foliage has its day


Who could fail to love the great, blowsy tissue-paper pompoms of peonies? Don’t let them blind you to the charms of the peony foliage. Here is a tree peony with the leaves still newborn pink, only the first in a parade of personae it will trot out over the seasons. The herbaceous peonies, meanwhile, are sending up brilliant deep red shoots all over the garden.


Euphorbia ‘Excaliber’ will start looking like all the other Euphorbias eventually, but right now the emerging striped foliage on red stems displays the freshness of an enginue in the midst of the fuzzy little lambs’ ears.


Hard to find any flowers to equal the blazing red new foliage on that old standby, the Photinia. These things grow like weeds in our neck of the woods, but that is no reason to take them for granted, or, worse, to look down our noses. Our local guru, Sean Hogan of Cistus even gave them the nod when I heard him speak at YGPS.


Aren’t these candles on ‘Thunderhead’ just the loveliest? And they are harbingers of a new year’s growth, besides.


Along the same lines, the chartreuse tips on last year’s Christmas tree announce its vigor. It made it into the ground yesterday, adding to my fantasy of an evergreen tapestry of plants leading to our house.

Please visit Pam at Digging to find links to other foliar treats.

3 thoughts on “foliage has its day

  1. YES! The candles on ‘Thunderhead’ are the best!!! Very cool. Glad to read you sum up the blooms on the E. ‘Excaliber’ as looking like all the others eventually. I thought I was missing something.

    Nice work with the foliage follow-up. For some reason I just couldn’t get motivated to participate this time.

  2. Funny, just today I was pulling dead neighbors off my emerging peony foliage, marveling at its tenacious ability to grow through the neglected thicket. I haven’t checked my ‘Excalibur’ yet. I love its foliage and you’re right. The Lamb’s Ear foliage is a great complement. Years ago Photinias were plagued with that foliar issue. I don’t grow it but I’m thinking it must have run its course and the surviving Photinia are immune. [?] You’ve got a great shot of that fabulous foliage.

  3. Loree~Sorry to bring it up, but the things you are missing without ‘Excaliber’ have nothing to do with blooms (bracts), but it gets about 4′ tall, with deeply variegated leaves, and leaves behind coral stems for color through the winter. It seeds a bit, so I have some to share if you want it (just babies, as I usually yank it out).

    Grace~There are mighty healthy stands of Photinia all over PDX (huge ones across from Trader Joe’s on Glisan). Ours are a little sparse so far, but we’re hoping they will form a barricade against neighborhood ugliness (did someone mention blue tarps and burn piles?) in time. I was not aware of the foliar issue…should we be concerned?

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