Foliage Follow-Up: Green despite freezes

Join me today for Foliage Follow-Up, giving foliage as well as bark, berries, and other non-flowering features a day of celebration on the day after May Dreams Carol’s popular and beloved Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.

Winter in Austin is quite green thanks to an abundance of live oaks, Ashe junipers, evergreen shrubs, rosemary, cast-iron plant, bamboos, palms, yuccas, and agaves. Even my St. Augustine lawn is mostly green, despite recent deep freezes. Pictured above is a non-native ornamental grass, bamboo muhly (Muhlenbergia dumosa), that stays green all winter and blooms in spring. At its feet are evergreen daylilies and an Aloe saponaria. All came through our freezes with no protection.

As did the pretty blue foliage of ‘Bath’s Pink’ dianthus, a spring-blooming, fragrant ground cover for sun.

Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Sticks on Fire’ is really firing up its winter colors, as is purple prickly pear (Opuntia macrocentra). The Sticks on Fire requires protection from freezes; the opuntia does not.

This heuchera was here when we bought the place, and I really love its winter colors.


And silver, both mixed with green. Again, no freeze protection required; just give it summer shade.

This little aloe resides in the kitchen window, where it’s rapidly outgrowing its space. I may have to transplant it into the garden soon.

Back outside, the winter rosettes of Texas bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis) remind us that spring is not too far away.

I don’t know what this succulent is called, but it makes a pretty carpet in my washtub planter.

And one last echeveria “flower.” Update: I believe this is called Ghost Plant, and it’s not actually an echeveria.

I look forward to seeing what textures you find in your garden this day. Please post your link in a comment on this post so we all can find it. Happy Foliage Day!

All material © 2006-2010 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

37 Responses

  1. Susie says:

    You always get the best photos. That blue gazing ball looks beautiful with your greens. My favorite photo is the unknown succulents in the washtub planter.

    Thanks for stopping by, Susie! —Pam

  2. Hi Pam
    I’ve never participated in Foliage FollowUp before as I am relatively new to the blogging scene. My entry can be read here – its called “My Leafy Fillers on Foliage Follow up”

    I’ve never seen that “sticks on fire” plant before even as a houseplant. I really like it. Once the snow has retreated alittle more in my garden I hope to see some pink in some of my heuchera leaves too. Your gazing ball is very eyecatching indeed and it must make a lovely picture alongside your daylillies when in flower.

  3. I enjoyed seeing your foliage dressed in raindrops. I am so ready for spring to get here! I have been having dreams we moved, and there was no garden space. I am so relieved when I wake up!

    I like your succulents, too. That aloe is quite pretty, and I don’t think of that adjective when I think of aloe.

    I posted my houseplants for Foliage Follow Up.

  4. Joene says:

    Hi, Pam.
    Great idea to focus on foliage. Love the sedum … mine looked like that before they were covered in snow. The heuchera did also.
    I posted my frostier Foliage Follow-up offerings at joene’s garden:

  5. I’m not familiar with heuchera. Love the silvery look, another idea from your garden.

    My Foliage Follow Up is at:

    Stay warm!

  6. Layanee says:

    I love those seasonal colors on the cactus and Euphorbia. Believe it or not, Opuntia is hardy in my garden zone. It really doesn’t look at home here though so I haven’t planted any. Love the first photo with that globe. Reflections! Here is my contribution to our first ‘Foliage Follow Up’.

    Many thanks and keep warm.

  7. commonweeder says:

    Your photographs are amazing. As are those succulents. I have my first Foliage Follow-up in place, but I don’t know what I’m going to do next month. The snow will still be deep and I don’t know if I can find something interesting to say about my few other houseplants. I’ll work on it though.

  8. Ooh… I LOVE that colorful aloe! If only aloes weren’t so hard for me to grow… *sigh*

  9. noel says:

    aloha pam

    that baby aloe is one of my favorites, i brought it as a cutting back to hawaii to me and its happy to be in a sunnier area

    here’s my foliage colors for the day, enjoy everyone


  10. koi says:

    Just discovered your blog. Good stuff. I am trying to assess the damage to my yard & plants (agave, aloe, cactus, yucca) after the recent freeze in Austin. I feel compelled to do something, but it appears it might be best to wait.

    Thanks for visiting, Koi. Yes, now that temps are warmer and a week has gone by, freeze damage is becoming more apparent. It’s best to wait and see before cutting back, since that could make a plant vulnerable to the next freeze. Good luck with your tender plants. —Pam

  11. Debbie says:


    What a great idea to showcase the non-bloomers in our gardens. I love the pairing of your blue gazing ball with the bamboo mulhy. I may have to borrow that idea for my garden this spring.

    I posted my inaugural Foliage Follow-Up here:

    Foliage Rocks!

  12. Beautiful foliage. I want to thank you for coming up with this idea. It’s good to review those beautiful foliage plants in our gardens and not always rely on flowers. ~~Dee

  13. Jayne says:

    Your foliage looks wonderful Pam. I love it all, but especially the little bluebonnets with the raindrops – so sweet. Thank you for hosting Foliage Follow-Up, I’m participating for the first time. Here’s my link:

    Thanks for participating, Jayne! I just visited your post and tried to leave a comment but was unable without a Google acct. If you wish to enable your Name/URL setting on your comment field, you’ll be able to get comments from non-Blogger bloggers (like me!). Cheers! —Pam

  14. Autumn Belle says:

    Are you sure you are having winter here? You have so many juicy green foliage and they sure look lovely. I just found out about Foliage Follow up. By coincidence, I just posted a related plant, so here’s my link:

    Thank you for hosting and have a wonderful weekend!

  15. Jean says:

    Gorgeous photos Pam! That’s a very pretty aloe there. I’ve posted my foliage follow-up here: You’ll see that my bamboo muhly has turned grayish-white from the freeze, first time ever! I’m banking on it being root hardy though.

  16. Pam, love the idea of foliage follow-up, because I’ve got foliage! Enjoy!

    Your photos, as always, are beautiful. We’ve got a week of rain coming, was glad I could catch a little bit of sun this morning to share…

  17. gardener says:

    Hi Pam
    Nice to connect with you through Noelle. Looks like a horse trough in behind the bamboo. Used to have one in the balcony garden – they are great containers. Here’s foliage on the balcony today:

  18. Loree says:

    The rain stopped long enough for me to get out and snap some pictures, thank you for the excuse to do so! Your ‘Sticks on Fire’ and ‘Prickly Pear’ are so HOT!

  19. Hi Pam, thanks for the comment at Hill Country Mysteries. The lemon grass is a glutton for punishment. If you plant it in good soil, full sun and regular water, it can grow 12 feet tall. Mine is in native clay/limestone, full sun, occasional water and it’s bushy about 3-4 feet tall/diameter. It’s not a water hog but if we go months in summer without rain, it will need sprinkling. Last summer I gave it a deep watering every few weeks.

    That variegated agave is pretty. It was a pup from a neighbor and may take a while to grow into having pups. But she has several mature plants which pup often in warm season and I’ll ask if she has any. I bet you’ll get lucky.

    Thanks for the info on lemon grass. I will definitely give it a go. —Pam

  20. Caroline says:

    My favorite photo is of the euphorbia “Sticks on Fire” and the “Santa Rita” prickly pear. Fantastic colors! Love all the succulents too. My FFU post is at

  21. chuck b. says:

    I’m committed to flowers in my garden, but I found some foliar interest for Foliage Follow-Up:

  22. Wow that oputina is absolutely stunning. Mine is covered in snow. I like the looks of your winter.

    Thanks for dropping in, Ottawa Gardener. I do like knowing that Opuntia is versatile enough for Texas and Canada, don’t you? —Pam

  23. Hey Pam, Gardening With Confidence ™ garden blog has moved to a new location. In doing so, I will have the ability to do more fun things I changed the design while I was at it to keep the same look as my website Please make note of my new location and update your blogroll (if you please.) H.

    I had already changed it, Helen. Congrats on the bigger-and-better site. —Pam

  24. I managed to make a bloom day post with an umbrella over the camera – may get foliage up in a few days once the yard dries out from that 2.6 inches of rain.

    Love the heuchera! I’ve planted the Palace Purple here a couple of times but it didn’t live long. Maybe this kind would do better? All our dianthus making it doesn’t surprise me, Pam, and my loquats being okay is a big relief, but what did surprise me is that the Texas sage is defoliating! The Barbados cherries are doing that, too, but it’s not the first time and they’ve recovered in the past so fingers crossed they’ll come through again.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    There were two different heuchera in this garden when we moved in, Annie. One was caramel colored, and I loved it better than this one. However, it did not survive the summer, even though it had a good deal of shade. This one is doing very well though. I wish I knew the name of it. —Pam

  25. Jenny says:

    You would never know that winter had visited your garden a week ago. Is there hope for mine? The Heuchera is beautiful. I have grown this before but never realized that it would do well in Austin.

    Yes, there is hope for your garden, Jenny. You use so many tough plants that I’m sure you will have as glorious a show in spring as ever. As for the heuchera, see my reply to Annie’s comment, above. —Pam

  26. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I have my foliage follow up post up finally. This is a great alternative to blooms this time of year. I always love to see all of your succulents surviving the winter.

  27. susan harris says:

    My god, have your photos always been that good? Yikes. This Foliage Day thing – soon. It’ll inspire me.

    Thanks for the compliment, Susan, and for stopping by. —Pam

  28. I love these photos!! How amazing! I wasn’t able to take any photos this time around, but next time for sure – it’s such a great idea, as I tend to prefer foliage over flowers anyway…thanks for such a great idea!

    No worries, Rebecca. I look forward to seeing your foliage post next time. Thanks for stopping by. —Pam

  29. I’m a sucker for foliage, so I couldn’t resist this–even though I’m a day late:

    LOVE that rosy foliage of your ‘Santa Rita’ by the way!

  30. Frances says:

    Hi Pam, I am so happy that your bamboo muhly still looks alive if somewhat punished. Those dianthus never look bad here, no matter what the weather dishes out. Thanks for allowing the foliage to have it’s deserved time in the spotlight. Here’s the link to our post:


  31. Opuntia is hardy here, too. But it usually looks ghastly when the snow cover disappears — unlike the Heuchera which looks good almost all year. The only danger with Heuchera here is frost heave. We still have so much snow on the ground that we can’t really get to many shrubs in our garden to take pix. As well as killer icicles hanging from the eaves and gutters making it dangerous to walk close to the house where there is no deep snow. We are “indoor gardening” with a leak from the snowy roof that developed last night. A slow drip across the top of the window frame. Aargh! So I am enjoying looking at pretty pictures this morning instead of my roof!

    Killer icicles? Gulp. I would love to see a picture though. (Mark?) Thanks for popping by, Linda. I hope your leak is fixed very soon. —Pam

  32. Thanks for the hint about enabling the name/url field for comments on my blog Pam. I didn’t even realize that setting could be changed!

  33. I’m still amazed that you have heuchera! I may try it again. . .My bamboo muhly didn’t fare well. I’m leaving it for now, but as a grass, I figure I’ll cut it back later & see what happens!

    I could try to collect seeds from my surviving heuchera this summer, Linda. Worth a try? —Pam

  34. ESP says:

    Hi Pam.

    Most of my bamboos are brown, all of my muhlys are brown, my sticks on fire looks like it has been, you are doing alright! You have a magic seaweed or something potion going over there don’t you Pam, admit it…I am sending out the ESP witches as I write to steal the secret frost defying ingredients. Oh yes I will.
    Great photographs of the succulents and ghosts…surprisingly tough are those little ghosts, well, they are not afraid of dying after all!


    You and the ESP witches are welcome anytime, Philip. —Pam

  35. kerri says:

    So many pretty succulents, Pam! I love the colors in the ghost plant. It’s nice to see all that green when everything here is so white! I’m glad your garden survived the cold as well as it did and do hope those damaged plants will come back in the spring. This winter has reached its icy fingers far and wide!
    Happy New Year to you!

    And to you, Kerri! Spring can’t be too far off, can it? —Pam

  36. Love your photos Pam. I found your site through the Interleafings blog. I’m a new blogger.
    Will you be at the APLD conference this summer?

    Thanks for visiting, Judy, and welcome to the garden blogosphere! I won’t be at the APLD conference, but I will be going to the 3rd annual garden-blogger meet-up, held this year in Buffalo, NY, July 8-11. I hope to see you there. See the badge and link at the bottom of my sidebar for more information. —Pam