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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Foliage Foes

Not all plants with fancy foliage can be considered friends.

As I've mentioned earlier on in this foliage thread, some plants with beautiful foliage can be horribly invasive. What's invasive for me might not be invasive for you but when you hear a number of gardeners moan "Oh why did I plant that in my garden", you know that this one is a problem in many locations.

Pacysandra is a love it or hate it kind of plant. For almost all my gardening life it was a "hate it" plant for me. Only in the last year or two have I found the desire to try it in the right location (such as under a tree where I can't get anything else to grow).

Interwoven through the Pacysandra is Aegopodium variegatum which has several nicknames such as Bishop's weed or Gout weed. My second year at this house a garden club member brought me a huge plastic bag full of Aegopodium as a house warming gift. Thankfully my gut instinct kicked in and I put the whole thing in the trash barrel. I'm not saying I haven't seen successful, even beautiful plantings of this plant. I just don't think it's well behaved enough to incorporate in a garden that is not confined by many feet of hardscape.

Sometimes you come across a foliage plant that could be well behaved but looking at it just makes you cringe. Yes, we all obviously have different tastes in things but some plants just aren't meant to be (at least not in MY garden). I love Ligularias and highly recommend them in most cases but this spotted variety just sets my hair on edge.

Thick fuzzy gray foliage such as you see here on this Salvia argentea is another "love it" or "hate it" trait. This one would be a "Love it" for me but I've only tried it once and did not have any success. It could be that I put it in too moist a spot or incorporated too much manure in the soil. It seems to me like this plant would like a leaner, well drained spot in full sun. If you have luck growing this in your garden please leave me a comment telling me what it likes.

Last but not least, another spotted leaf here. This one is on a Begonia, there was no tag to tell me the cultivar name. It just seems to me like somebody tripped as they were walking by and splattered a bunch of paint on this plant. Begonia leaves can be beautiful on their own with their thick waxy green finish. In other words, you won't find this in my containers.

Stay tuned, tomorrow I'll wrap up my foliage thread with some fun foliage shots.


Anonymous said...

Melanie--I've never seen spotted begonia--that was neat. I can always count on begonias in my garden. That large leafed salvia you have shown above drove us nuts at the nursery we worked at. I can't think of it's common name--is it hobbit's foot? Anyway---it never liked any condition we grew it in. It is so temperamental. My favotire silver leaf plant in the garden is Wormwood--a type of artemesia. Love your pics.

kate said...

I just went back to one of your old posts and read about Calie. What a wonderful dog she is - she is adorable too!!

I have tried Salvia argentea, but not in this garden. Mine rotted in the centre and I didn't replace it. I lived in a hot, humid summer climate then which is quite different from my current dry one. (I liked the look of the leaves and was sad when it died out).

My parents have a spot where goutweed looks great. It fights with a Virginia Creeper in an enclosed space. I wouldn't plant it anywhere in my garden though, for fear it would overtake my garden.

I have a major dislike of Chinese Lanterns after they spread like wildfire through a garden bed. It took several years to eradicate them.

I'm with you on this particular Ligularia - I don't like the yellow spots. They look really odd.

GardenJoy4Me said...

Hi Melanie
I'm enjoying this thread with foliage information. I have been lucky for the most part and not had too many invasive bullies. I did plant Limelight Artemisia one year .. thought it was great .. next year how it got to the other side of the garden I have no idea .. went on a pullout mission ..and regretted not keeping one that I could control. We learn all sorts of things from mistakes ! haha
My favorite .. Jack Frost Brunnera .. I haven't even seen those sweet blue flowers in Spring yet .. I just fell in love with it's foliage !

Melanie Vassallo said...

Oh happy morning. How nice to log on and find comments waiting for me :-)

I kind of guessed that salvia would be hard to grow since I visit lots and lots of gardens and never see it anywhere. To me, that's the final judge, if something grows well you'll find it in other gardens.

Brunnera are a big favorite here but I haven't found a photo yet of them that I like. Pulmonaria too but I always seem to try to take a photo of the flowers and just haven't figured them out yet.

jodi said...

I've grown Salvia argentea several times, Melanie, and it is variously listed as a biennial or short-lived perennial. I get it to overwinter no problem despite our weather--the part of the bed where it is is reasonably welldrained--but once it flowers it's done, and I haven't had seedlings from it. So I just buy it every year or so when I see it, because it's so striking. Grey foliaged plants are lovely to me, another neutral sort of plant.

Hoot Owl Hollow Nursery said...

I grow Salvia argentea every year from seed so I can have it in a few different places (my garden is 7+ acres). I have decided that it's like some of the cactus or agaves and can take the cold but not the dampness along with the cold in the winter. This year I've tried my cactus trick and put an old aquarium over one as a sort of dry greenhouse and we'll see how that works. Our local pet shop saves cracked ones for us to use in the garden.
So glad you're writing again. What a treat when I checked this morning and found all of these wonderful pictures and ideas.