Let’s face it, flowers are superior to foliage. This is especially true in May, when some gardeners (I’m not naming names) can be driven into ecstasies by masses of colorful tulips and other spring flowers. However, this does not mean that foliage should be ignored at this or any time of year.
Certainly, Ostrich Ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris) contribute some drama to the garden by the end of May. These ferns are in the front foundation bed, and provide a nice background for all the Bleeding Heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis).
Here’s another view of the Ostrich Ferns, backlit by the sun.
Certain persons have suggested my garden needs some tropical plants for bold foliage. To these people I say: have you noticed the leaves on the Sweet Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum)?
Or the Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum)? And this is just May, they’re not done growing.
Not that there isn’t plenty of fine textured greenery, like this Palm Sedge (Carex muskingumensis)?
Many spring flowers are ephemeral, fading away after they flower. With sufficient moisture, though, Great Merrybells (Uvularia grandiflora) makes a nice groundcover through the year.
Celandine Poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum) leaves get tattered in the heat of summer, but make a comeback in fall. By now their flowers are almost completely gone. I like the soft, distinctly lobed foliage that is left behind.
Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum) is still blooming like crazy, but I also appreciate the shiny, deeply cut leaves. The fallen petals add a dainty touch.
Lady Ferns (Athyrium filix-femina) are not as imposing as their cousins the Ostrich Ferns, but they are compact and elegant.
I really like the rough texture and large Maple shape of Purple Flowering Raspberry (Rubus odoratus) leaves.
Bloodroot is really confusing me. Did I miss the flowers? Or is it not going to bloom at all? Under the leaves there are what look like flower buds, but maybe they are just seed capsules. Interesting leaves, either way.
Now, this is a breakthrough moment for me. I have purchased three Hostas to add to our wheelbarrow planter in the back garden: two ‘August Moon’ and one ‘Orange Marmalade’. In doing so I overcame a longstanding dislike of Hostas.
However, I could not deny that this planter needed something with large leaves to provide contrast to the little ‘Penny White’ Viola tricolor. We’ll see if this is another plant I can become fond of despite my instinctive negative reaction.
I am linking this post to Christine’s Foliage Day meme on her blog, My Hesperides Garden. Follow the link to see more delightful May foliage.