Foliage That Follows


Blooms are beautiful, but foliage frolics for much longer. Pam of Digging hosts Foliage Follow-up after Bloom Day to showcase the hard working leaves in our gardens. We have some of those.

Above: Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’, fern, and Heuchera sanguinea ‘Sioux Falls’ growing in a hypertufa trough, with variegated ivy growing on the wall behind.


Trifolium purpureum aka Oxalis regnellii var. triangularis, thanks Anne!


Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’, E. ‘Blackbird’ and E. dulcis ‘Chameleon’ were thought to be the great foliage hope to give four seasons of interest to the long wall behind the main house. Deaths this summer of the oldest grouping has put a halt to the plan of filling in the forty foot bed with these. Ascot Rainbow and Blackbird died after blooming. Perhaps the pretty bloom stalks should be nipped off?


To replace the above mentioned Euphorbia grouping, gold and purple tall sedums were added to the empty earth. Sedum alboroseum ‘Mediovariegatum’ and S. ‘Purple Emperor’ disappear in winter, but might prove longer lasting in the long haul than the fancy Euphorbias. Chameleon is unkillable.


Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Little Honey’ has grown larger and is making a statement now since first planted as a tiny mail order stick. Insect damage on the leaves seems to have abated, finally.


Calluna vulgaris ‘Firefly’ is beginning the turning from yellow to pink as the temperatures cool.


Winterbor kale should last through the winter, especially with a name like that.


Bright Lights swiss chard adds color in front of the raised wooden box all year.


The river of Carex ssp. with the addition of blue fescue, whose story of creation can be read by clicking here, has been deemed a success.


Dichondra ‘Silver Falls’ splashing over the edge of the wheelbarrow planter has met expectations as it joins in the water metaphor above.


Ipomoea batatas ‘Tricolor’ is planted in the metal window box on the shed. It is elegant and tough.

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Do you have any foliage in your garden? I bet you do!

Frances

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14 Responses to Foliage That Follows

  1. Mark and Gaz says:

    Some beautiful and rich coloured foliage there! Love the Euphorbia!

    Thanks Mark and Gaz. It took us a few years after we began gardening to understand the important role that foliage plays. Now we get it. HA
    Frances

  2. Meta says:

    Great photos and great foliage. That has inspired me.

    Thanks Meta. I love foliage that inspires!
    Frances

  3. Layanee says:

    The foliage will carry the day.

    It does, Layanee. It carries the garden through the whole year, some of it, anyway. I am constantly on the search for colorful evergreen perennials. Need more yellows! HA
    Frances

  4. I love the idea of Foliage Follow-up and you have some very worthy eye catchers. Your Japanese Blood grass never fails to delight especially with the morning light giving it that luminous quality. It was some consolation to read that not all euphorbias have thrived for you. I bought a bunch of different varieties in the late spring and had them packed together in a raised bed in a metal cart. I thought that would ensure the good drainage I thought the euphorbias needed. Hmm, fast forward to now and my kaleidoscope of interesting colored foliage has more brown than anything…in other words, chalk up one disappointing failure for this gardener!

    Thanks Michaele, the foliage feature is a very good idea. Thanks to my friend Pam for thinking this up, even though I sometimes forget to participate in spring when there are so many blooms. I am sorry to hear about your Euphorbia failure. I can’t be drainage here, either. I really don’t know what the cause of the deaths was, but it has me rethinking extensive use of it. Except for the silly Chameleon which seeds all over the place. The mother plant may die, but there are always more. Those fancy Euphorbias are sterile, so no babies to continue the show, and they are expensive. The jury is still out.
    Frances

  5. Rebecca says:

    I lost my Euphorbia this year after I let it bloom. But my MIL did not loose hers. Mine was 5 yrs old, hers 2. I wish I knew the answer. It was one of my favorites.

    Thanks for adding to the conversation, Rebecca. I am sorry for your loss, and don’t know the answer, either. There are still two more groupings of it here, I am watching them closely and might snip off any flower stalks as an experiment.
    Frances

  6. Leslie says:

    I just planted that dichondra this year…I am liking it too! And your chard looks great! Mine succumbed to the heat this summer although I have in the past had it make it through.

    Hi Leslie, thanks for visiting. The chard will make it here, but I am not sure the dichondra will winter over. We do have the simple green dichondra that is hardy.
    Frances

  7. Anne Boykin says:

    Hi Frances, Love your fall foilage and your blog. I planted Oxalis regnellii var. triangularis this year and it’s done really well. I also plant the sweet potato vine and enjoy it too.

    Thanks so much, Anne, for those kind words and the heads up about the name. I am stubborn about some of these name changes, like the asters and sedums and mums. This plant does seem to be oxalis like, I might just add that to the post.
    Frances

  8. Alison says:

    Your chard is so colorful! Is it planted just for its color, or do you eat it? I’m trying a couple of Euphorbias this year in my dry sunny bed, I hope they do well. I planted a mail-order Little Honey oakleaf hydrangea a couple of years ago, but it didn’t like the spot. It declined and died before I could figure out where it would have liked better. I’m giving myself two more chances to kill it. But meanwhile, there are lots of other plants to try!

    Hi Alison, thanks. I plant the chard mostly for ornament, but do eat it. The less colorful chard is better tasting, so I have some of that, too. It just isn’t as photogenic. I did move Little Honey from the first spot it was planted in, as it was declining and there wasn’t that much of it to decline to! This is the best soil on the property, in partial shade but still good drainage. I also gave it more water in the first year or two. Do try it again!
    Frances

  9. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    You have some very bright colors here Frances. I have never had any luck with Euphorbias. I have a friend that lives just one mile from me and she has great luck with them. I like their foliage, especially the dark leaves.
    Happy Foliage follow up.

    Thanks Lisa. The Euphorbias can be tricky, and they do need good drainage. Some of them die within minutes of being planted, they like more alkaline soil. Some need water when first planted but no water after they take ahold. That is hard when we get five inches of rain in one go. I believe that might be what killed mine, but who knows?
    Frances

  10. I really like that ‘Little Honey’ hydrangea.

    Little Honey is truly a golden color all season, not fading to green later on. It is sweet!
    Frances

  11. I am going to a big plant sale tomorrow. From their website it looks like they might have Calluna vulgaris ‘Firefly’ and Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Little Honey’…..might have to buy both. I do have a number of the hydrangeas..5 Pee Wee, one straight species and one ‘Snow Queen’….Little Honey would be such a great addition.
    great foliage!!!!!

    Lucky you, Janet!!! I cannot say enough good things about Firefly. It is by far the best Calluna out there, and I have tried many of them. A nice shearing yearly will keep it full and gorgeous. Little Honey is a good one. Mine is still small, but has started growing, finally. Wish I was going to your plant sale!
    Frances

    They didn’t have any Calluna. Didn’t have any Hydrangea quercifolia They did have lots of Echinacea, Penstemon and Delosperma. Got those and four azaleas.

    Too bad about the Callunas and oakleafs, Janet, but what you did get sounds great! I found Firefly for sale at Wayside Gardens and got four, they are planted and look good.

  12. Sheryl says:

    Absolutely fantastic photos! 🙂

    Thanks!

  13. Pam/Digging says:

    I have had no success with the euphorbias ‘Blackbird’ or ‘Ascot Rainbow’. Both just croak in my garden, alas. I chalked it up to our intense heat and humidity, even at night, but your conditions are different, so who knows. I sometimes think that ‘Bright Lights’ chard is one of the showiest ornamental plants, which makes it a bit ironic that most people grow it as an edible. It’s simply stunning.

    Thanks Pam. I have no idea what happened to the Euphorbias, they made it through our wet winter without a problem, and had bloomed the year before without any deaths. The weather was weird this year, really hot early, then drought, then flooding rain, they really, really hot. Many things perished that shouldn’t have. Bright Lights is wonderful!
    Frances

  14. Kate Maryon says:

    I have always planted with the thought of the foliage contrasts etc…interest longevity rather then a quick burn of blooms! Your photography skills are wonderful. I absolutely love that there is a day set aside for a hurrah for the leaves….not just the blooms! Your blog as always is a wonderful treat at the end of a long day that I very much look forward too. Thank you for all the beauty that you feed our hungry souls.

    Thanks Kate, for those kind words, I do appreciate you and all my readers. Feeding souls, I like that. Foliage deserves more attention, I am happy that Pam decided to help out on that front.
    Frances

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