January Foliage for GBFD.

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.

C hederifolium

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

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!

Blechnum chilense

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

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!

Euphorbia mellifera

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.

P Irene Patterson

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

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.

A.italicum marmoratum

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.

E.fortunei Silver Queen

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.



This entry was posted in News and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to January Foliage for GBFD.

  1. Pauline,I purchased that arum when I was home in the spring. There was no sign of it popping up when I left Canada in September, but I have my fingers firmly crossed that it will be up and waiting to welcome me home.

    • Pauline says:

      I’m sure your Arum will be waiting for you Deborah, it has such a lovely pattern on the leaves doesn’t it? What I like is that the leaves are small enough to be put in a vase with snowdrops at the moment, then later in the year they can be used in larger arrangements with bigger flowers, as they grow.

  2. Christina says:

    A great post, Pauline. Thank you for joining GBFD, you certainly have lots of wonderful foliage plants which as you say give structure in winter and great background to other flowering plants in summer. I love Cyclamen hederifolium, I have only one spot in the garden that would be shady enough for it, but they grow wild on shady verges and banks so it might be happy. How wonderful to have been gardening in the same place for more than 20 years; seeing a garden mature is such a pleasure. Christina

    • Pauline says:

      I think, if you have shade Christina, then Cyclamen should be happy, they are so welcome, as much for their leaves as their flowers, from late summer through to late spring when C.repandum flowers here. The garden was hard work when we first arrived, just wall to wall grass with a couple of shrubs and about 20 daffodils, I like to think we have improved it over the years!! Each year we tackled a different area, in all, it took us 13 years, now I’m just tweaking my first plantings!

  3. Patience has always been a challenge for me as well but having the seasons distracts me, and I try to enjoy each stage without wishing for the next. Your cyclamen foliage is beautiful–variegated and lush. I have not learned the secret of growing these beauties…that balance of moisture and dryness.

    • Pauline says:

      I think SB, that Cyclamen ere on the side of dryness, too moist and they might rot away. Where I have most of them and where they have seeded themselves is usually under deciduous shrubs, Light in the winter and spring under the shrubs but shade when they need it in the summer and the shrubs will use up any excess moisture that could be a problem. I think the flowers are so lovely as well as the foliage, wouldn’t want to be without them.

  4. catmint says:

    Dear Pauline, one of the amazing things about your garden is the variety – of plants, types of plants and also styles. I think I may be a fern-o-holic but of course as you say we need solid plants like the yucca and box balls to provide structure. The saying on your header – If I knew then what I know now! – has set me thinking. I don’t know the answer – what would you do differently? cheers, catmint

    • Pauline says:

      When we moved here Catmint, I knew nothing about gardening! It has been a steep learning curve for the last 21 yrs and I now realise we were so lucky to find this garden which had so many different possibilities, lots of shade because of all the tall trees on the south side of the house, a permanently boggy area where there is an underground stream and being able to make sunny beds in a few areas. I have had to learn how to deal with these. Would we have bought it if I had already been a keen gardener, most gardeners want a south facing garden with beautiful loam, we got sticky clay that, if I had been a potter, I could have made pots with it! It has meant,however, that yes, there is lots of variety where plants are concerned. plants are put where they will be happy, but I think , over the years, our priorities change. To start with, I wanted one of everything, now I would much rather have drifts of happy plants that the bees, birds and butterflies enjoy along with us!

  5. Goodness, what a magnificent collection of foliage plants you have, all shapes and sizes. I am with you on the length of the names of ferns, hard to spell too. I’ve not had any frosts in my garden either, and all my ferns seem to be in strong growth still, like my own acanthus leaves, which I swear grow larger and more glossy by the day. Beautiful cyclamen leaves, I lost all mine last year, and miss them.

    • Pauline says:

      So sorry to hear that you lost all your Cyclamen, how could that be I wonder, would miss mine dreadfully if that happened.Nice to hear that someone else is still waiting for a first frost, usually arrives here by Oct.15, but not this year!

  6. Enjoyed all the foliage and thinks it’s a wonderful display.

  7. Alberto says:

    Beautiful post, Pauline. Your rose garden is beautiful, I’ve never seen a wide pic of it since I follow your blog, you created a marvelous structure there, I’m looking forward to seeing it in other seasons too.
    Yesterday I took the day off to visit my parents and a nursery which is in their way. I needed 6 plants (shrubs) to form 6 clipping cubes in a new part of the garden. I was in the verge of buying osmanthus heterophyllus (the plaing green one) but then I went for o. borkwoodii which has little and thornless leaves. I thought about lonicera nitida too but then I opted for osmanthus, now that I see your hedge I would think twice though!
    That euphorbia mellifera is beautiful and you reminded me why I never let millium effusum in my garden! 🙂

    • Pauline says:

      Alberto,I always try to deadhead the Milleum before it goes to seed, but I always seem to miss some! Chosing shrubs for clipping is always difficult, permanent structure has to look good all the time, I like the sound of your cubes, they make a nice change from all the box balls that we see everywhere!

Comments are closed.