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This is my first Foliage Follow-Up post.  Normally, I’m all about colorful blooms, but there is so much non-flowering interest happening in May that I couldn’t let it go by unnoticed!

Here, around the Rose of Sharon by my front porch, are some divisions of Heuchera ‘Purple Palace’ that I transplanted here about ten days ago.  003This plant, which I easily divided into five plantlets, was sharing space with two astilbes, and things were just too crowded.  In addition, the space it had inhabited was rather dark, and it was hard to see its deep burgundy-leafed beauty.  These new transplants receive the same sun exposure as before, from sunrise until just after noon, but now they have more room, and it is easier to see them.  I think some light-colored mulch or pebbles are in order here!

Here are ‘Purple Palace’s’ former neighbors, two different astilbe.  You can see that quarters were tight in that space!  In fact, I think it would be wise to move one of these astilbes somewhere else to give the other room to flourish.  I missed the ideal window of early spring to do that, though, and should probably add it to my September to-do list.008These astilbe are flanked by two Allium ‘Gladiator.’  They popped through the ground during a winter thaw and were then frozen again; I think that’s why their foliage is so brown at the ends.

These plants occupy a shrub filled bed along the front sidewalk.  It’s a jungle in there, with three mature rhododendrons, two burning bushes, an arborvitae, and one barberry.    We inherited it all when we bought this house nine years ago, and have in fact, removed at least three shrubs already!  016I suppose the most logical thing would be to extract the barberry, which tends to choke out the burning bushes and extend its thorny stems over the walkway, but I do like it for the color it adds to this bed.  Also, this time of year, it bears these pretty yellow flowers!012In the open corner of this shrubby tangle, some of last year’s Dusty Miller have rejuvenated themselves.  The new growth starts out green, and matures to the gray we recognize in mature plants.  Dusty Miller is not totally reliable as a perennial; I’d say about half of my plants from the previous summer winter over well and come back nicely for a second year.  Sorry, but I haven’t kept good enough track to know whether any have come back for a third year.004

At the side of the house, two small beds of succulents enjoy the hot conditions afforded them by full day sun exposure next to the driveway and stone patio.  075074A small patch of Lamb’s Ear thrives at the corner of the side porch, always striving to invade more territory!  It’s a constant battle of the wills with this stuff–kind of reminds me of my teenagers!  Like the Dusty Miller, Lamb’s Ear starts out green and gradually transposes to a soft greenish-gray hue.  079In the rock garden, the ferns and monarda are poised to stage a coup! I have a love-hate relationship with the ferns.  They are a beautiful backdrop to the rest of the flowers in the rock garden, but, man, are they ever invasive!  It’s practically a full-time job to keep them under control!023They really do soften the look of these boulders, though!038And the bee balm (monarda)!  I so, so regret ever moving any of it to this garden!  Thinning it out is at the top of the list for this weekend.  Then I plan to pinch about half of it back, as per instructions in The Well-Tended Perennial Garden, by Tracy DiSabato-Aust.  This will help extend the bloom period, as well as keep it all from getting too tall.  026034Sadly overshadowed by the bee balm, here are some balloon flower shoots.  They are among the later perennials to poke through each year, resembling little snake heads or asparagus tips when they emerge.  I like the purple at the base of their stems.071The ferns and bee balm would like to overtake the thread leaf coreopsis as well, though it is doing its level best to spread itself along the garden border.024There is a good deal of other light, feathery foliage in the rock garden now, too.  Here, hiding behind old daffodil fronds, is the Russian sage I put in last year.  It’s another plant that will grow grayer, almost silver, as it ages.  048This yarrow has so far escaped the appetite of the woodchuck.  If you look closely, you may be able to detect why I did not stick my hand down there to pull the weed out of it before I took the picture!  Sigh . . . one of the drawbacks of my lovely rock garden!030Geum ‘Mrs. Bradshaw’ is a lovely plant, even without its flowers.044And here is one of three neat mounds of Sedum ‘Autumn Joy.’  020Down at the far end, I am still waiting to see Narcissus ‘Baby Moon’ bloom.  There are some tiny flower stalks amidst its very thin, grass-like foliage.  I’m not a big fan so far; perhaps it will win me over when it finally flowers.065

Our tour today ends in the vegetable garden, with some lovely baby red lettuce, and some young peas, just putting out their delicate tendrils (looking for a trellis that does not exist yet!).  060053Perpendicular to these short rows of cool weather crops, runs a small hedge of oregano.    When I planted oregano seeds here two years ago, I had no idea that it would come back year to year, and certainly no idea that it would fill in this thick!  What a nice border plant it could be, don’t you think?055Pam from the blog Digging is kind enough to host Foliage Follow-Up each month, on the day after (or so) Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day.  It’s well worth checking her site to see what other gardeners are sharing each month!