Foliage Follow-Up: Grasses & xeric containers

The day after Bloom Day means it’s Foliage Follow-Up, when we get to show off our favorite foliage plants for the month. Right now I’m loving the blond-and-chartreuse waves of Mexican feathergrass (Nassella tenuissima). I have an unidentified agave in the pot, a passalong from one of our local blogger get-togethers. The silver leaves of strawflower (Chrysocephalum apiculatum Flambe Yellow), seen in the background and also featured in yesterday’s Bloom Day post, add foliar interest as well.

Agaves always make a strong foliage statement in my garden. On the left is Agave victoriae-reginae; on the right, Agave americana var. mediopicta ‘Alba.’ And at top, the lower leaves of Agave ovatifolia, or ‘Whale’s Tongue’ agave.

Foliage plants star in my focal-point collection of containers in the raised bed. ‘Santa Rita’ Opuntia occupies the purple pot. In the stock tank are variegated artemisia, a baby ‘Sharkskin’ agave, gray santolina, golden barrel cactus, and Yucca rostrata ‘Sapphire Skies.’ In the blue pots are variegated American agave and more golden barrels. And on the ground, Yucca flaccida ‘Bright Edge,’ gopher plant (Euphorbia rigida), and daylilies round out the scene.

A huge Nolina texana in a pot underplanted with ‘Sparkler’ sedge, ‘Diamond Frost’ euphorbia, and ‘Toffee Twist’ sedge add life to a shady nook.

And a cute new cactus from one of the box stores. Can anyone ID it for me? It’s a ball cactus, aka Parodia magnifica, and quite cold-hardy. My thanks to Brent for the ID!

So what’s capturing your interest, foliage-wise, in your garden this May? Join in and post about your favorites, and then let us know about it by commenting on this post and leaving your link. I look forward to seeing your foliar stars!

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

17 Responses

  1. Debbie says:

    Hi Pam,

    I am always so intrigued by what you are growing in your garden and today is no exception. The Nolina texana is simply lovely the way it drapes over the container you have it in. Your choice of a container that is muted and understated allows the Nolina to be the star. And the ‘Sparkler’ sedge is so eye-catching. It looks to me like a nest of baby birds all with their mouths open waiting for momma to come back and feed them! Is the foliage soft or spiky?

    My Foliage Follow-Up post can be found here –

    ‘Sparkler’ sedge is quite soft and pliable, Debbie. But it certainly does have a stiff, spiky appearance. —Pam

  2. Hi Pam,
    I think I just left a message, but didn’t see the message about blogger approval, so if you have comment moderation, go ahead and reject this one.

    I enjoyed seeing your agaves and other plants. I love your pots and garden art, too!

    Here’s the link to my blog:

    Have a great day,

  3. Brent Henry says:

    I recently got a pup of the same cactus you got. I believe it is Parodia magnifica (or Notocactus magnificus). It survived last winter so it should be hardy to at least 17 degrees.

    Thanks for the ID, Brent! The tag only said “cold-hardy cactus,” which jives with what you’re saying. It’s nice to know I can leave this one outside all winter. —Pam

  4. Sweet Bay says:

    Gorgeous photos. I love the combinations of greens and blues.

  5. Nancy Bond says:

    There’s not much in the way of foliage here in eastern Canada yet, except for the trees which are mostly leafed out now. :) Love that feather grass…and most of all, I adore those blue containers! Your foliage is wonderful.

  6. gardener says:

    Hi Pam
    Love the feathergrass shots – that plant is a nice contrast to the structure and stillness of the cactus and agave. I’m just discovering the beauty of Agave in the balcony garden – at a slightly different scale. Just adding tiny Agave utahensis v. kaibabensis and Agave parryi v. couesii to the alpine toughs.

  7. Nell Jean says:

    Lots of interest from your grasses. I’m still waiting for tropical Vetiver and Lemon Grass to recover from cold weather.

    My foliage choices today are favorite purples:

    Foliage Followup: Purple

  8. RBell says:

    That ‘Sparkler’ Sedge really catches the attention. Here’s my addition to Foliage Follow-Up:

  9. Jean says:

    You have some of the best succulent and cacti foliage around Pam! Love that your Nolina is blooming. Here’s my Foliage Follow-Up post (combined with my Bloom Day post, which is late!):

  10. Oooh… for once, my stipa (nasella, whatever) tenuissima is almost as far along as yours! (We’ve been enjoying an “early spring” here, with many more hot days already than we can usually expect in NE Ohio.) Yours has a better site, though. :)

  11. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Hi Pam, I got my foliage follow up posted. You will be able to see what is going on in my garden now. Nothing is spectacular but I think it is looking lush.

    Lisa, I added your link. —Pam

  12. Love that first photograph! I wish I could grow Stipa tenuissima without it becoming a weed. It REALLY likes it here.

    Here are some of the foliage plants that caught my eye this month:

  13. I love the Mexican feathergrass, it’s so graceful. I think I have the same cactus, the Parodia magnifica. I put it out fairly early in spring, and it doesn’t go back inside until November, so it is pretty cold tolerant.

    Here’s a sample of my May foliage:

  14. All beautiful foliage plants used in some marvelous ways. The grasses are always favorites of mine.

  15. Rose says:

    Love that Mexican feathergrass! It looks so graceful blowing in the breeze. It’s obvious you’re a talented landscape designer, Pam; your garden has so many eye-catching shapes and features.

  16. melanie says:

    I love that you can grow cacti and agaves outside. My garden is still slowly coming to life and after being away for a month I have a lot to do, but blogging about the different textures and foliage colours is a great idea for a future post, thanks Pam.

  17. I’m late all around this month… and I’m also unable to edit my Foliage Follow-Up post for brevity in May. There are just way too many things that caught my eye, while everything is so fresh and green (and gold, and peach, and… lol) here in Northeast Ohio: