Seeds, Berries, and Foliage in the June Garden
Seeds, berries, and foliage sounds like some kind of trail mix, although it would have to be called seeds-berries-n-foliage because apparently the word “and” is bad branding, as you never see it in the names of consumer products. Commas also seem to depress market demand.
But this post is not about consumer products, it is about some of the things you can see in my garden during the relative lull of late June. While there are some blooms right now, many flowering stars of spring and summer are more notable for their leaves, fruits, and seedheads. Foliage plants are also more noticeable.
For example, there is bishop’s weed (Aegopodium podagraria). Now I know this is considered a terribly invasive pest, but in my garden I have found the variegated form to be quite manageable. I am careful to nip off any flower heads to prevent seed production, and there have been no bishops pillaging adjacent flower beds. I also destroy any non-variegated leaves that emerge. (The common name makes you wonder about the reputation of bishops in olden times.)
In fact, I was worried that the bishop’s weed would overrun the nearby great merrybells (Uvularia grandiflora), but the merrybells seem to be more than holding their own. The bishop’s weed in my garden is inherited – I wouldn’t plant any myself, but I haven’t felt the need to do away with it.
Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium reptans) foliage persist through the season, and the seed capsules are quite attractive. Though this is a North American native, another common name is Greek valerian, isn’t that odd?
Solomon’s Plume (Smilacina racemosa) is another native for shady spots. Right now it has tiny green berries that will later turn red. A problem I have had with this plant is that it tends to flop when the berries ripen. Some of these are leaning on containers planted with Caladiums and New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri).
Here and there a lone yellow flower will pop out among the celandine poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum), but really they have been done for a while. The foliage is gradually fading, but still has an appealing look to it.
The seed heads of Allium aflatunense ‘Purple Sensation’ remain decorative in an odd way. To me they suggest an Unidentified Green Object (UGO) exploding somewhere in outer space.
When we moved here there were patches of this wild strawberry, which I decided to treat as a ground cover. This is not the native North American wild strawberry, Fragaria virginiana, which I use extensively, also as a ground cover. I’ve thought that maybe it was barren strawberry (Waldsteinia fragarioides) – the flowers are yellow, but clearly it is not barren. Anybody have an idea?
Starry Solomon plume’s (Smilacina stellata) berries are my favorite, at least among herbaceous plants. The stripes are so cool! Birds like them, too. The foliage is also appealing.
I’m growing nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) in my sunny containers for the first time in a long while. In the past I’ve had trouble getting them to bloom. But even if they don’t bloom, I really like the unique round foliage – and I also like the way they spill over the edge. Here’s our botanical word for today: peltate, which is when a leaf is roundish with the stem attached from beneath, as with nasturtiums. Comes from the Latin word for a small shield.
And finally, this is a little off topic but I just have to say that my Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ is really peaking right now. Actually, it’s not completely off topic because the red stems and reddish leaves are really nice.
There are more interesting foliage plants to show, but Judy stopped taking pictures because she was tired of serving as a moveable feast for the mosquitos. We’ll get to some of them in future posts.
I am tardily linking this with Christina at My Hesperides Garden, who hosts the meme Garden Bloggers Foliage Day. Check out the link to see more great foliage.
What’s your favorite foliage, fruit, or seedhead at the moment?