I very rarely participate in Foliage Day, but this month I realized, “Hey, I have a few things I can show people!” So I went out and started taking pictures. Forty photos later, I decided to make this a two-part post!
Regular readers know I traditionally turn my side porch into a container garden each summer. This year, one corner is particularly foliage heavy:
This southwest corner gets some sun when it is still low in the sky early in the morning (when most of these pictures were taken), and then a good deal of afternoon sunlight. It is somewhat filtered by the window boxes of flowers on the very edges of the porch.
My Croton houseplant is responding well to its time outside, with brightly colored foliage and distinct variegation:
It partially shades a pot containing a coleus I saved by cutting from last year, a new Pineapple Sage (the one I held over from last year just did not do well), and a sweet potato vine (Ipomoea ‘Sidekick Black Heart’):The Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans) will eventually grow small red flowers that hummingbirds enjoy. Its leaves really do smell like pineapple! I’ve never used them for anything culinary, but understand they’re a good addition to fruit salad, iced tea, and mojitos!
Two of the plants in this corner came from friend and fellow blogger Frank at sorta like suburbia. One is this Elephant’s Ear:The original leaf is the palest one on the right. It’s held on for almost two years, since Frank unceremoniously hacked one of his tubers apart and sent this half home with me in a Wal-Mart bag! It’s faded, but otherwise healthy looking, so I see no reason to cut it off at this point. During the winter, I bring the plant inside and it lives as a houseplant in a west-facing window.
Here is its latest leaf, unfurled just three days ago:
The other plant from Frank is this scented geranium, which I kept going under lights in the basement all winter:It shares a pot with Purslane ‘Pazzaz Deep Pink’ (Portulaca oleracea) and Lantana ‘Lemon Zest’, chosen because they, like the geranium, prefer slightly dry soil.
The geranium has a few variegated leaves; I wish it had more. I don’t know whether the amount of light affects the variegation; this plant gets several hours of direct sun each day:This scented geranium’s scent is lemony.
Another spot on this porch holds a pot with a ninth or tenth generation descendant of a colorful (green, red, and yellow) giant coleus (not yet giant!). Though I took several cuttings last year, one is all I managed to save. I’m hoping to do better next year to keep the line going! I wrote about this coleus five years ago (have I really been blogging that long?!?!?); you can read more about it here.This pot also contains another large coleus (the dull burgundy one). I am an inveterate pincher when it comes to coleus, often nipping off the newest tips as they sprout, so the plants branch out and become fuller. You can see that both of the coleuses in this pot have started to do that. A wax begonia and an angel-wing begonia, which was also a hand-me-down from Frank, complete this pot. I love the pink coloration in the angel-wing’s leaves:It’s possible that this plant will bloom later this summer, since it gets a lot of bright light, but relatively little direct sun in this location.
Now here is a group waiting for a home. I found these babies on sale for $1.00 each at Agway the other day, and could not resist:There’s a very deep purple, almost black coleus, a pink polka-dot plant, a begonia with interesting green and yellow mottled leaves, and a ‘Herman’s Pride’ yellow Lamium. I plan to put three of these four together in a pot out on my front porch, where it will receive filtered bright light. Either the Lamium, which is a perennial, or the polka-dot plant, an annual, will go up to the lasagna bed. I like to see splashes of color up there, so chances are it will be the pink plant. I’ll let you know next month!
I have several Heucheras, mostly in the lasagna bed, but here is one that I transplanted last fall into a bed underneath a rhododendron that sits at the corner of the side porch:This is Heuchera ‘Marvelous Marble’. I am pleased with how happy it is here where it gets a combination of full morning sun and filtered afternoon light. Aren’t its leaves gorgeous?
All of my other Heucheras are up in the lasagna garden, some happier than others. This puny little thing is ‘Lime Marmalade’:
‘Grape Soda’ is doing a little better:I like to plant brightly colored plants that stand out in this bed since it is located up a hill some distance from the house. However, I’ve found that deer are more likely to sample the bright ones! Perhaps the flavor is sweeter? Additionally, while the light conditions up there are great for these coral bells, the soil’s moisture level is not. Three large trees shade the area, but also act as an umbrella when it rains, and their roots soak up a lot of the moisture. I tend to forget this problem until about this point in the summer when I wonder why the Heucheras and Astilbe aren’t doing as well as I would like. Only then do I begin to drag the hose up there a couple times a week to give the area a thorough soaking, and then things do begin to improve!
Heuchera ‘Paris’ is one of the better performers, and blooms with tiny bright pink flowers lining wispy stalks through most of the summer. Tiny as they are, the flowers show up from a distance, unlike the green plant. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lovely plant in a lovely shade of green; it just doesn’t make an impact from far away:
‘Rave On’ is another good bloomer (not as good as ‘Paris’), and an attractive plant:
Finally, here are some ‘Palace Purple’, divided from a much larger plant a few years ago and transplanted. Their color is a bit dull, perhaps because it’s so dry up here, but they grow well and the deer leave them alone. Maybe with a good watering regimen, they’ll become glossier and brighter burgundy:
In all honesty, seeing how well ‘Marvelous Marble’ is doing down by the rhododendron has me wondering whether I should make that area a Heuchera bed and choose some other things for the lasagna bed. Hmmm . . . I’ll have to dwell on that for a bit!
Tomorrow I’ll write more about what’s happening in the lasagna bed, and a few other areas as well!
Christina at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides hosts Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day on the 22nd of each month. Why not pop over to her site and see what sorts of things other gardeners have to offer this month?