Foliage? In January?


Foliage? After the harsh weather we have had here at the Fairegarden? Why yes, I do believe there is some handsome foliage to be found. We do so want to be a part of Pam at Digging’s world wide sharing of leaves called Follow Up Foliage Day. Would you care to follow me? Watch your step, as always, the climb can be a bit strenuous. (Editor’s note: Unlike the brash bloom day guide, seen here, the little goldfinch plays by the rules of etiquette.)


On the lowest level, behind the main house, in the rectangular hypertufa planter is a tussock of long haired moss, backed by the new Heuchera foliage of H. ‘Faire Piecrust’.


In the same vein, on a nearby rock step is an as yet unnamed Heuchera seedling nestled in a patch of moss. It has been growing in this same spot for over a year, with no soil. Even in the heat of summer and with no supplemental water, it clings. It should have a name that reflects that, something like Faire ??? what? Any suggestions out there in the blogdom? Or should we even bother?


In another hypertufa planter on the main level, the one with Leaf Man keeping watch over his plantings, is a miniature conifer, Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Nana Lutea’, purchased at the University of Tennessee gardens last fall. A post about that plant sale is coming soon.


Thank you so much for following up the steep steps that lead to the knot garden. Let us rest on the bench for a moment. Even with wings, it is a strenuous journey. From the vantage point of the bench, we can see in the center quatrefoil that each semi-circle contains a Calluna vulgaris ‘Sunset’. There is nothing vulgaris (common) about these small shrubs.


If you look behind us, you will notice a row of these variegated juniper type shrubs, one of the very first things planted at the feet of the Hemlocks that hide the chain link fence at the very back of the property. We do not know the name, the tags were lost in the milieu of the start up here.


Are you ready to continue? Down we go then, past the shed bed that is planted with the charming grass that sways so readily in the slightest breeze, Nasella tenuissima. This is one of the best twelve month grasses we grow. It never has down time.


We have traveled past the hedge, along the black garden to the far eastern edge of the property, under the arbor. The above photo is chock full of goodies. If I might elaborate, the dead leaves are leftover from the volunteer pumpkin that ended up hanging by fishnet panyhose after frost killed the vine. The cucurbit is safely sitting on the floor of the mudroom, still encased in the stockings, waiting to be tossed into the same area to see if a repeat growth can occur. Its story can be read here-A Pumpkin Tale. The large black metal tubes are part of the wind chime hanging on the arbor, Westminster it says on the label. The rose backlit so nicely is R. ‘Fortune’s Double Yellow’, winding its way through the chime with pumpkin vine leftover bits still attached. The grass inflorescence is from a stray Miscanthus sinensis ‘Zebrinus’ that was tossed into the pile of unwanteds that line this area. Naturally it grew. In the background is the rosemary hedge, with the lovely blue chairs that are seen in many Fairegarden blog post photos rounding out the scenery.


Heading back towards the house we pass by the lower edge of the black garden, home to the miniature daylilies. Hemerocallis ‘Tiny Temptress’ is one that sports evergreen foliage. To the left is bearded Iris ‘Lacy Snowflake’ as identified by the tag. These tags may not be the most lovely of things, but we do like to know the names of things to keep track of which is whom.


Onward towards the garage deck we can see a fine example of the difference between the heaths and the heathers, Erica, heath, with the pointy piney needle like foliage, and Calluna, heather, with the scales. The Calluna is C. ‘Anthony Davis’, the Erica could be E. darleyensis ‘Spring Torch’.


On the moss covered slope of the daylily hill, tiny Sedum acre rosettes are visible in the blanket of moss with a few seedling forget me nots. An example of Mother Nature’s planting scheme at its best.


Around the corner from the forget me nots are some bulbs planted by the gardener, two types of grape hyacinths. Muscari armenium, or possibly M. neglectum? were here by the thousands when we bought the house and continue to mulitply. Muscari macrocarpum ‘Golden Fragrance’ was newly planted last fall. The thought of golden fragrance brings forth dreams of spring. Ahhh.


This planting is located on the top of Athena’s head, we hope she approves. While she is a warrior queen, she is also a flower child at heart, wisely.

Frances

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44 Responses to Foliage? In January?

  1. Lynne says:

    What a gorgeous photo of the little finch. You have a gift for capturing beautiful images :-)

    Hi Lynne, thanks so much for those kind words. I do take hundreds of pictures to get just a couple. Luck has an enormous role in my shots. :-)
    Frances

  2. gittan says:

    Good morning Frances, up early aren’t you!It’s not fair! We can’t see any foliage here at all. It’s all covered in that white stuff! But looking at your pictures makes me feel hope and I know that in a few weeks it will look the same here =)
    I just have to be patient (easy to say)
    Have a nice day /kram gittan

    Hi Gittan, we are always up early, even when we sleep in! Your time will come and your garden will be so lovely. We will still have the up and down roller coaster ride until spring here. Right now we are on the up, but we know the drop is coming. Be patient. :-)
    Kram,
    Frances

  3. Nan Ondra says:

    Such a treat to see fresh foliage, Frances! Thanks for picking up on Pam’s idea and leading us on a lovely garden tour.

    Hi Nan, thanks so much. I love the idea of foliage being featured, so much easier than finding blooms here. Thanks for the ID on the hyssop. :-)
    Frances

  4. gardeningasylum says:

    That long haired moss is just delicious! I also have a heuchera volunteer also growing out of a crack in a rock. I’m afraid to do anything to it, and it has been there 3 or 4 seasons now, acting like it belongs, even though it knows it can’t get very big.

    Thanks for visiting. I am afraid to move that heuchera as well, but if it makes some offsets I might pinch them off to replant. Glad to hear about yours too. :-)
    Frances

  5. Liisa says:

    What a lovely collection of foliage, Frances. I love the colors of Calluna vulgaris ‘Sunset’. It is lovely to see the grape hyacinth peeking through the soil, offering promises of spring. Your rock-clinging Heuchera is really something, perhaps ‘Faire Magic’ would be an appropriate name. :)

    Hi Liisa, thanks. Sunset is a bit sprawly, in an attractive way, unlike Firefly which is redder in winter but more upright. The grape hyacinths show their foliage in the fall, which is nice of them to show where they are located so they don’t get dug into accidentally. I love that name! I think we have a winner! :-)
    Frances

  6. Randy says:

    Frances,
    Loved the gold finch! You can always find something beautiful in the garden!

    I checked yesterday the crocuses and rock irises are coming up here. And the daffodils I gave the fifth graders to plant at the school are coming up too.

    Thanks Randy. The birds are a constant, I just have to brave the cold sometimes to get a shot. Sunshine would have made that one better, but he does look very sweet on the rock walls of the pond, waiting his turn to get a drink when everything else was frozen solid. How exciting about the school bulbs. Those kids will get a lesson in nature that will stay with them their entire lives. Well done! :-)
    Frances

  7. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    That Goldfinch sitting on the rocks says winter to me without any words. You have lots of great foliage in your garden Frances. I think I would call that heuchra seedling growing in the moss ‘Faire Amazing’ or ‘Toughie Faire”

    Hi Lisa, thanks. The colors of the goldfinch are certainly subdued, but still quite beautiful. Thanks for the name ideas too. Both are excellent. :-)
    Frances

  8. Joy says:

    Frances girl you have so much interest in your garden right now .. I had to look up that Mexican Feather grass and I so wish we could over winter it here too !
    I put in three standard looking heathers and I am wondering if they will finally “take” in my garden .. I have tried three times before and FLOPPED .. this time lucky maybe .. I love your garden art face !! I want more room for more plants and more garden art : )

    Hi Joy, thanks. The heathers love the cold, we are nearly too warm for them here. The key is great drainage, sun and water well the first year or so, until they become well established. The last key is the most important and we have killed some by neglecting to water, thinking they were drought tolerant. They are drought tolerant, but even cactus need watered in the beginning. Leaf Man says thank you very much. He is very polite, that face. :-)
    Frances

  9. Darla says:

    Very nice photos…I love all of the different shapes and textures. I was going to participate….but my heart had other plans…I posted about it.

    Oh my goodness, Darla, I am so glad you are allright!!! Do follow the doctor’s orders. We will be thinking of you. Thanks too for the kind words. :-)
    Frances

  10. There’s quite a lot happening with the foliage! The long moss look like a plush stuffed animal toy. As for the heuchera why not just call him Rocky! (I’m hearing ‘Eye of the Tiger’ in the Background at the moment!)

    Hi Dave, thanks. What a good name, too. We need to work the word Faire in there. But somehow it doesn’t seem to match the vibe you are sending. HA :-)
    Frances

  11. Rose says:

    Frances, you have lovely specimens of foliage despite the cold weather. I would have joined in on this, but last week everything was covered with snow, and now as the snow recedes, I’m afraid all I have is brown mush. Thanks for showing the heather and heath side by side; I don’t have any and always wondered just what the difference was. Once again, you’ve inspired me to add some evergreens to the garden for more winter interest. I’m not feeling very creative this morning, but why not name the heuchera something simple like “Faire Frances”? Or you could go with another food name that so many of them have–“Faire Flan” or “Faire Frittata”:)

    Hi Rose, thanks. We have nad very cold temps for an extended time period. I was worried about some of the stuff, frankly, but when it finally rewarmed, everything pretty much perked back up, thank goodness. I believe the heaths and/or heathers would work well in your climate, they like it cold. Thanks for the name ideas. I don’t want my silly name in there, but the food names are always good. :-)
    Frances

  12. Lovely forms, movement and light in your photos Frances! So lovely to see such varieties of green foliage. We just had five inches of wet heavy snow… I worry for some of my bent over birches. Sweet goldfinch watching over your tour. Enjoy your green!! ;>)

    Hi Carol, thanks. There are pros and cons to our lack of snow cover. The plants have to withstand the onslaught of high and low temps without insulation. We have to think about foliage in winter to combat the sea of brown and grey as well. I hope your birches will right themselves! :-)
    Frances

  13. lotusleaf says:

    Hi Frances! Your garden seems to be as charming in Januaty as it is in June!

    Hi Lotus, thanks so much, that is the sweetest thing! I don’t know that I would agree with you, however. But there is foliage to be found if we poke around. Notice that there are no long shots. :-)
    Frances

  14. VP says:

    I love the sunshine through your leaves – cheered me up on a very dull day here in the UK.

    I believe it’s a holiday there today, right? If so, hope you have a good one :)

    Hi VP, thanks. Sunshine through anything is welcome now. It is a holiday, which means The Financier is home. Since I am retired, for most of my life actually, holidays aren’t that different from a regular weekday, except there is no mail and the banks are not open. It is sunny and reported to get up to 60 degrees F, we do have plans to get out in the dirt. A very good day whenever that happens. :-)
    Frances

  15. mothernaturesgarden says:

    Since my garden is rather ho hum at present, it is a treat to run through yours to see so much going on. There is a true feeling of expectation at every turn.

    Hi Donna, thanks. It sounds like you might need some evergreens there. I suggest the heathers with good winter color. They would look lovely in your pretty garden. :-)
    Frances

  16. Love the bird’s perspective! Up close in the branches!
    Since heuchera is sometimes called coral bells, how about Fairie Bells?

    I’d love to know more about growing Nasella tenuissima in the southeast. I often see it mentioned for western gardens only and haven’t pursued obtaining one through mail-order. Tell us more, please! :-)

    Thanks,
    Cameron

    Thanks Cameron. A good name, too! The Nasella grows very well here, almost too well but the volunteer seedlings are easily pulled. It would grow in your garden without a problem. Don’t know about the deer tolerance, though. I grew mine from seed, but also bought a plant in Charleston one year. Then divided like crazy.
    Frances

  17. Gail says:

    Frances~~Love the foliage in your garden~I’ve long admired the Calluna vulgaris ‘Sunset’ a lovely year round pretty. One of my own favorite shots of your garden is the heuchera… What do you think of Faire Cliff or Pewter Faire. Have a fantastic day out there in the sunshine~~it’s cloudy and cool here and the ground is saturated from 2 inches of rain! ~~A good day to read blogs! gail

    Thanks Gail. Since you have seen Sunset in person, you know what a beauty it is. Good names, the color does look like Pewter. I can’t remember if it changes in summer to more green. Sorry you aren’t having the sun that we are at the moment. I plan to take full advantage of it.
    Frances

  18. Thanks, Frances, for that little breath of spring. The Calluna ‘Sunset’ is very attractive. Does the red colouration change with the seasons?

    Hi Helen, thanks. Sunset is more pinky and red in the cold and bright yellow in the summer. The habit is not as dense as Firefly, but it is a small attractive presence in the knot garden. Those two seems to have the brightest winter color of all the Callunas we grow.
    Frances

  19. Hello Frances,

    I, for one, am grateful that you that you hiked around your garden to share these beautiful photos. I especially liked the long haird moss and the Calluna.

    Hi Noelle, thanks. That is one of my favorite mosses here. I don’t know the names of them, but that one is certainly distinctive. :-)
    Frances

  20. Heuchera ‘Faire Steel?’ For the grayish color and persistence?

    The joke name suggestion is, of course, Heuchera ‘Renaissance Faire’ or ‘Faire Renaissance.’ (or maybe ‘Tennessee State Faire?’)

    Oooh, good one, Mr. Sub, thanks! Or should I say good ones? But really the first one rings true. Nice to see you. :-)
    Frances

  21. Linda says:

    What is the name of the long haired moss? I gotta have some of that!

    Hi Linda, thanks for visiting. I don’t know the names of any of the mosses, they are just here. Some, including that one came in on a rock. Sorry I can’t give you more information. My suggestion would be to go rock hunting. :-)
    Frances

  22. leavesnbloom says:

    Good Evening Frances firstly I’ve never heard of that heuchera before – thats a new one for me to read up on. I am going to have a look in the garden centre tommorrow and see if there are any calluna sunsets. I think the foliage effect is wonderful from that little heather and it would look great in my scree bed at the front. I’ll let you know if I get one……. or two or three!

    I’m away to read about your pumpkin tale – sounds interesting! It was a pleasure doing your garden tour.

    Rosie

    Hi Rosie, thanks for stopping by. You won’t find any info on that Faire Piecrust because it is a seedling here that I named. The only one of its kind in the world! HA Hope you can find the Calluna. We occasionally will stumble upon them when we go to Asheville, but mail ordered that one long ago from Rock Spray Nursery. I am not sure they are still in business anyway though, sadly.
    Frances

  23. VW says:

    The long-haired moss is my favorite. I should post pictures of the battered hellebore foliage in my yard . . . or maybe not. My favorite Otto Luyken laurels look decent, just a bit of windburn, and the blue star junipers are great, but eveything else is very sad around here.

    Hi VW, thanks. My hellebores look terrible, the old foliage anyway. Aren’t those blue stars the best, they never have a bad day. I do hope your garden perks up soon. :-)
    Frances

  24. Jean says:

    Frances, that long-haired moss is a stunner! Both the plant and the photo. Love it!

    Hi Jean, thanks so much. Located in the hypertufa trough, it gets noticed a lot. Obviously it should get more photos taken too, it seems very popular. :-)
    Frances

  25. I’ve got forget me nots emerging here and there.

    Your long haired moss looks great.

    I bet that 60F temperature feels just wonderful.

    Rob

    Hi Rob, thanks. I have just come back into the house from working in the garden. It felt so good, but I am so out of shape. Tomorrow is supposed to be another sunny warmer day too. I will be out there again. A brief respite before winter returns.
    Frances

  26. Willow says:

    It is so wonderful to see that in the dead of winter we can find life growing and thriving.

    Hi Willow, thanks. What you say is so true. Thank goodness for evergreen foliage. :-)
    Frances

  27. I’m going to just stay on the rock beside that spectacular ‘Sunset’ heather, Frances. That’s just about the most breathtaking colour display in an ericaceous plant I can remember. It’s nice to see the fresh greens of moss and new shoots, too.

    Hi Jodi, thanks. It is a very fine heather, I highly recommend it. Winter is its best coloration, with the mix of yellow and red. We are having a spring like day today, but know that winter will return full blast soon. Even with the warmer temps, sitting on a rock would make for some cold hinders. Maybe bring a cushion. :-)
    Frances

  28. Joanne says:

    What a dear little bird and some lovely foliage to be found in your garden Frances.

    Thanks Joanne, we loved the little goldfinch too, and were glad he agreed to give the tour for us. :-)
    Frances

  29. Sweet Bay says:

    I haven’t seen Long-Haired Moss before. Very cool! It reminds me of a wig.

    Hi Sweet Bay, thanks. I just made that name up, I don’t know the names of any of the mosses here. Hope people don’t go looking for it. I was wondering if anyone would call it Cousin It. :-)
    Frances

  30. Les says:

    I second what Sweet Bay thought. I opened your post and said to myself that clever Frances has posted a picture of a Halloween wig for Foliage Follow Up. I decided several years ago that I was going let that couple, Heather and Heath, tease me no longer. They would always turn my head to the point of distraction, only to melt away in our summers. As to your Heuchera, ‘Fairely Resilient’.

    Hi Les, thanks. That moss has been the number one favorite of this post, it needs to be featured more often. Or is it that name that was made up for it that caught the attention of the readers? Or both? As for the heathers and heaths, there are probably exceptions to that rule, there always are. We are on the edge of their summer hardiness here, excellent drainage is the secret ingredient. Love that name for the Heuchera! :-)
    Frances

  31. Pam/Digging says:

    I’ve been outside planting all day long, Frances, so I’m late to your foliage post, but thanks for joining in! You have so much green in your garden, but I did wonder at first if you were pulling my leg with that long-haired moss. It does not look real!

    I agree about the Mexican feathergrass and use it as a filler throughout my garden. I also really like your Calluna vulgaris ‘Sunset’.

    Hi Pam, thanks. I am so glad you are working outside, and planting yet, the best kind of outdoor activity. The moss is a big hit it seems. As is Sunset. All worthy for use in gardens where they will grow. Well the moss was growing on a rock along the side of the road in rural South Carolina and hopped into my car after I forced The Financier to stop the car. :-)
    Frances

  32. Janet says:

    Been a busy weekend, just now getting to read all the postings. Thanks for the comparison of the Erica and Calluna. Plants that are similar confuse me until I learn the differences.
    Love that long hair moss, very nice looking. As for your unnamed Heuchera..you know many Heuchera have food namesp everything from Caramel to Key Lime Ricky to Chocolate Pudding to Plum Pudding , I say you pick a favorite dark food, add Faire at the beginning of the name and viola, new name.

    Hi Janet, thanks for stopping by. We have received many great name ideas for the Heuchera. Now we need a food that conjures toughness with a silver coloring. Know of any? HA :-)
    Frances

  33. Stevie says:

    What lovely and interesting foliage. That moss is spectacular – and I see a lot of moss here in my rainforest city. And I love the bird shots. How DO you get them to pose?!

    Hi Stevie, thanks. We love all types of mosses and also have a good variety here that are naturally occuring, on our north facing slope. The birds are quite difficult to get clear shots of, they are always on the move. We take hundreds of pictures and hope to get lucky. They are never as sharp as I would like. That little goldfinch was waiting on the rocks when it was bitterly cold here, for his turn to get a drink from the only non frozen water, in the pond with the pump running.
    Frances

  34. Beckie says:

    Frances, I LOVE the moss! Another plant to put on my wish list. All of your foilage photos are gorgeous-it looks like spring is starting to peek there. The unnamed Heuchera deserves a name after surviving it’s less than ideal conditions, but I am not very imaginative. I hope others are and come up with something suitable.

    Hi Beckie, thanks. Spring likes to play hide and seek with us here in zone 7 TN. Things will look like they are growing and spring is here, then the next week will be frozen solid in horrid temps, up and down, always. We go out with the camera on the warm days, but don’t be misled that spring is here just yet. The plants, and people have to be tough as nails to put up with these weather shenanigans. Maybe Faire Nails? HA :-)
    Frances

  35. Rosey says:

    Hi Frances,
    Some of the names plants get crack me up, Tiny temptress…what a hoot! The foliage in your garden is so varied, I think you have done a fantastic job with all the colors and textures, it really catches the eye! I am inlove with that little birdie. :)

    Hi Rosey, thanks so much. Tiny Temptress is a great name. The miniature daylilies usually have the word little or tiny, but not always. She is a temptress too, pouty pink. We do love the goldfinches too, even in their winter drabs. :-)
    Frances

  36. Frances, thank you once again for a wonderful walk through your garden, I really enjoyed the exercise, such a pleasure not to have to wade through the snow. And so much delicious colour, such a relief to my eyes that have been slightly blinded by the white everywhere here!!!!
    Deborah

    Hi Deborah, thanks for joining us in the tour. It is good exercise, but you don’t even realize it since there is much to look at. No snow cover here, the plants have to tough it out without insulation. Snow covers a mulititude of sins in the garden. :-)
    Frances

  37. Kathleen says:

    It’s quite a work out following you up and down the slopes of Faire Garden Frances! No wonder you’re in such good shape. I cannot believe the spring bulbs that are up, never mind the array of foliage you shared, I want to fixate on that! I know they will appear in my garden, after they’ve bloomed in yours, so this morning I am encouraged!
    ps Thanks for the tip on getting the paph to open faster. It already is in the warmest spot in my house tho and it still isn’t cooperating fast enough for me!! hee hee.

    Hi Kathleen, thanks for joining in the fun. The trips up and down and around in the garden do keep me on my toes. The rocks and deck boards the last couple of mornings have been deceiving however, with the thinest layer of ice on parts, but not all. Impossible to tell what is slippery and what isn’t, meaning I have to assume it is all slippery. Thank goodness for gravel! It is hard to wait for the sun to melt the ice when it is daylight already and the garden is calling me. Good luck with that stubborn paph. Sometimes they just take their sweet time. It’s a long wait from seeing the bud to it opening, lots of good old anticipation! :-)
    Frances

  38. commonweeder says:

    That long haired moss is a wonder. I love all chamaecyparis, but all of my outdoor foliage is buried under new snow.

    Hi Pat, thanks. I love the chamaes too, all of them in fact. At least your snow is insulating the little darlings from the cold. :-)
    Frances

  39. Teresa O says:

    Love seeing foliage in the middle of winter besides pines and evergreens. I had to smile at the courageous little heuchera and I’m over the moon for Athena’s head in your garden. Every time I see it in a photo I think of the movie, Lord of the Rings.

    Hi Teresa, thanks so much. We are lucky in our zone 7 winter, there are a lot of broad leaf evergreen perennails in addition to the conifers. And of course, moss is everywhere on our north facing slope. I love that movie, and am proud you are reminded of it with our lady Athena. We found Avatar to be in the same fastasy vein, only the world was so much prettier. :-)
    Frances

  40. joey says:

    Amazing to see all the lush green life, Frances. Life is still snoozing here under a warm blanket of white snow.

    Hi Joey, thanks. It is fairly lush at the moment, between the moss and the hellebores coming to life. Soon the bulbs will give even more green. Hooray. Your snow is such a cozy blanket for your plants too. :-)
    Frances

  41. Emily says:

    Absolutely stunning. An assortment of beautiful plants and all that incredible light. Stunning!

    Hi Emily, thanks so much. The light is sometimes quite cheering here. With the steep slope, most of the plants are backlit at some time or another during a sunny day. Makes for enjoyable viewing from inside the house too. :-)
    Frances

  42. Anna says:

    I enjoyed the stroll and seeing all your foliage Frances. When all is said and done there’s much more of it about than flowers at this time of year :) What about Heuchera Faire Moss Maiden as a name for your plant ?

    Hi Anna, thanks for joining us on the tour. For much of the year really, the beauty of the garden is foliage driven, particularly the grasses. I love that name for the Heuchera! :-)
    Frances

  43. skeeter says:

    At first, I thought the bird was a baby chicken lol, I heard the Saint watching “Dirty Jobs” in the background and they were chasing chickens in Miami so i guess I had chickens on my mind. lol… I love the pic of the bottle tree against the shed, so colorful…

    Hi Skeeter, thanks. The little goldfish does look like a baby chick! The blue bottles against the shed are working for me too. I was afraid it might be too *busy*, but so far it is okay. The tree needs to be fastened to something, for it is quite top heavy. :-)
    Frances

  44. RainGardener says:

    Oh my it is all so breathtaking and of course your photos are beautiful. I especially love the first picture of the pink muhly grass. What a bright show it is putting on. I bought a small grass last year with mauve blooms. But this pink one makes mine look washed out. LOL But it’s just a baby so maybe it will be more showy as it grows.
    What a great way to spend the day!!!

    Hi Raingardener, thank so much. As for the grasses, one isn’t much of a statement, but a masss planting like this one etches itself into one’s brain! It was a fun, if cold day. :-)
    Frances

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