Fresh greens and purple power for Foliage Follow-Up


Chartreuse and dark gray make a trendy combo that’s as pleasing in the garden as in the home. Evergreen Texas sedge (Carex texensis) practically glows in spring with the addition of nubby seedheads.


A wider view shows purple heart (Tradescantia pallida) romping through the sedge, with the orange and green of Mexican honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera) in the background. Although the sedge–purple heart combo is an accident — the purple heart resprouted from an earlier removal — it makes a nice color echo of the dark gray wall, as a visitor pointed out to me last fall.


Speaking of purplish gray, ‘Macho Mocha’ mangave is looking fine. Pink knotweed (Persicaria capitata ‘Magic Carpet’), which I randomly planted in this dappled-shade spot a few years ago, makes a good partner for it, with a color echo and contrasting leaf size and form. Unfortunately, the knotweed has never taken off. Perhaps the soil is too dry.

Now that I see the possibilities of small pink flowers and low, narrow leaves to contrast with the muscular, eggplant-colored mangave, I’m wondering if pigeonberry (Rivina humilis) would be a good native substitute. I think I’ll try it.


Hulking over the scene (you can see a bit of the mangave at left) is Moby, my whale’s tongue agave (A. ovatifolia). I’ve paired the glaucous agave with other favorite foliage plants that can handle dry soil and dappled shade: variegated flax lily, foxtail fern, ‘Chocolate Chips’ manfreda, ‘Bloodspot’ mangave, and santolina.

This is my March post for Foliage Follow-Up. Fellow bloggers, what leafy loveliness is going on in your garden this month? Please join me in giving foliage its due on the day after Bloom Day. Leave a link to your post in a comment below. I’d appreciate it if you’ll also link to my post in your own — sharing link love! If you can’t post so soon after Bloom Day, no worries. Just leave your link when you get to it. I look forward to seeing your foliage faves.

I welcome your comments! If you’re reading this in an email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment link at the end of each post.

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16 Responses

  1. Anna K says:

    I’ve seen you post about that Carex texensis before, and every time I see it, I want it. Wonder if it’s even available up here? It reminds me of the Fiber-optic grass, except probably endlessly tougher. Happy Spring, Pam! https://flutterandhum.wordpress.com/2016/03/15/wednesday-vignette-and-foliage-follow-up/

  2. Lori says:

    I was actually thinking about plants to pair with the mangave you gave me. I think I’m gonna try Red Dragon persicaria.

  3. Love the pictures! Thank you for posting recently about Texas sedge, because it turns out I’ve had a patch growing in my backyard for years & was just weed-eating it along with the other weeds. I tried it in my new stock tank pond last month as a marginal, when none were available in stores, and it did great! And now that I know what it is AND know that’s it’s fine with being soggy, I transplanted several clumps of it yesterday into my little rainwater moat… A small trench I dug in the heavy clay to keep huge puddles off a little patio area. (I read that clay soil is fine for rain gardens if you use native prairie-type plants because their roots can go deep enough to make it drain.) Thanks for the ID, I look forward to putting the rest of this stuff to good use around the garden!
    Moby is looking awesome!!

  4. The sedge and purple heart are great together with that beautiful dark grey wall. Today, I am looking at some emerging tree peony leaves: http://enclosuretakerefuge.com/2016/03/16/gb-foliage-follow-up-tree-peonies/

  5. Alison says:

    Moby gets me every time you feature him. What a magnificent Agave he is! I featured some foliage that isn’t in my own garden, it’s at the Bellevue Botanical Garden, which we visited during the Seattle Fling. It’s here: http://bonneylassie.blogspot.com/2016/03/wednesday-vignette-and-foliage-followup.html

  6. My first thought upon seeing Moby was remembering back to the post when you moved him to your current garden. Can imagine trying to do that now?

    My foliage follow-up post is an old fashioned love letter to spring’s new growth:
    http://plantlust.com/blog/2016/03/and-a-new-gardening-season-begins/

  7. Kris P says:

    That’s a nice Carex and one I’m not familiar with. I haven’t seen it offered locally but, as my Sunset guide says it’ll grow in my zone, I’ll have to hunt around for it. I love all the purple foliage elements.

    Here’s my foliage follow-up post: http://krispgarden.blogspot.com/2016/03/foliage-follow-up-fresh-spring-growth.html

  8. Diana Studer says:

    My Brachylaena flashes deep green mirror, then silver felt, as the Southeaster breeze flips the leaves.
    http://eefalsebay.blogspot.co.za/2016/03/silvery-grey-tree-Brachylaena-discolor.html

  9. Jenn B says:

    The sedge and grey wall. Love. Added to my must-haves list.

    Thanks for hosting!
    http://wp.me/p67QCT-ai

  10. Evan says:

    I love that carex. I wonder how well it would translate to our summer-dry climate. It’s cooler here, but we rarely if ever get rain in summer and the drought season is lengthening. I focused on new leaves and expanding buds for Foliage Follow-up this month: http://practicalplantgeek.blogspot.com/2016/03/foliage-follow-up-march-emergence.html

  11. Looking gorgeous. Nothing like Carex! Not too much foliage other than evergreens in my garden but spring definitely seems to be here.

  12. In my early spring garden there is mostly daffodil and crocus greens. Not a whole lot else. I love seeing your foliage.

  13. rickii says:

    The wall looks pretty purple in that context. Your color sense is beyond boffo…love it all!

  14. The foliage combination of the Mexican Honeysuckle with the sedge does turn out to be a nice contrast of color and your Agave just keeps getting better and better…simply gorgeous! Spring is starting to pop up in my northeastern garden and there is always the foliage of evergreens! Here is my link: http://landscapedesignbylee.blogspot.com/2016/03/garden-bloggers-bloom-day-foliage.html#.VuwV5uIrKUk

  15. Peter/Outlaw says:

    That’s a winning combination grey, purple, chartreuse and the orange behind! Knocks one’s socks off! Moby is impressive! My contribution is here: http://outlawgarden.blogspot.com/2016/03/tiny-umbrellas-for-foliage-follow-up.html

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