Late August Foliage

And now I’m going to force myself to stop obsessing with brightly colored flowers and focus on some calming green stuff. This is something I need to do to keep from getting overstimulated. Fortunately, My Hesperides Garden hosts Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day to remind me of this essential aspect of the garden.

'Northwind' Switchgrass
‘Northwind’ Switchgrass

‘Northwind’ Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) probably has the most dramatic foliage in my garden at the moment. It has reached its full height and is about to launch it’s airy panicles of tiny flowers. The two clumps of ‘Northwind’ in the Sidewalk Border have reached an impressive size, a mass of tightly packed vertical stems.

Wild Indigo
Wild Indigo

This year I tried to cut back the wild indigo (Baptisia australis) without also cutting off all the seed heads. 

Wild Indigo seed pods
Wild Indigo seed pods

Judy is among the people who think that the Baptisia seed pods are quite ornamental. I could take them or leave them.

Swamp Milkweed seed pods
Swamp Milkweed seed pods

On the other hand, I’m very fond of milkweed seed pods, especially when they are fully ripe and begin to open. These Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) pods have got a few weeks to go before they reach that stage.

East Side Border
East Side Border

Over on the east side bed, it’s all foliage now: Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum), Celandine Poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum), Red Elderberry (Sambucus racemosa), among others.

Path to the back garden
Path to the back garden

On the west side of the house the Lady Ferns (Athyrium filix-femina) and Wild Ginger (Asarum canadensis) along the path to the back garden has stayed remarkably green. Only the Great Merrybells (Uvularia grandiflora) is starting to get crispy around the edges.

Silky Wild Rye
Silky Wild Rye

In the back garden, the seed heads of shade tolerant Silky Wild Rye (Elymus vilosus) are just starting to emerge from their sheaths.

Wild Black Raspberry patch
Wild Black Raspberry patch

I also like the leaves of wild black raspberry (Rubus occidentalus), which grows in a little patch at the base of the Silver Maple tree (Acer saccharinum). 

Calladium in containers with New Guinea Impatiens.
Calladium in containers with New Guinea Impatiens.

And Calladium is the primary foliage plant in the containers for shade.

What’s your favorite plant for foliage in August?

23 Comments on “Late August Foliage

  1. Hi Jason it’s great you joined on this month. Looking at your images rather proves my point that even the most floriferous garden has to depend on foliage for a lot of the time even if only in a supporting role. Love the Panicum.

  2. Jason that stone walkway is such a lovely spot on your garden. All the photos are lovely. My favourite foliage? I love the false indigo because it remains so perfectly green and blemish free and also I like the peony foliage, especially when it turns a little burgundy. Have a great weekend.

    • The peony foliage can be very nice if it doesn’t develop downy mildew. Mine has stayed very healthy this year and looks good.

  3. Best plant for foliage? Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis), first, last, and always. My Silky Rye (Elymus villosus) begins to bloom mid-June.

  4. ‘Northwind’ does make a strong vertical feature. I love that inviting view of the path leading to your back gardens.

  5. Many gardeners are focused on flowers and forget about foliage and the texture they provide. I even leave a few dead stems through the winter such a large sedums or large grasses such as pampas grass.

  6. The shady beds look very restful, such a difference from the buzzing, colorful front yard!
    I like the silky rye but the wild blackberry makes me want to reach for the spade. I have it out back and can’t get rid of the calf shredding sprouts that always grab on to me.

    • I’ve been debating with myself what to do about the wild raspberry. I keep it inside this one bed, although eventually it will completely take over.

  7. My variegated lime, grass green weigelia which has a white line along the edging and red stems has to take it at the moment. It reminds me of that beautiful hosta that started all the virus X ruckus a few years back. The flowers are for the most part a no show.

    Northern sea oats, which you featured a couple posts back, is also fabulous.

    You know, if I ever make it south again, I’m going to be knocking on your door to see your gardens in person!

  8. I find the subtle cool shades of greens soothing in the summer heat! I love both the seed pods. I wonder if wild indigo would grow in Houston?

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