flowers & foliage get equal billing

Thalictrum roehebrunianum

I’ve always loved the foliage of Thalictrum but wasn’t crazy about the fluffy flowers. Along came T. roehebrunianum with these dainty little flowers and resistance was futile.

Hydrangea quercifolia

Flowers are almost an afterthought on Hydrangea quercifolia as it mixes it up with Sambucus nigra ‘Eva’. In Autumn, its leaves turn shades of rust and flame.

Hydrangea 'Preziosa'Speaking of Hydrangeas, they are mostly background plants around here. ‘Preziosa’ has interesting black stems and pale flowers that show subtle coloration from rose through blue, all on the same bush.

Hydrangea 'Limelight'

‘Limelight’ has cone shaped flower heads that start out green and go through the slow transition through white to a rosy blush at the end of life.

Campsis 'Madame Galen'

I planted Campsis x tagliabuena ‘Madame Galen’ in front of five fence posts, with the idea that they would reach out to each other. The two that receive the most sun are adhering to the plan while the others languish in part shade.


The flowers, when they come, do Madame proud.


No one that I know buys Sempervivums for the flowers, but aren’t they interesting? They grow on ungainly stalks and signal the death of the plant, but the flowers themselves are rather pretty.

Coleus & Abutilon

If there was any doubt that foliage can rival any flower, Coleus would send it packing. Here’s a deep russet one shading to orange. In front of it is an Abutilon with buds that match the Coleus foliage so completely that they disappear. Down in the left corner is another Coleus with chartreuse leaves splotched with maroon.


Crocosmias have a way of turning up unexpectedly. This one chose a woodland setting, where it adds a touch of color to a tapestry of greens. I like it best in this early, budding stage.

Leycesteria formosa

I think I take this same picture every year, when the Leycesteria formosa decks herself out in dangling earrings like this.

Anthirrum & Lavender

I planted a few things just to cut for bouquets, like this deep red snapdragon amid the lavender.


Tithonia for the butterflies. They seem to be appreciative.


Sami wonders where her plants are. I neglected to plant any catnip this year but she quickly lost interest (unlike the strays). She’s not as mean as she looks, she just doesn’t like to have her picture taken.


There must be Nasturtiums every year. This is a new to me strain with the variegated leaves. There are some orange sherbet colored blossoms hiding in there somewhere.

Argentina anserina

A couple of purely foliage plants are living in pots until friendlier planting weather. First up: Argentina anserina, whose shimmering silveriness I failed to capture. Just imagine those deeply pleated, serrated leaves fashioned from tin and you get the idea.

Viburnum rhy. 'Allegheny'

More heavily textured leaves on Viburnum rhy. ‘Allegheny’. The leafy love in this post is dedicated to Pam (Digging), who invites us to strut our foliar stuff for Foliage Follow Up on the 16th of each month. Credit goes to Carol (May Dreams Gardens) for hosting Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day on the 15th.


I’ll say bye for now, with one backward glance at Platycodon, otherwise know as balloon flower (see how the buds blow up like their namesakes before opening?)

21 thoughts on “flowers & foliage get equal billing

  1. I love that color of coleus. I couldn’t find one like that when I was looking though. I’ll second the appreciation for that oakleaf hydrangea/sambucus combo. I might add oakleaf hydrangea to the rhododendron border now that the deer are gone. It’s the only place that gets watered enough for hydrangeas. Does your garden stay fairly moist in summer or do you just water often? Most of my garden is bone dry and the lawn is completely brown except for a couple spots.

    • The woodland retains moisture pretty well. I’ve been planning for less watering, but then I always foil my own plans by planting new things amidst the established stuff. And this year…all bets are off. I have a love/hate relationship with hoses.

  2. You have some very cool plants. I even have a few of the same. My trumpet creeper is losing some of its leaves to some weird spotty disease but it’s blooming like mad. I didn’t realize death and mayhem were its blooming triggers. What a sadist. Love your argentina plant. 🙂

    • The Camille act of dying beautifully seems to be fairly common in the plant world. I’d like to go out that way, but I’m afraid wizening and shriveling is more the style dictated by genes.

  3. Ricki, you have such a way with the words. “Just imagine those deeply pleated, serrated leaves fashioned from tin.” I love to read your posts. I also love to dream I have the room you enjoy to grow your bigger selections, like that Campsis and the pretty Hydrangea quercifolia. Thanks for growing and sharing them with us!

  4. So many pretty plants here. I’ve long coveted Thalictrum but, although it’s sometimes found in local garden centers, its not intended for my climate. The Hydrangea-Sambucus pairing looks like ti comes from the pages of Garden Design magazine – it’s beautiful.

  5. We’ve got a neighbor with a robust Campsis x tagliabuana growing on an arbor, it’s a beauty. Also – I had to laugh about your confession re: the semp flowers. I have some in a vase right next to me as I type.

  6. I enjoy the variegated foliage of the Nasturtiums Alaska too, and the flowers are quite nice. I’m wondering if the Campsis is like the house eater tubular orange flowers I’ve seen. Perhaps Sami thinks she is smiling for the camera?

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