This time of year, the houseplants have really been drawing most of my attention foliage-wise, like this Maranta leuconeura 'Silver Band'. The sunshine and lengthening days have triggered new growth on this plant, flushed a rosy purple.
Maybe the indoor garden has been garnering so much of my attention because I've been staring out the windows on rainy days. The windows I spend most of my time staring out of are filled with things like this:
Though I said most of my attention has been on the indoor garden, I'm going to move quickly on to the greenhouse. Maybe one of these days I'll do a post about some of my favorite houseplants. They deserve some attention, too. But not today. I managed to drag my lazy self outside to take photos of the garden.
Things are starting to wake up out in the greenhouse. I'm genuinely rather conflicted about the state of the greenhouse. It's become primarily storage for tender container plants that don't need temperatures as warm as those in the house. Originally, I wanted to use the greenhouse more for propagation. However, besides there not being much room left for cuttings and seeds, it's a little difficult to take care of such things when you spend half the week away from home, at least if any problems arise. Mold and damping off have proven rampant in the cool, humid conditions in the greenhouse, even with the use of a Safer brand sulfur fungicide. It does make starting seeds a bit difficult. The arrival of warmer weather and lengthening days should help with that a bit.
Well, did someone say tangent? Back to foliage. Lots of things are happening in the greenhouse now, but perhaps my favorite is the new growth on this unidentified Agapetes/Vaccinium species from the Rhododendron Species Botanic Garden. It will be nice when they are able to at least determine which genus is belongs to, so I don't have to type "Agapetes/Vaccinium" every time I refer to it.
Though propagation has proven a bit difficult with my weekly migrations, these Parahebe perfoliata cuttings, taken a couple weeks ago at the end of January, are already rooting. This is where the high humidity in the greenhouse is actually beneficial. I'm not able to water these for 3-4 days each week, but they've only gotten a little dry while I'm gone, and that probably only during that sunny weekend. The cooler months, from the end of October to perhaps March or April, seem to be the best time for taking cuttings of this beautiful evergreen subshrub. I'm glad it's so easy to propagate. I want lots more!
My abused, carved up parent plant, source of the cuttings above, has donated limbs twice now to produce more plants. Can you tell? No? It produced plenty of new growth in fall, so I didn't feel guilty taking a second batch of cuttings. I cut the stems down to sections 2-3 nodes long, so a single stem can produce 3-6 cuttings.
Ceanothus 'Tuxedo' and Yucca filamentosa. Both of these are repeats by now especially the yucca. But they're so photogenic.
Something new, Lunaria annua 'Rosemary Verey' from Annie's Annuals. Why grow a plain green money plant when you can grow one with dark purple foliage? The flowers are darker than normal, too. So far the slugs and cutworms have mostly left this and its sibling alone, unlike the Trachelium caeruleum 'Hammer Pandora' I planted at the same time. Those have been devoured. Good thing I kept one potted in the greenhouse to plant out later in spring.
Since we're on the topic of purple foliage (Yes, we are. Didn't you know?) here's Rhododendron Bob's Blue. I like how the dark, bronzy purple winter color sets off the bright flower buds.
Lonicera crassula 'Rualzam' also darkens in winter. The color contrasts nicely with a windblown twig covered in lichen.
I think my new camera has finally managed to capture the subtle range of colors produced by Satureja douglasii (yerba buena) in winter. It took awhile to fully color up this winter, with such mild weather. Greens, purples, and yellow shades intermingle in an intricate carpet. This is a fantastic native for dry shade to half-sun.
Another native that I've shared here before, Goodyera oblongifolia, or rattlesnake plantain.
Penstemon cardwellii forms a beautiful evergreen mat of foliage. It handles lower elevations and snow-less winters better than Penstemon rupicola, in the next picture.
Penstemon rupicola looks pretty good this year, though it still had a bit of leaf loss and discoloration. This species really grows better above 1000 feet, preferably on a rock face or on a scree slope, with a reliable blanket of snow during cold weather. It suffers a bit at lower elevations, with heavy rains instead of snow, and mild temperatures that prevent it from fully preparing for freezing temperatures. But even when it has suffered severe damage, it has rebounded quickly.
This area still has a lot of filling in to do (like most of my garden) but I love how vibrant the orange of the Carex testacea has become, and how it contrasts with the Blackbird euphorbia.
Sedum reflexum 'Spanish Selection' has been chewed on a little, but overall has held up well over winter. I like the relatively coarse texture and blue color, though the latter is rather reduced in this picture.
Sorbaria sorbifolia 'Sem', a gift from Anna at Flutter & Hum, is leafing out. The new growth is beautiful. I'm a little anxious to see how it will spread after reading others' experiences, but perhaps the horrible clay soil it's in will help to slow it down. I'm also using this photo for my Wednesday Vignette. I love the Sorbaria foliage with the silver of Carex comans in the background.
I can finally take satisfactory pictures of Leptospermum lanigerum 'Silver Form'. My last camera didn't have a shallow enough depth of field to get a shot like this, which I took with an old Sears lens I had in the closet fitted onto my new camera with an adapter. The 55mm Sears lens becomes a 110mm lens on my micro 4/3 camera, making for a perfectly serviceable macro lens.
New growth of Hemerocallis fulva 'Flore Pleno' (I think. It could be 'Kwanso' or another double orange daylily.)
Slugs and cutworms decimated the foliage of Erodium chrysanthum, but the new growth is so intricate and fascinating. I think it would have gone semi-deciduous anyway, regardless of pests chewing on it.
Acanthus syriacus went dormant shortly after I planted it (late last spring or early last summer, I think), but I wasn't too worried. And look, new growth!
Sedum 'Antique Grill' and Prunella vulgaris make a nice combo. I'm ok with these two mingling and spreading to cover this particular area. It will help keep the weeds down.
A close-up of Sedum 'Antique Grill'
Another close-up I had trouble photographing before, the new growth on Podocarpus 'Blue Gem'.
Berberis x stenophylla 'Corallina Compacta' has a smattering of red and yellow leaves interspersed amongst the green.
I love the foliage and form of 'Foxtail' rosemary. It's a spreading, arching plant, forming an almost herring-bone pattern of branches. The leaves are held so that you can see the white undersides, giving the whole plant an attractive bicolor effect.
'Top Hat' blueberries buds expanding.
Not foliage, but I love the white and grey mottled bark of this Clethra barbinervis, a gift from another gardening friend, Kate Bryant. Plant people are the best!
Another gift from Anna, Rubus lineatus surprised me with new growth in January, and I've been watching it expand. Given how we traumatized the roots extracting it from her garden, I'm a little surprised it survived at all.
I posted a photo of this patch of galanthus in my GBBD post yesterday, but I wanted to include another without the open flowers. I love the contrasting textures of the galanthus foliage and the Sedum album.
You know, I might have less trouble with repeats if I showed a little more restraint with my Foliage Follow-up posts. But I can't help it! I always take tons of pictures for Bloom Day, so shouldn't I have at least as much foliage to show, too?