Tag Archives: Shade Gardening

Fine Foliage Fusion

It’s going to be a stunning spring day here in the Pacific Northwest and I’m thinking about shade combinations with pink foliage. All of these plants are on my back porch waiting for their starring role in my client’s landscapes and containers for the summer.

Obviously, there are still more choices to add to this for more contrast, but I wanted to focus on some of the amazing foliage at my fingertips today in this slim color profile. There’s an unending number of coleus and caladium options that I can add in here too, just too many to share today. What other pink foliage can you think of for a shade garden or container?

As I get ready to run out the door to get working, I hope you enjoy a quick little tour of the pink display I’m enjoying right outside my window until they get installed!

Cordyline fruticosa

Variegated Fuchsia Magellanica

Rex Begonia

Heuchera ‘Berry Smoothie’

Hypoestes (Polka Dot plant)

Fine Foliage Fusion

Fittonia ‘Pink Angel’

Fine Foliage Fusion

Fittonia ‘Frankie’

Deschampsia ‘Northern Lights’

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Winter Roses? It’s ALL About the LEAVES

Penny's Pink Hellebore

Penny’s Pink Hellebore

No matter whether you call them Winter Rose, Lenten Rose or Christmas Rose, the elegant winter blooming perennial formally called helleborus or hellebore is no slouch performer in the winter garden. Prized for the stunning blooms they provide, some early cultivars begin blooming at the holidays and then later blooming options that can power on for months into early spring. Many have blooms that evolve and change color, lasting as late as May before needing to be tidied up so that other super star plants can take the stage.

However, Team Fine Foliage dares to show you the OTHER facet of the gorgeous hellebore, the FOLIAGE! The options are amazing for foliage that is mostly evergreen, tough as nails and so showy. So, grab a cup of your favorite warm winter beverage, snuggle up if you are stuck in the snow and have a long look at what unique and stunning options you have for splashy cold season leaves.

Hellebore 'Winter Moonbeam'

Hellebore ‘Winter Moonbeam’ has a fun speckled pattern that is fabulous when mixed with other patterned foliage. Heucherella ‘Stoplight’ showing beautiful winter color too. Note the subtle burgundy centers on this hellebore and how the two plants compliment each other with “color echoes”. 

This exciting new hybrid ‘Winter Moonbeam’ has many foliage facets depending on the particular plant and exposure. You could have some luscious variations of the creamy moon beam white color. Be sure to follow the link to see the variations!

'Winter Moonbeam' is lovely in the rain!

‘Winter Moonbeam’ is lovely in the rain!

'Winter Moonbeam' hellebore

‘Winter Moonbeam’ hellebore

Hellebore 'Silver Dollar' with a deep dark heuchera shines like only valuable silver can!

Hellebore ‘Silver Dollar’ with a deep dark heuchera shines like only valuable silver can!

The heavily toothed ‘Silver Dollar’ hellebore is small but mighty. Can you see the “color echo” here? This is one of the design tools that Team Fine Foliage likes to illustrate in our many talks. Those subtle cues that link plants together by color, we call them a “color echo”. In winter when you don’t necessarily have the bold, brash and bawdy combinations that you can take in at a glance. You have to look closely and appreciate the small details.

Hellebore 'Silver Dollar'

Hellebore ‘Silver Dollar’

THIS ‘Silver Dollar’ hellebore is showing more of a red center than the one above and the green veining on the particular plants foliage is highly contrasted with the super silvery foliage. But, when you layer this one next to the bright green Rockfoil (Saxifrage arenas) foliage, WOW, that green pops!

Hellebore 'Silver Dollar'

Hellebore ‘Silver Dollar’ in the winter sunshine lights up the garden and container.

Helleborus f. 'Wester Flisk'

Hellebore ‘Wester Flisk’

Don’t let the name of THIS gorgeous hellebore keep you away from these leaves in your garden!    The Bearsfoot or Stinking hellebore has long, narrow leaves with a toothed edge that lends great textural interest to so many wonderful garden combinations. Formally called Helleborus foetidus or Fetid Hellebore, this lovely hybrid called ‘Wester Flisk’ brings a warm red-toned detail into the garden. This particular hybrid may not be fully evergreen in some colder climates, but it will emerge and leaf out early. Check here for more details on this fabulous plant. 

Hellebore 'Gold Bullion' paired with a showy patterned Heuchera

Hellebore ‘Gold Bullion’ paired with a showy patterned Heuchera

The sensational Bearsfoot hellebore is a flexible option for foliage combinations throughout the year. But, in late winter and early spring, the bolder ‘Gold Bullion’ gives a bit of the sunny warmth of golden tones that we crave this time of the year, particularly in low light locations.

This container shines in  a shady forest location between the 'gold Bullion' hellebore and the red pot, it brings sunny warmth to the shade!

This container shines in a forested setting, between the ‘Gold Bullion’ hellebore and the red pot, it brings sunny warmth to the shade!

'Silver Lace' hellebore shines against a gray-green spruce shrub.

‘Silver Lace’ hellebore shines against a gray-green spruce shrub.

Also known as the ‘Corsican’ hellebore, this particular plant named Hellebores argutifolius ‘Silver Lace’ is one tough plant! The leathery leaves in glowing silver will reward you in late winter, early spring voluminous apple-green blooms on a plant that can grow 3ft. tall and wide. As if that weren’t enough, this one in particular is VERY deer resistant. It’s not tender and tasty enough!

The plants we’ve shown off for you this week are all listed as being shade tolerant, and mostly indestructible. But, be sure to ask a horticulturist at your local independent garden center for hellebore’s with sassy and splashy foliage that will be happy in your zone.

If you think you NEED flowers to be satisfied in the winter garden, think again!

And now for something WE think you’ll really LOVE! One half of Team Fine Foliage, Karen Chapman has created a fantastic video gardening series with Craftsy.com and now she is a FINALIST in the Craftsy Blogger Awards contest for the BEST INSTRUCTORS BLOG -FINE FOLIAGE!!!!

We would be SO honored to have your vote and if you are so inclined to share this post, we are on the last day voting! Thanks in advance for ALL of your amazing support!
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Hot White Chic Style for Summer 2014

By now you might have noticed that I have a certain affinity for shade plants. Maybe it’s because I don’t have that much shade in my own yard to play in that it grabs my focus SO much. Maybe it is also because I love the challenge of finding new and different ways to bring light and airiness to dark places.

Spider Web Fatsia container in a shady nook.

Spider Web Fatsia container in a shady nook.

On a recent tour of gardens with 80 other garden bloggers in Portland Oregon, I noticed a hot trend among some of the designers that I took note of in particular. The use of this amazing new Fatsia ‘Spider Web’ or ‘Speckled Fatsia’. It brings a light bit of a tropical feeling to some darker corners. See the link for more details on this amazing and slightly rare plant.

'Yakushimanum' Rhododendron paired with the icy cool 'Spider Web' Fatsia.

‘Yakushimanum’ Rhododendron paired with the icy cool ‘Spider Web’ Fatsia brings a slightly masculine flair.

I was ceaselessly impressed by the drama these leaves could impart to almost any low-light location with the large palmate leaves and the elegant white Chanel-esque presence it brings to what could be a drab vignette.

A more feminine combination with the pink Lacecap Hydrangea.

A more feminine combination with the pink Lacecap Hydrangea.

If you live in a climate where you can’t grow this Fatsia outdoors, I’m told that it makes an exceptional houseplant. However you come to use this elegant and highly fashionable plant, it will serve you well and you just might become one of the many obsessed over designing with Fine Foliage in the shade.

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Lettuce Use Beautiful, Edible Foliage Too

June 2012 Containers 053Team Fine Foliage has been quite active in the arena of discussing, designing and writing about “Foodscaping” lately. Why not? It’s not only a hot, hip, trendy thing that everyone wants to know about right now, but it’s just good sense. It is the most base use of gorgeous edible foliage. Why shouldn’t our edible gardens be every bit as sexy and meaningful as our ornamental gardens? In fact, why can’t we have both at the same time and in the same place if possible, right?
Even with the added bonus of having to deal with the deer and rabbits, our protected areas and raised beds have lots of opportunity to feature gorgeous edible foliage as well as ornamental.

Karen Chapman's beautiful containers seated outside of her Vegetable Garden featuring dark brooding Dahlia foliage on a hot summer day.

Karen Chapman’s beautiful containers seated outside of her Vegetable Garden featuring dark brooding Dahlia foliage on a hot summer day.

Beautiful greens like lettuce and chard are incredibly easy edibles to grow either in beds or containers. There are SO many wonderful cultivars to try like the ‘Bright Lights’ Chard with a rainbow of bright colors running from the veins to the base of the stem. OR the vast selection of lettuce from heirloom to new hybrids and some that boast that they won’t bolt in the heat.
July 2011 Longwood 321

One of the beautiful things about lettuce in particular, when it comes to using it for its lovely design qualities is its flexibility.
April 2010 Miscellanous Plant Pics 007

How about in a container of mixed lettuce combined with edible flowers like organically grown violas?
Lettuce Combo Pots 9-15-09 001 copy

Or in a mixed container of ornamental’s and herbs like lemon thyme where you can harvest your lettuce a few leaves at a time while you appreciate your fragrant flowers like jasmine and mini daffodils.
March 2011 Flowers and Foliage 081

Here in Shawna Coronado’s front yard garden, she is using every opportunity to grow her greens in the shade of a few mature trees. You might not think that its possible, but Shawna has had such incredible success, she was able to donate a serious quantity of food to the food bank last summer from it. And it was beautiful too!
Front Lawn Vegetable Garden August 2012 2

Leaves are valuable in design as well as in our new “Foodscaping” culture. Here are two of my favorite resources for lettuce and many other beautiful plants with edible foliage. Both are wonderful companies. I even bought lots of seeds for Christmas gifts last year!
1) Renee’s Garden Seeds
2) Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Try growing a number of different types, they are SO incredibly easy. Maybe they will take the place of one or two of the flowers you might have thought of designing with in your garden before Fine Foliage came into your life. 🙂

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Then join in the foliage party – sign up to get these leafy snippets delivered right to your garden. (Follow the link in the sidebar)