Thursday, December 17, 2015

Foliage Follow-Up December 2015

When I was a young gardener, flowers were everything.  So I surprise myself when I choose to grow plants for their foliage.  The snowstorm we had in southern Oregon this week was followed by me getting very cold knocking six inches of wet heavy white danger off of our evergreen plants.  The saddest bits of broken plants I brought indoors to make a large Yule swag.  

A Maenad fountain wedding cake in the courtyard.

Western sword fern, which forms the lower tier backbone of our garden, this huge individual reduced to three fronds emerging from the field of snow.

 I have waited for these wonderful colors to happen for years!   
 Hydrangea quercifolia oak leaf ‘Amethyst’

Hydrangea quercifolia oak leaf  ‘ruby slippers’

It is just a plain old Prunus laurocerasus english laurel, but it was the only successful foliage large shrub in the back garden when we moved in and i would be inconsolable to lose it. After snow removal it all bounced back.  The bathtub planter, our treasure from Oregon Shakespeare Festival's 'Head Over Heels" (2015) appears to be full of suds.  I have two evergreen vines to plant in it.

Arum italicum  Lord and Ladies.   I was a dunce about this plant, forgetting it was supposed to go dormant in late spring and then being surprised when it emerged this fall.  Patiently, not really, waiting for the leaves to develop more interesting patterning as they grow into mature clumps.

Symphoricarpos x chenaultii  'Hancock' Coralberry mostly disappeared under the snow.

Rosemary 'Tuscan Blue' and Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow’ had disappeared under the snow my husband shoveled in the driveway...

They pulled through.  I do not understand how the Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow’ managed this, but it did.  I will probably cook something out of the one broken rosemary stem.

Another Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow’ because one is not enough, especially in the winter.  I actually do not even like the flowers on this plant.

Laurus nobilis   Sweet bay. Yes, that is a bungee assisting the main stem in righting itself after  being mightily crushed by the snow.  I have grown this from a small plant, and dug it up when we moved.  It has loved being in the earth again.  Ida been heartbroken to lose any of it.  One of many shadowboxes along the fence that my very handy husband built out of stage set wood.

 Laurus nobilis Emerald Wave Sweet bay.   Reduced to brown sticks after the very cold winter of 2014, sweet bay is marginal in our zone 7 winters, but it is a plant i have an irrationally intense connection to.  I must grow it. 

Why do my Nandinas insist on staying green in the winter?   Thanks, Nandina 'Gulfstream', for at least one crummy red leaf.

Cupressus macrocarpa 'wilma goldcrest'  are scattered all along fencelines.  They are bitty things and i have been reassured by my local nursery that i can count on them eventually taking off after a typical slow start in our area.   Having lost my sense of smell for several years and regained it, the scent of lemon cypress makes me happy, along with the bright lime green color. 

 Euonymus fortunei  Emerald Gaiety successfully grown is a triumph in my black vine weevil ridden garden.  I suspect our explosion of centipedes populations was caused by having so much centipede food, that being weevil eggs and larvae.  Maybe i am finding less weevil larvae in the soil lately.  The Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd' emerald green arborvitae (i know it is a very common plant, but i shop at nurseries in southern Oregon, not Portland, and plant choices are limited here) will be welcomed into the evergreen foliage hedge wall i am creating all along the north property line to obliterate neighbors.

This ought to get me kicked out of every garden club and garden blogger group around.  But how can one have a garden built out of theatre sets and not end up with some faux ivy here and there?  You would do this too, because through the cracks in this fence come the most bright, un-shielded, vulgar bright landscape lighting.  It makes slug hunting in the dark difficult when the lights blind you.  Sit in the hot tub and look at their piece of backyard lit up like a strip mall?  They cut back on the hours of these timed lights when i warned them it might kill their new landscape.  Our darkness was precious for two and a half years before these people with too much money and big egos did this.  Our city has no ordinances requiring shielding or down-lighting for landscape or porch lights.  Does yours?  Unfortunately, in zone 7 there are not many choices of evergreen vines to smother the fences with to re-darken our garden and in many areas i already have established vines i would damage by adding materials onto the fence to seal the fence cracks.  

The 16th of every month Pam at Digging hosts all of us who appreciate foliage  just as much as flowers in the garden.  With this post, I accept her invitation to join in with my favorite foliage, which will include a ridiculous amount of the color lime green that I like to grow in drama garden.




  1. Hi, just discovered your blog, I'm intrigued by your creative decor and want to see more, but I'm having trouble subscribing. Love to see unique, idea inspiring gardens!

    1. thank you, Heidi, for attempting to subscribe. i am looking into that. my passion and skill is with the garden, not computer tech. i also have not yet written up blogs about all the theatre pieces we have, so thanks for trying to stay tuned. even in snowy winter i find myself in the garden instead of figuring out how to get this blog going.