September Foliage Follow-Up

Thanks to our first two cool fronts of the season, I’ve spent much of the past two weekends cleaning up the garden, ripping out plants that proved not tough enough and adding plants that I’ve been wanting to try, like little bluestem and a couple of new agaves. Whoo-hoo! While out in the garden I’m also enjoying the bold foliage and evergreen backdrop that carry my garden through the seasons, regardless of whether anything is blooming.

Here we are in the sunny hillside garden, looking downhill through an arbor to the stock-tank pond, which occupies the mid-level of the back garden. I like this view quite a bit. A Koosh ball-shaped Yucca rostrata ‘Sapphire Skies’ punctuates the end of the path, and a traditional note of twin boxwood spheres (‘Winter Gem’) flank the entry to the stock-tank pond patio. (Four paths radiate from the pond patio, with boxwoods flanking each entry.) Live oaks filter the sunlight behind the pond, making for a dappled woodland garden in the lowest reaches of our sloping backyard. It’s almost entirely populated with foliage plants, with only a few flowering perennials adding seasonal color. The result: lots of evergreen structure and little maintenance aside from cutting back the ever-present oak sprouts.

On the other end of the backyard garden, which is hotter with western sun, brighter color prevails but still predominantly through foliage, like this ‘Tropicanna’ canna and ‘Color Guard’ yucca.

The yucca glows in the afternoon light, surrounded by the quirky spikes of foxtail fern, the feathery leaves of Pride of Barbados, and two cupheas—‘Twinkle Pink’ and Mexican heather—with their tiny, tubular flowers.

Rounding out my favorite foliage for this month is an old favorite, ‘Bloodspot’ mangave, which is sending up its first bloom stalk. Exciting!

Join me in posting about your lovely leaves of September for Foliage Follow-Up, a way to remind ourselves of the importance of foliage in the garden. 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 © 2006-2012 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

24 Responses

  1. Michael says:

    Hey Pam,
    what a brilliant idea, i’ll try get out into the garden to see what interesting foliage there is that i can include in my post. i must admit i don’t always take too much notice of foliage so making a post about it should really open up my eyes,

    i’m now really excited about the post, i’ll definitely be posting a link tomorrow if i get time in between studying for school exams


    Please do join us in posting about your favorite foliage for this time of year, Michael! I’d love to see what you’ve got going on leaf-wise in your Australian garden. —Pam

  2. Les says:

    I think ‘Color Guard’ should win some sort of award. One looks great, several look even better.

    I totally agree, Les. I have them growing in groups and rows elsewhere in my garden. —Pam

  3. rjhyden says:

    Ok Pam, I`ll get out and see about taking some more foliage pics. I think you will like the little bluestem. Not sure why the Plano Prairie man having so much trouble. I have the stuff in my beds and on the naturalized areas of this 3 acres. I do know it does not liike very rich soil or lots of moisture. Mine seems happiest in areas of bare red clay, however it has done fine in better dirt.

    I added your link when I saw that you’d posted, Randy. Thanks for the info on little bluestem. I’ve added several to my garden and am excited to be trying it out at last. —Pam

  4. Pam, it is wonderful when that cool down happens. Just happened this weekend here so it is time to get at least one day in to clean up and prepare the garden.

    Here is my link for Foliage Follow Up. Lots more foliage than blooms here which is quite the opposite to our usual time of year…of course this year has been anything but usual.

    Thanks for joining in, Donna! —Pam

  5. Thank goodness for shrubs and foliage that is still looking good despite continuing drought here in Wisconsin. I bought ‘Blue Myth’ caryopteris last fall when I went to the nursery and they were all in full bloom. Couldn’t resist. Mine also gets some shade and is lanky too, but what great color. I am concentrating on more delicate foliage on my post.

    I love your ferns, Linda, especially the maidenhair fern. —Pam

  6. Scott Weber says:

    Your Yucca looks so lovely backlit, Pam!

    Thanks, Scott, but you’re the master of the well-lit plant photo. Everyone reading this, go see Scott’s blog for his beautiful photos. —Pam

  7. jenny says:

    How exciting to have your bloodspot flower. Can’t wait to see the bloom. I’m afraid I lost the one I had. My fault I am sure as I didn’t see any weevils. I could do with taking a leaf out of your book and pulling plenty of non-perforiming plants.

    Oh no! To lose a ‘Bloodspot’ mangave is tragic—they are so beautiful. I remember yours. It was a biggie too. Do you think it got too much sun? I have several, and the one in the dappled shade of a live oak does the best. —Pam

  8. Jason says:

    I love the veining in the ‘Tropicana’ canna foliage.

    Me too, Jason. You get a lot of bang for the buck with cannas. —Pam

  9. Alison says:

    Cannas have such great foliage! I’ve been trying to decide if I have the courage to try a mangave. I love the spots. I mean, after yuccas and agaves, where do I go next? Here’s my Foliage Followup post:

    For once, I remembered to include a link back to you right from the get-go, instead of having to get in there and edit afterwards.

    After yuccas and agaves you go to mangaves, dyckias, and hesperaloes! Do try a ‘Bloodspot’ mangave. It’s perfectly sized for a small pot and has such lovely spotted leaves. —Pam

  10. Shirley says:

    It is the best time to clean up the garden. Nice selections, I need more manfreda and mangave here.

    I’m featuring some of the same plants today at

    Oh, you have some goodies in your post today, Shirley. Thanks for joining in. —Pam

  11. louis says:

    beautiful foliage follow-up! I love your yuccas!!!! thanks again for hosting!

    You have such a great eye for dramatic foliage, Louis. Thanks for joining in. —Pam

  12. See, the sun is not all bad to give you such lighting, Ms. Digging. Ha ha! Thanks again for hosting the less-noted side of plants, but soon to be more fashionable.

    My pithy post –

    Thanks for joining in with the bad and the good in Albuquerque, David. —Pam

  13. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Your garden looks so good Pam. I love those foxtail ferns. They aren’t widely available here. My poor garden looks so ratty from the drought. Luckily most things survived despite the drought. Happy FF.

    It’s amazing how tough certain plants can be. I’m glad most of yours have survived your drought. Hope you get some good rain soon. —Pam

  14. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Hi Pam, Your post is inspirational as always. I’ve been in love with the brick/rock pattern radiating from your stock pond since I first saw it on a much earlier post of yours. Thanks for once again hosting the foliage party!

    You know I love a foliage party, and I’m glad you do too, Peter! —Pam

  15. Better late than never….my Foliage follow-up post is finally up….

    Love your Bloodspot Mangave, somehow I’ve not managed to acquire that one!

    What?! There is a woody lily in my garden that you don’t have? I can hardly believe it, Loree. Hey, if this one ever pups (it’s been solitary so far), I’ll be sure to send you one. Or do you want to try growing one from seed when it blooms? However, I know you don’t like seed sowing (and neither do I). —Pam

  16. ricki says:

    Hard to be prompt when the weather here is so inviting, but here goes, a day late and a bit disorganized:

    Thanks for making the time to share your lovely leaves, Ricki, even though the weather is too fine for blogging! —Pam

  17. Hi Pam, what a terrific idea. I’m more in love with good foliage plants than flowers – although I love flowers too… well I guess I just love it all.. Love the light shining through that canna… beautiful shot Here is my contribution for the Foliage Followup

    I love it all too, Deanne, but it makes me happy to give foliage its due after flowers have their day to shine on Bloom Day. Thanks for joining in! —Pam

  18. Pam, I LOVE the silver scene!!!!!!!!!!! all of it! I did my first foliage follow-up post…I hope you can check it out when you have a minute.

    Thanks for joining in this month, Heather! —Pam

  19. I just adore the feathery Pride of Barbados foliage. I so wish that I could grow that at my house… it looks like it keeps that part of your garden looking so cool and light!

    I went hot for my foliage post this month. Seems to be a theme for me this year:

    You have a great selection this month, Kim. Thanks for posting. —Pam

  20. Frances says:

    Hi Pam, such architectural plants punctuate your garden. I really like the koosh ball Yucca. You are, as ever, an inspiration. Here is my foliage follow up:

    Foliage That Follows


    And so are you, Frances. You have an inspiring foliage-centric garden—with no shortage of blooms either. The best of both worlds! —Pam

  21. Renee says:

    I know, I’m way late! But better late than never, even though it’s not my garden I’m showing this month… I haven’t had time to take pictures yet!

    Getty Tour

    Thanks for hosting this Pam!

    I enjoyed your tour of the Getty, Renee. Thanks for joining in this month. —Pam

  22. Hannah says:

    Hi Pam, I enjoy your lovely silvery plants and metal stock tank, and tree guards. It looks so cool and inviting. Silvery plants are favorites of mine, along with variegated and burgundy plants, which pretty much sums up my photos.


    Beautiful, Hannah! I wasn’t able to leave a comment on your post without an account, but I just wanted to say that yuccas and mangaves can be rather mundane here, so the grass is always greener, and I think YOUR plants look exotic and intriguing. The Hebes and Jack-in-the-pulpit are particularly so. Thanks for joining in this month! —Pam

  23. Michael says:

    Hey Pam, i did my foliage follow up a while ago, but i forgot to link it on here hehehehe, LOL, i’ve been busy with school so i’ll blame that for my forgetfulness, i was so amazed at how many different types of foliage i had in my garden, so for that i must thank you

    heres the link :)

    Thanks for sharing your link, Michael! —Pam

  24. I love that first view – it really invites further exploration and how nice to have the entries all the same! I was out in the garden over the weekend and just loving the way the sunlight shone through all the reddish colored leaves in my garden. so I am joining in this month – a bit late, but there you are!

    Thanks for joining in, Africanaussie! I’m not able to leave a comment on your blog without an account, but just wanted to say that I love all your pink and red leaves. Great color! —Pam