June Foliage for GBFD.

As well as all the beautiful flowers that are out at the moment, the foliage just gets better and better . Not just evergreens, golds and silvers, but there are purples, bronze, peach and lots of shades in between. Texture and shape of foliage also contributes to the tapestry effect, sometimes I feel that flowers are a bonus when the foliage is outstanding. This first photo is of the new foliage growth on one of the rhododendrons, so colourful, who would mind if it never flowered!



Such a lovely bronze leaf  on Rodgersia aesculifolia, these turn green later in the year, but for the first few months after they have emerged from the soil in the spring, they contrast with everything round them in the bog garden.

Hosta Halcyon

Hosta Halcyon makes me smile every time I walk past it, I don’t know why!  The leaves are so perfect and such a beautiful colour, it is obviously a happy plant as it is spreading nicely.

Actinidia kolomicta

Growing up the corner of the house at the back, is Actinidia kolomikta, a cousin of the kiwi fruit. The leaves emerge all green, then splashes of white appear, along with pink. The white eventually turns pink,

Actinidia kolomikta

then this is how it stays for the rest of the summer, pink and green.

Alchemilla mollis

The ubiquitous Alchemilla mollis, we all have it I’m sure, soon to be flowering, but in the meantime the foliage forms a good ground cover.


My, how my Cardoon has grown, do you remember last year, I discovered a pathetic little plant that had been almost obliterated by a conifer, the conifer was cut right back and the cardoon has flourished. It is now putting up a flower bud, the books say to keep the foliage looking good, to cut the flower spike off, but I love to see the bumble bees wallowing in all the purple pollen.

Pond area

A view across the pond area with just a few iris in flower, the rest is foliage of contrasting colours, shapes and textures. Starting at the front left and going clockwise is crocosmia, Bowles golden sedge,Miscanthus sinensis variegatus, hosta, fern, inula  and variegated Iris pseudocorus. In the pond are Iris laevigata Variegata and Lysichiton.

Crocosmia Lucifer

By the gate into the pond area is the foliage of Crocosmia Lucifer, soon he will be drawing attention to himself with his bright red flowers, but in the meantime the sword shaped leaves stand to attention and remind us of what is to come in a couple of weeks.

Bog garden

The left hand corner of the bog garden has hostas, ferns, primula, iris, astilbe and alchemilla mollis, all mostly green but all different.

Bog, right hand end

The right hand end has astilbe, ferns and Hosta halcyon.

Heuchera marmalade

Moving further round the garden Heuchera Marmalade contrasts with the foliage of foxgloves behind. This heuchera is responsible for me starting to call this part of the garden, the sunset border, more peach, apricot, yellow and salmon coloured flowers are being planted here, which does actually catch the evening sunlight.

Brunnera Jack Frost

Brunnera Jack Frost lightens the shade in a dark corner. Seedlings are now being found round the parent plant and are now big enough to be moved elsewhere.
Darmeria peltata

In the border behind the alpine scree ( which used to be the old pond), the previous people who lived here, planted Peltiphyllum peltatum. I have tried to move it to the bog garden but the roots are so big and tough, like an elephant’s trunk. I have had to give up and leave it where it is, here it is joined by pheasant’s tail grass which seeds around in this area.

Erica, tree heath

At the back of the same border, we inherited a large tree heath, Erica arboria, which was growing too tall. Thankfully they respond to hard pruning, and we now keep it to about 5ft tall, the new growth is a lovely bright green and stays like this all year.

Acer osakazuki

The new growth on Acer Osakazuki is the same bright red the leaves will become in the autumn.

Hosta Sagae

Hosta Sagae is in the back border by the woodland and here has borrowed some flowers from a white Dicentra.

Back garden corner

In the corner of the back garden we do have the occasional flower but most of the interest comes from the contrasting foliage of the shrubs that are there. The shrubs are, from the right, Seneccio, Euonymous, Cotinus, Rosa glauca, Choisya, Laurel and Rhododendron.

Elymus and Libertia.

Such a lovely coloured blue for this grass, Leymus, which I keep in a pot as I’m not sure how much it would spread if allowed free reign in the border. Behind is a form of Libertia, but I have forgotten which one I’m afraid.

Hosta sieboldiana

Hosta sieboldiana by the front door is now growing into a huge clump which is under planted with snowdrops for interest in the winter.

Acanthus mollis

Acanthus mollis, back by the pond, has huge, wonderfully architechtural leaves, but the other day when our temperatures reach 26C, they flopped in all the heat! Thank goodness, the next day they were bright and perky once more in the drizzle!

Rhododendron yakushimanum

Rhododendron yakushimanum decided not to flower this year, goodness knows why, when all the others flowered so beautifully. Instead, it decided to put out lots of new white felt covered foliage, this white covering eventually washes of in the rain, when they return to their normal green.

Heuchera and tatting fern

Some new planting behind the alpine scree, they have a bit of growing to do. There were quite a few  Dryopteris, the male fern which had put themselves here, so I thought, what suits one fern will hopefully suit something a little more interesting. Joining the Heuchera Ginger Peach are two japanese painted ferns, Athyrium niponicum Pictum and one tatting fern, Athyrium  Frizelliae, they will all look a bit better in a few years time.

Heuchera Lime Marmalade

Heuchera Lime Marmalade is another new plant which I think will go well with the pheasant tail grass beside it.

Sambucus Black Lace

Not a good photo I’m afraid, dare I say, too much sunshine! The leaves of Sambucus  Black Lace are such a dark purple, they form a nice contrast when the flowers open, which they are doing at the moment, to give us that wonderful perfume.

Hosta Halcyon and fern

I couldn’t finish without another look at Hosta Halcyon with the fern, Matteuccia struthiopteris, behind. At one time my path through the wide border came to the right of the hosta. Over the years the hosta has spread and is now almost 6ft wide, so a couple of years ago, I decided I couldn’t disturb the hosta, therefore moved the path further to the left!

I hope you have enjoyed walking through the garden with me, thanks must go to Christina at My Hesperides Garden, for hosting foliage day once more and encouraging us to realise how wonderful foliage can be without flowers to distract us.


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34 Responses to June Foliage for GBFD.

  1. Christina says:

    My jaw was dropping at some of your images Pauline! Difficult to pick out my favourites but the view across the pond is stunning. Your Hostas are beautiful, strangely mine are not so good this year, I would have thought after the rain they would have been very good this year. I think the Libertia is ‘peligrans’, I had to have it too after seeing it at Wisely. The Heuchera colours are amazing too! Christina

    • Pauline says:

      Many thanks Christina for identifying my libertia for me, I couldn’t find it in any of my books, I too saw it and bought it at Wisley! I think I’m only just beginning to appreciate the new colours that are being bred into heucheras, they do give a nice splash of colour in semi shade for such a long time, must buy more!

  2. Cathy says:

    Some lovely contrasting foliage Pauline! I particularly like the Actinidia kolomicta – very attractive leaves. Your temperate climate is ideal for all those lush leafy plants!

    • Pauline says:

      Yes Cathy, this is the plus side of all our rain! The Actinidia does have flowers, very small white ones which are held underneath the foliage so you never see them, it’s just as well the foliage is so eye catching.

  3. rusty duck says:

    Your hostas are looking really good – how do you keep the slugs off them? I love heucheras too, but they don’t seem to do well with me for some reason. And I do like the blue grass. Great photos Pauline.

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Jessica, the hostas manage to remain without holes for most of the summer, thanks to all the blackbirds, thrushes and a hedgehog that patrol the garden for me, I have them well trained! I’m gradually getting more heucheras in the garden as they make a lovely splash of colour in the shade, thank goodness they seem to like it here.

  4. Liz says:

    Hi Pauline,

    Lovely foliage, your Hostas are looking good – mine are surviving well too!

    I’m surprised your Lady’s Mantle isn’t yet in bloom, but I’m looking forward to photos once it does.

    • Pauline says:

      Hello Liz, no , still no flowers on any of the Alchemilla, maybe another week. All my birds and hedgehog are looking after my hostas, its worth all the food I put out for them each day!

  5. pbmgarden says:

    Everything looks so well-placed and happy Pauline. The hosta/fern combination is very nice. Rhododendrons grow here but do better toward our mountain areas where it is a bit cooler, so I’m more familiar with azaleas. Never realized how beautiful and colorful the Rhododendron foliage is. Susie

    • Pauline says:

      Hi Susie, I too was surprised by the colourful new shoots on the rhododendrons this year, I haven’t noticed them quite so much before. I do like to put hostas and ferns together, their foliage look so well together and there are so many different combinations.

  6. Angie says:

    We have a similar taste in foliage – I have many of the plants you have and at similar stages. What a foliage fantastic blog! Funny you should say about your Hosta Halcyon – mine’s has a similar effect on me!
    Your Actinidia is superb. I fell in love with this earlier this week at a GC I was visiting – they have huge specimen growing. Unfortunately none in stock! Managed to source one locally but didn’t manage to get up to the nursery to collect it today!

    • Pauline says:

      Angie, I’ve been a foliage fanatic since reading Beth Chatto’s book “The Green Tapestry”. The Actinidia does need pruning back a bit each year, it can be a bit vigorous, but it is worth it for it’s wonderful foliage. I’ve just found another which stays green and white all summer!

  7. Cathy says:

    Such lovely photos, Pauline – I felt quite frustrated looking at my foliage but not having a ‘proper’ camera to capture them, and this GBFD is such a good discipline for making sure we observe foliage as well as flowers. As you say the leaf form and colour and texture are so different – a rich tapestry indeed. Thanks for sharing and letting us enjoy your tapestry

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Cathy, I have always thought foliage was important when planning a border, as we have its company for a good 6 months. I have found Beth Chatto’s books inspiring, she is a master at plant combinations.

  8. Tim says:

    Lovely photographs of a lovely garden. Thank you for sharing them.

  9. Anna says:

    Oh so now I see where your recent purchases have been planted Pauline – they compliment each other so well. Some really fabulous foliage – I most taken with the metallic sheen on your Rodgersia aesculifolia although it’s a shame that they turn later in the year. Have noticed my ‘Jack Frost’ gently seeding itself about too but it’s not a problem.

    • Pauline says:

      The new plants Anna, have certainly brought some much needed colour to the bed behind the alpine scree and should last for about 6 months, with spring bulbs planted between them that should mean 9 months of interest! One of my Jack Frost seedlings is different from the others. dark green with silver spots round the edge, I think there is a Brunnera like this, must find out its name.

  10. kininvie says:

    Hello Pauline; That’s a great hosta – the Halcyon. Normally I don’t pay a lot of attention to hostas, but that’s a beaut!

  11. Gitte says:

    What a wonderful post. You have so many wonderful plants, and you´re quite right, the foliage is a huge part of the garden. Your hostas are also looking good still without snail holes 🙂 I have a good deal of the same plants as you, and also love the rodgersia, the alchemiila mollis, the heuchera, hostas, and all the others.
    Thank you for the beautiful photos.

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you Gitte, having so much shade, foliage has always been important when planning the garden. We have so many birds in the garden, the snails and slugs don’t stand a chance, so the hostas stay almost hole free all summer!

  12. Wendy says:

    Lovely photographs of the different foliage in your garden. You do have such a range of colour and shape. I love the area around your pond and the sunset border sounds beautiful.

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you Wendy, everything grows so big around the pond Last year it was flooded so many times with all the rain, I think this has made everything grow so much bigger this year. I find it much easier to plant up a border if it has a theme, so the sunset colours will be a help in choosing plants for the area that I am re-doing, mind you, sunsets have all sorts of colours in them!

  13. Lyn says:

    Pauline, all your foliage groups are wonderful, but I especially loved the shrubs in the back corner. I am trying to think how to fill the gaps in my shrubbery at the moment and you have given me some ideas – I hadn’t considered Euonymous with Cotinus, but they look great with the silvery shrubs on each side to lighten the contrast.

    • Pauline says:

      Hi Lyn, I’m so glad you like the shrubs in the corner, they give colour for such a long time and then pots of bulbs ( usually lilies) are dropped in when I need more colour. The Euonymous will grow taller and not stay as a small shrub if it is grown against a wall or hedge, it has now got to the stage where it needs pruning once a year.

  14. annie_h says:

    What a range of different foliage, I was most fascinated by the new growth on the rhododendrons, they were very different, one bright pink and the other furry, really interesting.

    • Pauline says:

      The foliage of Rhododendrons Annie, varies quite a lot while the growth is still young, although they all seem to end up the same dark green when the leaves are older. I think interesting foliage keeps the interest going in a border especially when flowers are in short supply.

  15. Pauline, I’m jealous, how have your Hostas remained so nibble free?! Mine were ruined by slugs and snails as soon as their leaves appeared.

    You have some gorgeous planting combinations, and I love that Actinidia kolomikta with it’s pink/green leaves. It looks quite a big plant, but I will investigate one for my garden as it’s gorgeous.

    • Pauline says:

      Paula, I feed my birds all year round so that they will stay in the garden. Mrs Blackbird is always beside us when we are weeding, pouncing on any slugs and if we’re not weeding, she wants to know why we’re not turning the soil over for her! We also have a family of thrushes who are excellent at finding the snails, we find their broken shells by large stones dotted around. Also in my army of slug and snail busters is a hedgehog, I saw him the other night when I was coming home from a meeting, he is always leaving his calling card everywhere!
      The Actinidia does grow quite tall, mine is about 10 tall, but I have it trained to some trellis.

  16. Alberto says:

    Pauline, no doubt you have the best leaves ‘in town’, I’m always so impressed on the variety you garden has to offer. The bog garden is looking particularly good and that gate is stunning, I’ve never seen it before, did you carve it yourself?

    • Pauline says:

      Hello Alberto, thank you for the lovely compliment! I have just done a post about the bog garden where the flowers are the stars instead of the foliage, with it always being damp, the foliage stays good all summer, thank goodness.
      Yes, I did carve the gate, to stop our grandsons running into the pond when they were little, glad you like it.

  17. Leandro Silva says:

    Hello Pauline. Good night!
    I loved your site. Congratulations for the work in the garden. I am also passionate about plants.
    I noticed that you cultivate Galanthus nivalis.
    I ask that you contact me via email, please: leandrosouzabio@gmail.com
    Can you do that for me?

    Hugs. Thank you Pauline!

    • Pauline says:

      Hi Leandro, thank you so much for stopping by, lovely to hear that you like snowdrops too.
      Sorry, but I don’t give my e.mail address to anyone that I don’t know, if you have a question, please can you leave it as a comment on my blog, thanks.

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