Silver foliage cools down a hot Foliage Follow-Up


Now that the Death Star is lasering central Texas with its high beam again, I appreciate more than ever those visually cooling, heat-loving, drought-tolerant plants in my garden. Silver ironweed (Vernonia lindheimeri var. leucophylla) is a beautiful example. With fine-textured, almost feathery, silver-white leaves, it stands up to the heat in morning sun, mulched with rot-preventing decomposed granite, with no supplemental irrigation. At all. Gotta love that!

So what lovely leaves are making you happy in your June garden? Please join me for Foliage Follow-Up, giving foliage plants their due on the day after Bloom Day. Leave your link to your Foliage Follow-Up post in a comment. I really appreciate it if you’ll also include a link to this post in your own post (sharing link love!). If you can’t post so soon after Bloom Day, no worries. Just leave your link when you get to it.

All material © 2006-2014 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Succulent lusciousness for Foliage Follow-Up


After the deep freeze that Austin experienced last winter, I had to replace three-quarters of the succulents in my cinderblock wall planter (click for the how-to) this spring. It’s still a bit sparse, but it’s nice to see all that pinchable — like a plump baby’s cheek — foliage settling in, knowing it’ll sail through the dog days of summer with only an occasional sprinkling of water.


With some extra cuttings, I filled my red Circle Pot, which hangs amid the live oaks for a dash of hot color in the dappled shade.


And the tapestry of succulents in my new Hover Dish is growing well — on one side, anyway. I’d neglected to turn the pot around so that both sides get light, but I remedied that yesterday evening.


I think I get more questions about the toothless sotol (Dasylirion longissimum) in the steel pipe than any other plant in my garden. Toothless sotol is not commonly grown in Austin, although you do see it around. This one came through the winter with absolutely no damage, and it just laughs at the Death Star.


Plus it’s shaped like a 1970s fiber-optic light. What’s not to love? The toothy agave in the tractor-rim planter at its feet is ‘Jaws’.


Variegated Spanish bayonet (Yucca aloifolia ‘Variegata’) is a relatively new addition, an impulse purchase from Vivero Growers. I like its verticality. I did have to cage it last fall and winter, fearing that the deer would antler it to oblivion.


Of course not all my plants are spiky and succulent. The Japanese maple (a species Acer palmatum) delights me in spring with leaves that glow like stained glass. Native river ferns (Thelypteris kunthii) are coming up at its feet.


Also glowing with new growth are a trio of giant mullein (Verbascum thapsus) in the raised bed out front. Their fuzzy texture is irresistible to one’s fingers when passing by.

Please join me in posting about your lovely leaves of May for Foliage Follow-Up, a way to remind ourselves of the importance of foliage in the garden on the day after Bloom Day. Leave your link to your Foliage Follow-Up post in a comment. I really appreciate it if you’ll also include a link to this post in your own post (sharing link love!). If you can’t post so soon after Bloom Day, no worries. Just leave your link when you get to it.

All material © 2006-2014 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Fixing a floppy Will Fleming yaupon for Foliage Follow-Up


‘Will Fleming’ yaupon (Ilex vomitoria ‘Will Fleming’), a fastigiate cultivar of our native yaupon holly, is one of my go-to vertical accent plants. It’s a green punctuation mark, ideal for adding height to a flat bed or using in multiples as a narrow hedge to screen an ugly view. In sun or shade it’ll grow to 10 or 15 feet (I like to give mine flat-top haircuts at about 6 feet tall) but only 1 to 2 feet wide. Sometimes, however, the outer branches go a bit floppy, ruining the vertical shape.


Like this — not the look I was going for.


You might think this calls for the pruners. Stop! Put the pruners down and grab a pair of scissors and a spool of fishing line instead. Tie one end of a length of fishing line loosely around a branch, leaving room for the branch to grow. Loosely wrap the fishing line in a spiral around the body of the tree, thereby creating a neat column again. Tie it off, taking care not to tie or wrap any part of the line tightly. You don’t want to strangle your tree. A gentle touch is all that’s needed.


And voila! A columnar ‘Will Fleming’ is restored.


One more time — floppy!


And fixed!

‘Will Fleming’ yaupon is my Foliage Follow-Up featured plant this month. Please join me in posting about your lovely leaves of April for Foliage Follow-Up, a way to remind ourselves of the importance of foliage in the garden on the day after Bloom Day. Leave your link to your Foliage Follow-Up post in a comment. I really appreciate it if you’ll also include a link to this post in your own post (sharing link love!). If you can’t post so soon after Bloom Day, no worries. Just leave your link when you get to it.

All material © 2006-2014 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.