tough fronds.
The male fern, Dryopteris felixmas, pops up all over the garden and sometimes has to be removed or sometimes I replace it with a more unusual fern, hoping it will like the same conditions.
Adiantum venustum is one of the ferns that usually disappear in the winter, but this winter it is still looking as good as it did in the summer. Very fond of this one, lovely for flower arranging.
Why do some ferns have to have such long names?! This is Polystichum setiferum Plumoso-divisilobum, a lovely fern with quite springy fronds, these will all need cutting off in a couple of months to let the new fronds unfurl. They are so beautiful when the new ones are coming through.
Evergreen hedges earn their keep in the garden, setting off the other plants, here the Choysia is still flowering with the Laurel hedge behind it, which protects us from the westerly winds and from the neighbours!! No, I don’t mean that, we don’t need protecting from the neighbours, they’re lovely!
This is a seedling of our large Euphorbia mellifera which died in last winter’s snow and ice. So far it looks very happy, I’m hoping that it will flower this year so that we can have that beautiful perfume in the garden once more.
One of my favourites, Ophiopogon planiscapus Nigrescens certainly likes it on my heavy clay, when I have moved it to improved soil in the sun, it never seems to do so well.
Various conifers add structure to the garden all year round, most eventually grow too large and have to be removed, but even plants that are bought as “dwarf” can be enjoyed for about 20 yrs before they get the chop!! We brought this one with us from the NW when we moved here, so it must be about 30 yrs old now.
Pittosporum Irene Patterson is a good shrub with a lovely variegated leaf. It is good for clipping, I think mine needs a good haircut, but will wait until spring before giving her a trim.
Not everyones favourite,I know, but variegated Laurel is useful for forming a screen and also for flower arranging. It also brings a bit of sunshine to a shady border, who can argue with that!
Quite a prickly customer, especially when you are weeding round it, protection is needed! Osmanthus heterophyllus is a lovely evergreen shrub which takes kindly to being clipped to shape and helps to screen the huge water butt hiding behind the trellis.
Acanthus mollis is making itself at home in the area round the pond, starting to spread quite a lot so will have to keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t spread too far. Normally the leaves have collapsed into a mess by now, but not this year, they are looking as good as they were in the summer.
Arum italicum subsp.italicum Marmoratum has such beautiful leaves, ideal for flower arranging. The seeds are spread around the garden by the birds that eat the bright orange berries that are formed in the autumn, always welcome, wherever they pop up.
This shrub is Euonymous fortunei Silver Queen which slowly forms a beautiful mound and has white flowers in the summer. We also have a few E. f. Emerald Gaiety which are similar but lower growing, both good for clipping if you need to keep them to a nice shape.
In this dark corner, hiding the wheelie bin, is the hedge of beech and laurel, with a camellia in front, alongside Mahonia Charity. All the foliage contrasts with each other and I think makes a pleasing pattern in what could be a very dull boring spot.
Between the house and the garage is my formal rose garden. Just under the kitchen window is this low hedge of Lonicera. With hindsight I should have planted something that doesn’t grow so quickly, but it never takes long to give it a quick trim. While gardening here we have found numerous Yew seedlings, I could have had a Yew Hedge! The blackbirds love the metallic purple berries that are formed here in the autumn. The golden blobs in the background are Euonymous Emerald and Gold.
Box balls, I love them! They add such structure to the garden in the winter, they take centre stage in the rose garden for about 5 months then have to take a back seat when the roses start frothing over and around them during the summer. These are Buxus sempervirens which, thank goodness, doesn’t seem to get box blight.
Normally we would have had various phormium adding to the winter scene, but having nearly lost them all last winter in the snow and ice, they were all wrapped up in late autumn. Wigwams were made of fleece and netting, padded out with old fern fronds to keep them nice and cosy – they must think they are in a Turkish bath this winter, it has been so mild. We keep getting told that frost is on the way, so you never know, there is time yet for them to be needed!
So there we are, this is most of the foliage which is still looking presentable here in January, much more than usual due to the mild weather. Thank you to Christine for hosting this Garden Bloggers Foliage Day, please go to
to see all the other beautiful foliage in the world.