Posts Tagged ‘foliage’

Front Garden Plantings: Hosta’s Lush Foliage

hosta planting

Hostas take centre stage in a mixed shady front-yard planting of mostly foliage. ‘June’ at right.

This spring, all the rain we received has made for some spectacularly lush garden foliage, especially on hostas. 2017 has, so far, been the exact opposite of last year, when hostas were in danger of being sunburned and drought-stressed. When mother nature does the irrigation work for us we are lucky indeed. The cooler weather and abundant moisture have provided some gigantic, and lush specimens of hostas this season. And all are looking healthy and happy.

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Heucheras Aplenty

Heuchera 'Caramel'

Heuchera ‘Caramel’

Heucheras have taken off with a bang of late, due to clever plant breeders. In the old days heuchera, (Coral Bells) were “dependable yet boring workhouse plants” with green leaves and red flowers that were thought ‘insignificant’. That’s all changed with the explosion of new varieties. It’s almost impossible to keep track of them all, as they now rival the numbers we see in hostas and daylilies: a collectors dream.

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Zone Envy & The Joys of a Mild Winter

lime rickey heuchera

‘Lime Rickey’ heuchera, in mid-December still going strong.

Foliage perennials like heucheras (also called Coral Bells) are still bursting with life, even late in December this year. The  ‘Lime Rickey’ above was going gangbusters half way through December. Lime Rickey is classed as ‘evergreen’, but no herbaceous plant will be truly evergreen in our -25C winters here in Toronto. We have the super El Nino to thank for this year’s protracted mildness, giving our herbaceous plants a true shot at evergreen status, and I for one am enjoying it thoroughly. For gardeners, it’s been a joy to have the greenery survive this long.

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Plant Profile: Ornamental Grass, Hakonechloa macra

Hakonechloa grass at top left, with brunnera and hostas.

Hakonechloa grass at top left, with brunnera and hostas.

Ornamental grasses are fantastic low maintenance plants, but most need full sun. For bright garden colour in the shade, hakonechloa grass, also called Japanese Forest Grass is an absolute winner. It’s one of the few ornamental grasses that will grow in partial shade. Its graceful, curving, linear form adds texture and movement to the garden.

The luminous, yellow- striped leaved Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ was voted Perennial Plant of the Year for 2009 by the Perennial Plant Association, and there’s room for it in any garden. It blends beautifully with hostas and other shade tolerant plants. Who needs flowers when foliage looks this good? Hakonechloa mounds up to about a foot high and spreads about fifteen inches wide when mature. It adds an elegant and restful feel to your shady garden.



Ornamental Grass: Texture & Frills

miscanthus grass

Miscanthus sinensis seed heads forming soft curls in November.

One of the best ornamental grasses is the large, graceful Miscanthus, whose foliage and textured flower heads changes throughout the growing season. In mid summer, the flower heads flopped from side to side in the wind, like heavy straight hair.

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