New Growth for GBFD in April

New growth is all around us at the moment, such lovely fresh greens, copper tones and burgundies which will turn a dull green in the summer, must enjoy them while we can. First thing in the morning, with the low sunlight shining through them, they are so beautiful, like a stained glass window. I will start with my favourite tree in the garden at the moment, Amelanchier lamarckii. This tree has everything, flowers for the bees, beautiful copper coloured leaves when they first come out, black berries for the birds later in the year and fantastic autumn tints, what more could you ask!


A. sango kaku

The new foliage of Acer Sango Kaku is so delicate, so beautiful and quite colourful at this stage. The pink of the stems matching the leaf covers and the tips of the leaves.

P.Forest flame

With leaves like this, who needs flowers!! Pieris forest flame is shining out of the woodland at the moment, no-one could miss it. It has taken a long time to reach this size, about 4 ft, but at last I think it is happy and has decided to stay!

Hart's tongue fern

The new growth of ferns is so sculptural, none more so than the Hart’s tongue fern, Asplenium scolopendium. This was already in the garden when we arrived, it is found on the banks of the lanes here in Devon and I’m sure has invaded all the gardens round about. It pops up in various places where I would never think of planting it and always looks just right.


One of the Heucheras which is in the woodland, just by the bridge over the ditch. When the sun comes through the leaves they look so beautiful.

Milium effusum Aureum

Spreading happily in the woodland is Bowles golden grass, Milium effusum Aureum with such lovely yellow leaves which look like patches of sunlight even on a dull day. A wood violet has made itself at home amongst it.


There is lots of new ferny growth on all the astilbes which we have in the bog garden and round the pond. Soon we will be able to see the contrasting foliage of the iris and hostas beside them.

Pond area

At the back of the pond area, Iris pseudacorus Variegata is beginning to show, contrasting with the large Caltha palustris, kingcup, behind.


Another variegated Iris, this time one that likes to sit with its feet in water, whenever we have visitors to the garden, this is the one they always want to take away with them, each year bits are cut off so I don’t think it will ever get too large!

S. Black lace

Dividing the pond area from the veggie garden is a purple leaved elder, Sambucus Black Lace. In a month or so, this bush will have the most beautiful pink flowers which are just the right colour for the dark leaves.


Another Heuchera, this one is Marmalade I think, but unfortunately I seem to have planted it on top of some narcissus bulbs, it wasn’t the empty space I thought it was! Must move it now!!

Back border

The back border which separates the garden from the woodland is a quiet interlude, flower wise, but the shrubs all contrast with each other. The yellow of Philadelphus coronarius Aureus next to the blue of a Cedar bush and then the variegated laurel make the area quietly interesting, I hope!


In the woodland, another fern is showing it is happy by spreading into quite a large clump now, Adiantum venustum,  it has such delicate looking fronds but is quite hardy here.


A new Heuchera in the woodland, Lemon and Lime, has beautifully coloured leaves


And another Heuchera whose name I have unfortunately forgotten. I rely on heucheras, ferns and hostas in the woodland for summer interest. Once the leaves have come on the huge trees, there are not many flowers that will be out after the spring bonanza, until the autumn.


Rheum palmatum is emerging in the bog garden, the leaves will end up quite huge and by the summer will be green. This contrasts with the hostas, ferns and iris that are nearby.


The Shuttlecock fern, Matteuccia struthiopteris is spreading, will have to keep an eye on it, especially in the bog garden where it is rampaging through everything else! Looks so delicate and innocent at the moment, don’t be fooled!


Climbing up the house wall is Actinidia kolomikta, cousin of the kiwi fruit. Splashes of white start first and are joined later by splashes of pink, it ends up a kaleidoscope of green, pink and white.

Foliage never ceases to amaze me with all its different colours, shapes and textures, plants are so fantastic the way they have all developed so differently, to do the same job, that of feeding the plant by photosynthesis.

Thanks to Christina for hosting this Garden Bloggers Foliage Day, please go to     if you would like to see more foliage from round the world.


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25 Responses to New Growth for GBFD in April

  1. Christina says:

    Hi Pauline, thank you for joining in this month. Your garden is full of beautiful foliage! As you say who needs flowers? You have some lovely Heuchera; I find it very difficult to get special cultivars here. Even Palalce Purple is considered ‘special’. I think your purple one could be H. Plum Pudding; it looks very similar to one I have. I have been surprised by how well they grow in my shady border despite the hot, dry conditions. Christina. I added the link to this post to your comment as links to your blog aren’t working. Christina

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Christina, I have been ” hooked” on foliage ever since I read Beth Chatto’s book, The Green Tapestry. Her philosophy is that flowers are a bonus, foliage is with us for far longer. Sorry about the mess up with my blog, have had a word with my son, hopefully he will sort it soon!

  2. Hi Pauline, Who needs flowers when you have such a nice assortment of foliage. I especially like the ferns and the new pink foliage on the Pieris forest flame is quite incredible.
    P.S. Love some of the blues in the last post. I did not know that there were even blue cowslip!

    • Pauline says:

      New fern foliage is so beautiful Jennifer, I love to see the progress as they unfurl each day!
      Now, a blue cowslip, I don’t think so, I have a blue double primrose, but being double it must be sterile, so I think my cowslips are safe for now!

  3. Pauline, it is funny how some plants that we both have are at the same spot, my amelanchier allee has just started blooming, and my Sango Kaku also is leafing out, but my Bowles grass is tiny, the Sambucus, just starting to leaf out, and my Pieris, although it flowered (I missed it), had not yet stated to get that beautiful red new growth.
    Looking at the Philidelphus, I think it would make a great sacrifical shrub to hide my new neighbour, and it would be beautiful at the same time.

    • Pauline says:

      The Philadelphus certainly would look good in front of your hedge Deborah, nice contrast of colour and the perfume would delight you for a few years, but would you be able to cut it down when the time comes?! So glad you liked the idea !!
      My Pieris hasn’t flowered yet, maybe they’re still to come, such a coincidence that all the others are at the same stage, maybe Toronto had the same strange weather that we had earlier on.

  4. Liz says:

    Hi Pauline,

    Beautiful photos and lovely foliage!

    One day, I really, really will remember to join in with this meme!!!!

    I love your Shuttlecock fern, very nice indeed 🙂

    • Pauline says:

      I love the Shuttlecock fern too Liz, it’s really obvious how it got its name isn’t it!! It is spreading too far in the bog garden and coming up in the middle of precious things, so some of them can be moved further back to where it is a bit drier, hoping that will curb some of its wandering tendancies!

  5. Lyn says:

    All that exciting new foliage! It always looks so perfect in Spring, doesn’t it? Like sculptures, as you said.

    • Pauline says:

      Spring is such a lovely time Lyn, with everything so new and fresh. I imagine your autumn must be looking pretty good with all your autumn tints!

  6. Anna says:

    Some lovely leaves Pauline. I recognise one or two mutual friends 🙂 Bowles golden grass is one of those plants that you can forgive for self seeding with some abundance.

    • Pauline says:

      Anna, I now dead head Bowles golden grass before it can seed around any more, although it is very welcome in deep shade where nothing else will grow!

  7. Alberto says:

    Hi Pauline, I love that Hart’s tongue fern, which forms a kind of eye when furled, very interesting!
    All the eucheras seem to take their names straight from the cupboard: marmelade, honey, chocolate, brownies, biscuit… They’re kind of funny names. I discover how reliable plants they are and I love the way they flowers too. I should get some more sweets uhm eucheras.
    I didn’t know matteuccia spreads so badly, it’s such a beautiful fern…

    • Pauline says:

      I think all the names are making you feel hungry Alberto! The Matteuccia is spreading so much because I have given it the soil it really loves, that’s why I must move it further back where the soil is drier. I agree, it is a beautiful fern, but it must learn to behave!!

  8. catmint says:

    As usual I am amazed at the huge range of plants you have in your garden. All lovely foliage plants – the standout one for me and totally unfamiliar is Acer Sango Kaku – I wonder what that means – anyone understanding Japanese reading this? So delicate … The other one I am besotted with is the fern. I just love their unfolding habit, very sensuous.

    • Pauline says:

      Acer Sango Kaku is one of my favourite Acers Catmint, because it is lovely at any time of year. In the summer , the leaves are a yellowish green, autumn turns them to a shining butter yellow, then in the winter the young stems are coral pink – fantastic! Sorry, don’t know the meaning of the name.

  9. debsgarden says:

    I could comment on every plant! Thanks for all the beautiful images. I love your back border! You illustrate how important foliage is to a garden, adding texture and colorful interest even when flowers are not present.

    • Pauline says:

      More people are realising how important foliage is Deb, thank goodness, especially in shade. Lovely leaves for plants in shade can be just as interesting as flowers. So glad you like the back border, I think of it as a quiet interlude between borders that have plenty of colour.

  10. beautiful foliage Pauline, I’ve always liked foliage, I agree about planting according to conditions which I have tried to do most of the time, I only really noticed Beth Chatto last year when I found her website and ordered some plants which are among the best I have ever received, Frances

    • Pauline says:

      I have been reading Beth Chatto’s books for years now Frances, so glad they were among the first that I bought when we moved here, especially the ones about woodland gardening and the damp garden. When our daughter lived for a few years in Essex we always visited Beth Chatto’s garden and came home with the boot of the car full of her lovely plants. Like you we have also bought plants from her by post and have never been disappointed.

  11. p s meant to say there is no live link to your blog when you comment on mine,

  12. don’t apologise just thought you might want to know you are not leaving a link back, you are in my side bar so I just click on that, when WP changed it so people with WP blogs now have to log in to comment on other WP blogs, my comments were not leaving a link back to my blog so I posted a message about in their forum and got a reply almost immediately (this is one reason I love WP as other blogging platforms you can’t ask a question let alone get a response) now what I was told was:
    How to make your name link to your blog:
    Go into your dashboard -> Users -> Personal Settings -> then scroll down to ‘Account Details’. In the spot where it says ‘website’ fill in the address of your blog and save the changes.
    Now… when you comment here and on other blogs, your name will link to your blog.
    However, this will not change the link on comments made previously, only new comments.
    I C&P to make sure I got it right, hope this helps, Frances

  13. Ceeinbc says:

    Hello Pauline. I just ‘discovered’ your blog yesterday & have already read several of your posts, enjoying both the gorgeous photos & your narrative. Thanks for sharing your lovely garden & taking us along as you wander around! Oh, I thought you might be interested to know that the Acer Sango Kaku, which is as highly prized out here for all the characteristics you mention, is often referred to as a Coral Barked Maple. Love it. Out here, FYI, is Vancouver, British Columbia (BC). Cee

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks for stopping by Cee, and for your lovely comments. It seems that Acer Sango Kaku is loved the world over and no wonder!

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