Sunday, June 26, 2011

Few flowers, lots of green

I learned early on that evergreens in a garden are its backbone, but my primary reason for deciding to inter-plant the roses with evergreens was to hide the fact that the roses had very few leaves. A beginner gardener can't expect to have everything, I guess, and leaves were the things I was sorely missing in the first year or two. Human beings are not always the quickest learners and nature can move quite slowly anyway, but a  person can only look at bare rose canes for so long before she becomes nauseated, so this was my remedy.

'Red Ruffle' azaleas I had in abundance because I had selected them for the original landscaping when we built this house. I found out they transplant quite well, so they are scattered around most parts of the garden. Encore azaleas seemed to be just what the doctor ordered but haven't lived up to to their advertisements in my garden. Half of the four I bought died from my higher pH as did a couple of 'Red Ruffles', and the other two need regular soil sulfur applications. The remaining two do not bloom except in the spring with the other azaleas. I should have just bought more 'Red Ruffles'.
In shade

Or sun

Liriope - both variegated and 'Evergreen Giant' and now 'Super Blue' - are staples in my garden. There's something about those slender green leaves waving in the breeze that sets my mind at ease.

I tried two 'Dwarf Walter's Viburnum'. One died; the other is nice and green but is an extremely slow grower and didn't bloom this spring. It's leaves are about 1/2" to 3/4" - very little.

'Regina', Giant Apostle's Iris, came into the garden this spring. So far I like them. Only one has bloomed, and they are getting quite large in a short time, so I don't know if I'll be constantly dividing them or removing them if they start getting out of control. Obviously, their stiff verticality is an interesting element that was missing before they came, so I'd like to keep them.

Daylily greenery is becoming more of a presence as the plants mature. Their flowers bring wonder into the garden, but the plants themselves are not only interesting but space-filling without the bother of planting annuals every year or deadheading perennials. If chosen wisely, daylilies can bloom well into the heat of summer and the foliage can last through winter.

In my shade areas I have several kinds of azaleas, several kinds of hydrangeas, a ginger of some kind and, of course, the oak tree suckers that are the bane of my life.
This azalea is called 'Red Formosa' but it's more of a deep magenta, and the leaves are deep green with a tinge of burgundy - and very pretty.
'George Taber' or 'Mrs. George Taber'- Leaves are a much more yellow green, almost chartreuse.
 'Limelight' Hydrangea paniculata is blooming today. It's leaves appear below.
Variegated Lacecap Hydrangea doesn't bloom much in my garden, its flowers aren't much to look at, and they don't last long, but the foliage is reason enough for me to love it.

'Duc de Rohan' azalea blooms from October thru the end of azalea season with coral flowers. Its leaves are smaller than my other azaleas.
Some roses' foliage is worthy of boasting. There's no doubt I could have found others, but my camera battery died. Here are four.

'White Pet' (a polyantha)
'Enchantress' (a Tea rose) - Here is the definition of flowers few and far between - today anyway.
'Souvenir de la Malmaison', being the queen of the garden, is green and  blooming, of course.
'Bow Bells' continues to amaze me with her healthy foliage and increasing size in her shady spot.
And did you see the flower bud?
However, there are always some flowers in the garden - just in case you need your fix.
'Stokesia' Aster

'Napoleon' - China rose from 1835 looking too cute.

'Blueberry Frost'

'Souv de la Malmaison'

'Souv de la Malmaison' reminding me of old lace

'Souv de la Malmaison' sharing the spotlight with her oh, so healthy foliage

'Madame Lombard' -a Tea rose from 1878 in one of her many looks.
Greenery is a good thing in a garden, and I like having a lot of it. As someone once said, you shouldn't be able to see the mulch. I'd much rather look at all those shades of green.


  1. Great idea to post about evergreens, Sherry! Having visited many gardens in England recently I am much more aware of how much they do for a garden and the gardener :-). I think, roses are at their best if they can stand out against a green background. Your 'Souvernir de la Malmaison' is so incredible beautiful I get never tired of seeing pictures of it and I love the 'Blueberry Frost' day lily. Such a love shade of light pink. My one and only day lily advertised as pink is opening flowers right now that are coral, arrgh, they totally don't fit with my color scheme in the garden and even clash with the roses. Another day lily that probably will leave my garden soon.

  2. Oh, no, Masha! Give it a while. The first flower is not usually typical plus they seem to vary all season. For example, that Blueberry Frost has been several colors this season – none of them blue. Today was the first time for this color. I was worried about clashing colors when I chose mine, but I have found that I only see the daylilies and not their surroundings – and vice versa. They’re so attractive they really steal the show. I wish we were closer – I’d take ALL of your rejects.

  3. Oh, Christina, I'm gonna show my brain the shovel and see if it doesn't straighten up. So sorry.

  4. What a wonderful collection of foliage shots and of blooms too. Your gardens are filled with so much beauty.


  5. Very nice post ! The greens are so important ! Thank you, Sherry .

  6. Yes, evergreens are so important, and something we often overlook. I have a hedge growing behind most of my roses, but it's so tiny right now I'm wondering how long it will be before it looks like a hedge! (at least 5 years is my guess) Absolutely love the leaves of your dwarf viburnum!

  7. You are so right about the hard-working green plants that fill in the holes and make the flowers look ever so pretty. I have one oak that suckers and it is very frustrating. Such a nice big area for plants and it's almost impossible with the suckers. How do you deal with yours?

  8. Thank you, FlowerLady. The back isn’t as packed as the front so it doesn’t seem as complete to me, but there are nice things in it.

    Dani, I must say that this post started out to be a quickee filled with leaf shots but grew into something quite pleasing. I’m glad that you feel likewise.

    What is your hedge made of, HolleyGarden? Shrubs do take a while to gain size – kinda like roses. lol I’ll have to post a photo of the Dwarf Walter’s Viburnum. It’s quite odd looking now.

    Susan, I deal with the suckers by constantly cutting them or ripping them out. It seems as though every week they’ve grown back. But I don’t cut them every week. I have a tree in the front near the driveway bed that I surrounded with dense nylon fabric about 3’ out from the trunk (the only area where the suckers came up) and then laid about 3”-4” of river rock (recycled from the patio) on top of the fabric. No suckers!! But no other plants either. That’s OK though. Where there’s a will there’s a way!