Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fun With Foliage

So I was taking pictures of my garden yesterday and realized that most of the pictures were of plants with awesome leaves. During my career as one who mucks about in the dirt, I've come to understand just how important foliage plants are to having an attractive garden.

A variety of plants with interesting leaves, including Astilboides, Lamium, Hosta, Heuchera, Aconitum, Dicentra, and  some weeds :-)

There are a lot of plants we grow for the flowers they produce. Unfortunately, I've learned that after the flowers are done, you're often left with an ugly, awkward mess of slowly dying leaves for the rest of the summer. (Yes, delphinium, I'm talking about you.) A flower bed filled with too many of these divas will look nice for a few glorious weeks, only to leave you with nothing much to look at for most of the summer unless you surround them with - you guessed it - plants with fabulous foliage.

Hosta, bleeding hearts, and delphinium.
In the picture above I have a delphinium (not yet in bloom) surrounded by hosta and bleeding hearts, which are two plants with awesome leaves that stay looking nice all summer. (The bleeding hearts have a nice added bonus of turning golden yellow in the fall.) After the delphinium blooms and starts looking like poop, I can cut it back and still have something nice to look at in that same area. So far the method of mixing my garden divas with foliage plants has worked fairly well for me.

Another Hosta, Heuchera, and Lamium. Usually I don't like limey colors and silver together, but the lamium goes where it wants. I've given up trying to tell it otherwise. At least it out competes the weeds.
Another Heuchera, Lamium, and Astilboides. 
Native fern and Cimicifuga. They both do well in the dry shade under my tree house.
Another lamium. I like how this one looks with a lot of my other plants, so I'm encouraging it to spread. The silver one is far more vigorous, unfortunately.

Native ferns and Alchemilla mollis.
The best thing about all the plants pictured above is that they are SO EASY to take care of! I have to do very little to keep them looking nice. Add some compost and mulch in spring and cut them back in the fall. No staking, pruning, pest control, minimal deadheading, etc. They just grow and look awesome-- what more could a garden girl ask for?

A variety of plants with interesting leaves. 
Anyone out there have a favorite plant with awesome leaves they'd like to share? Feel free to comment below!