Bold leaves and light-catching grasses for Foliage Follow-Up


I’m giving Moby, my ‘Whale’s Tongue’ agave (A. ovatifolia), pride of place in today’s Foliage Follow-Up post. At nearly 7 feet across, he’s the star of the back garden in all seasons, but especially in late summer when the fall-blooming perennials haven’t really revved up yet. An assortment of smaller agaves, mangaves, and manfreda swim alongside him.


Out front in the island bed, Texas dwarf palmetto (Sabal minor) is looking especially good now that I’ve cut back the spent heartleaf skullcap that blooms earlier in the year. Several fans of new leaves are standing tall, giving this bed a more tropical look.


And I can’t resist including a picture of bamboo muhly (Muhlenbergia dumosa) and ‘Burgundy Ice’ dyckia aglow with late-afternoon light.

So what lovely leaves are making you happy in your September 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.

33 Responses

  1. I am sharing a few little things as the foliage will be front and center in the garden soon. You always have stunning foliage Pam and I really love the examples in the last photo of the bamboo muhly and its delicate features being lit by the sunlight and the dyckia…great colors and textures.

    Here is my link:

    http://gardenseyeview.com/2014/09/15/last-of-summers-blooms/

  2. It is that time of year when it seems my garden’s foliage looks sad. I love your big whale. It is a beaut. Happy FF.

  3. Gretchen Niendorff says:

    Reviewing some older posts, I was wondering how your Alphonse Karr bamboo is doing. Your garden pictures are always inspirational to me.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Oh, ‘Alphonse’ is growing like gangbusters, Gretchen. My two are not in full sun, and their roots are shaded by their proximity to the house, and I find they take no extra water beyond what they get on the weekly sprinkler-system irrigation. They are getting rather monstrous though. I shudder to think how fast they’d grow if given extra water. —Pam

  4. Tina says:

    Wow…and ouch, as I back into the Whale. Which I know I would do if he was in my garden. But, he’s a beauty, no doubt. Nice foliage and lovely shots-especially of the Bamboo muhly and dyckia–such a nice contrast. Here’s my foliage homage:
    http://mygardenersays.com/2014/09/16/foliage-follow-up-september-2014

  5. Kris P says:

    It hard to believe that my own Agave ovatifolia may someday get that big! I have to look into that dwarf palmetto. I’m focused on drought tolerance at the moment: http://krispgarden.blogspot.com/2014/09/foliage-follow-up-drought-busters.html

    Thanks for hosting foliage follow-up Pam!

    • Pam/Digging says:

      I wonder how your ‘Cousin Itt’ acacia would like Austin. I’ll have to investigate further. I think your post is a wonderful resource for SoCal gardeners — real-life info for gardening during drought. You mentioned the Texas dwarf palmetto (Sabal minor) in your comment above. It’s a Texas native that grows in canyons and along creeks, so it can take extra water. But I find it’s fairly drought tolerant once established if grown in shade.

  6. That Whale is now getting almost as big as its namesake! What an absolutely striking specimen. And I like the idea of a garden with something that dramatic as well as the bamboo muhly. We’ve been adding a bunch of shrubs this summer so they are my foliage this month. http://eachlittleworld.typepad.com/each_little_world/2014/09/foliage-follow-up-91614.html

  7. Denise says:

    I just potted up my little ovatifolia the other day. Moby’s majesty is always in mind — and ultimate size! Wow, what a leviathan!

    http://agrowingobsession.com/?p=59967

  8. Wow…your ‘Whale’s Tongue’ agave is amazing! I am always intrigued by the unusually large size they grow to and yours is a beauty. I have some temperate foliage going on with combinations of evergreens, some succulents, perennials and trees. Come take a look at:

    http://landscapedesignbylee.blogspot.com/2014/09/garden-bloggers-bloom-day-foliage.html

    • Pam/Digging says:

      How fun to see a picture of you enjoying your garden! And I love the wide views you showed this time too. Thanks for joining in with Foliage Follow-Up again this month, Lee.

  9. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Moby has grown even bigger this year and looks so very handsome and I’m always envious of your gorgeous bamboo muhly which we can’t grow.
    My foliage follow up post can be found here:
    http://outlawgarden.blogspot.com/2014/09/foliage-follow-up-september-2014.html

  10. Tamara says:

    I’m in love with Moby. I have stalked one out at Cistus, hoping the husband takes note for Christmas!! Thanks for sharing your spectacular agave.

  11. Mark and Gaz says:

    Wow, 7 foot across, the Agave ovatifolia sounds and looks so impressive! And the Dyckias look great too planted like that.

  12. Shirley says:

    Moby is huge! Some references mention 5′ or so. Good thing I gave mine plenty of room.

    A lush succulent wall is my post on Foliage Follow-up

    http://rockoakdeer.blogspot.com/2014/09/succulents-on-rocks-for-lush-vertical.html

  13. Pam: You really have a way with garden design. The succulents are so artfully arranged! I’m a little late today adding my link here, but foliage is definitely on my mind these days. Thanks for hosting this lovely meme. http://plantpostings.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-foliage-that-frames-flowers.html

  14. peter schaar says:

    Your foliage is as good or better than your flowers, Pam. I’m in awe and envious. Maybe I can try Dyckias again in a large pot like yours. My Brazoria palmettos and Mexican palmetto are finally recovered from the ice last winter and are looking good, as are my Alocasia macrorhiza. Sadly, the huge Moby at the old Kings Creek Nursery demonstration gardens in Cedar Hill (suburb of Dallas) has bloomed and is gone. It was enormous! My Moby is in a largish pot, which I think has restricted its size, but it looks good nonetheless.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      I seem to have better luck with foliage than flowers these days, Peter, whether because of shade or drought, I don’t know. Of course the deer try to do a number on my agaves and yuccas out front, rubbing their antlers on those stiff, upright plants. It’s enough to make me go with grasses only.

  15. Love the picture with your Bamboo Moby.
    I am adding my link to your Foliage Follow-up meme. Thanks for hosting!
    http://gardenerswithkids.blogspot.com/2014/09/foliage-follow-up-september-2014.html

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Daniela, thanks for joining in this month! I’m unable to leave a comment on blogs that don’t allow the Name/URL option in their comment page set-up, so I wasn’t able to leave this on your site, but here it is: What a great selection of foliage plants you’ve shared! I love ornamental grasses too, especially purple fountain grass, which is, most years, an annual in Austin too. But it’s well worth planting a new one each year for those dark, strappy leaves and fuzzy, wine-colored inflorescences. —Pam

  16. Alison says:

    Oh, Pam, thanks for posting my link. I forgot to come here and post it myself….just came today and see that you did it for me. Thanks!

  17. James in Spring Branch says:

    How many years have you had Moby? I bought 3 whales Tongue last year and they are bigger now that they have been out of their pot and in my raised cactus bed a year but still dwarfs compared to Moby.

  18. Debra says:

    Beautiful pictures! =) I wonder if you happen to know if Sabal minor is juglone tolerant. I’d like to plant one under a pecan tree but I worry they might not play well.

  19. Anna K says:

    7′ across??? Wow… that’s MASSIVE! I first looked at your smaller plants surrounding Moby, and thought “Oh, I have some of those too”. But when I saw your note about 7′, I realized that many of those “small” ones are probably around a foot across or so. Fabulous!

    My post is a little angst ridden as drought makes me grumpy. Some of my plants are holding up well, though. http://flutterandhum.wordpress.com/2014/09/25/tardy-foliage-follow-up-september-2014/

    • Pam/Digging says:

      The Queen Victoria agave at lower-right in that picture is at least a foot across, Anna. Yep, we grow ’em big here in Austin — plenty of heat and sun, I guess. —Pam

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