Foliage Follow-Up – November 2014

The moment we’ve all been waiting for happened this past week. You know, the one where the true time of year makes itself known, and there suddenly is no going back. Even if balmier weather were to return, some of the lushest, loveliest features have been irreversibly destroyed by the cold. So, even though I will showcase some of the nice things too, this post is dedicated to all the pretty leaves that no longer are adorning my garden. Or, as my friend Gina says – they have gone to the Inventory of the Damned.

First out is Salvia mexicana. I originally fell for this plant because of its pretty leaves. Well, they are pretty even in death, with those ghastly drained veins illuminating the blackened, frozen foliage.

First out is Salvia mexicana. I originally fell for this plant because of its pretty leaves. Well, they are pretty even in death, with those ghastly drained veins illuminating the blackened, frozen foliage.

Here is my Abyssinian banana, wondering what hit him. Some of the formerly proud leaf paddles resemble the shredded flag of a ghost ship. Completely torn to shreds by the whipping winds.

Here is my stately Abyssinian banana, wondering what hit him. Some of the formerly proud leaf paddles resemble the shredded flag of a ghost ship. Completely torn to shreds by the whipping winds. This was after one Arctic day – it gets worse…

Here he is today - my Abyssinian prince has been humbled by King Winter.

Here he is today – my Abyssinian prince has been humbled by King Winter. The red Canna lily in the foreground isn’t looking to thrilled either, but it has been through worse, so I think it will live. The Pennisetum ‘Vertigo’ in the first photo seems somewhat withdrawn in this one – also destined to perish.

The poor leaves look pathetic silhouetted against the rejuvenated bamboo (cooler temps and rain definitely did wonders for its appearance). I know I should have cut the banana down and dug the root up for overwinter storage in our basement, but I didn't have the heart to do it. It was too beautiful! Now, on the other hand, I think I could do it. If there is still life in it tomorrow (it will freeze again tonight) I will take it out in the morning.

The poor leaf looks pathetic silhouetted against the rejuvenated bamboo (cooler temps and rain definitely did wonders for its appearance). I know I should have cut the banana down and dug the root up for overwinter storage in our basement earlier, but I didn’t have the heart to do it. It was too beautiful! Now, on the other hand, I think I could do it. If there is still life in it by tomorrow (it will freeze again tonight) I will take it out in the morning.

The formerly fabulous Colocasia has lost its upright splendor, and is miserably bowing to its fate.

The formerly fabulous Colocasia has lost its upright splendor, and is miserably bowing to its fate. So sad…

But, pucker up - it's not all bad. The Windmill palm looked delicious dusted with ice crystals. I have faith it will shrug it off like a mere annoyance.

But, pucker up – it’s not all bad. The Windmill palm looked delicious dusted with ice crystals. I have faith it will shrug it off like a mere annoyance.

Another one that won't let a little cold bother it is the Arizona cypress 'Raywood's Weeping'. It was planted a week ago. Remaining upright during the howling wind gusts was its main problem - not the icy temperatures.

Another one that won’t let a little cold bother it is the Arizona cypress ‘Raywood’s Weeping’. It was planted a week ago. Remaining upright during the howling wind gusts was its main problem – not the icy temperatures.

It has marvelous foliage! I have to touch it every time I walk by...

It has marvelous foliage! I feel compelled to fondle it every time I walk by…

This Daphne probably has one of the most protected spots in the garden. Sheltered from above by a giant evergreen Magnolia...

This Daphne probably has one of the most protected spots in the garden. Sheltered from above by a giant evergreen Magnolia…

...and on one side by this Fatsia japonica 'Variegata', it was barely affected during last year's Polar vortex that killed so many of his brethren. It helps to have powerful allies.

…and on one side by this Fatsia japonica ‘Variegata’, it was barely affected during last year’s Polar vortex that killed so many of his brethren. It helps to have powerful allies.

I would be lying if I told you this photo was from today. By now, after several days of frigid winds of up to 65 mph, almost all leaves are gone.

I would be lying if I told you this photo was from today. By now, after several days of frigid winds of up to 65 mph, almost all leaves are gone.

One of the now long gone grape leaves, with a dew drop dangling precariously.

One of the now long gone grape leaves, with drops of rain dangling precariously.

Don't even recall what the name of this one is, but I'm pretty sure it's gone. This is an annual that I tested out this year. I will be sure to play with it again next year - I love its striking variegation!

Don’t even recall what the name of this one is, but I’m pretty sure it’s gone. This is an annual that I tested out this year. I will be sure to play with it again next year – I love its striking variegation! Sorry for the fuzzy photo which I took as the eastern wind was howling.

This is nothing but a bundle of sticks today, but a week ago, it looked like this. The first time I saw this plant was around this time last year. I absolutely fell in love with its foliage, and have since learned that its flowers are pretty too. It is an Indigofera kirilowii.

This is nothing but a bundle of sticks today, but a week ago, it looked like this. The first time I saw this plant was around this time last year. I absolutely fell in love with its foliage, and have since learned that its flowers are pretty too. It is an Indigofera kirilowii.

Planted an Amsonia hubrichtii this year. It is still a baby, and it was planted just last week, so I will try not to fret too much about its chances. With the sun shining through it, it looks astounding!

Planted an Amsonia hubrichtii this year. It is still a baby, and it was planted just last week, so I will try not to fret too much about its chances. With the sun shining through it, it looks astounding!

This one, I just bought. It is a Parthenocissus henryana.  It was planted just days before the cold hit, but it's of a tougher sort than most, so I'm not too worried about its survival. I adore its purple berries, and the fall color sends my heart aflutter. Love it!

This one, I just bought. It is a Parthenocissus henryana. It was planted just days before the cold hit, but it’s of a tougher sort than most, so I’m not too worried about its survival. I adore its purple berries, and the fall color sends my heart aflutter. Love it!

Finally, a couple of discoveries from the nursery that were too good not to show. I marveled at the mutual echo of color and form between these two - a dwarf Alberta spruce, and Euphorbia 'Rudolph'. I think this could become part of a great winter planter.

Finally, a couple of discoveries from the nursery that were too good not to share. I marveled at the mutual echo of color and form between these two – a dwarf Alberta spruce, and Euphorbia ‘Rudolph’. I think this could become part of a great winter planter for someone.

And I just noticed how the fall-colored leaves of Acer campestre 'Carnival' resemble white and yellow Azalea blossoms (if there were such a thing). Pretty, aren't they?

And notice how the fall-colored leaves of Acer campestre ‘Carnival’ resemble white and yellow Azalea blossoms (as if there were such a thing). Pretty, aren’t they?

To see more phenomenal foliage, click over to Pam over at Digging and check out what brightens November in other parts of the world.

 

About annamadeit

I was born and raised in Sweden, By now, I have lived almost as long in the United States. The path I’ve taken has been long and varied, and has given me a philosophical approach to life. I may joke that I’m a sybarite, but the truth is, I find joy and luxury in life’s simple things as well. My outlook on life has roots in a culture rich in history and tradition, and I care a great deal about environmental stewardship. Aesthetically, while drawn to the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia, I also have a deep appreciation for the raw, the weathered, and the worn - materials that tell a story. To me, contrast, counterpoint, and diversity are what makes life interesting and engaging. Color has always informed everything I do. I’m a functional tetrachromat, and a hopeless plantoholic. I was originally trained as an architect working mostly on interiors, but soon ventured outside - into garden design. It’s that contrast thing again… An interior adrift from its exterior, is like a yin without a yang. My firm conviction that everything is connected gets me in trouble time and time again. The world is a big place, and full of marvelous distractions, and offers plentiful opportunities for inquiry and exploration. I started writing to quell my constant queries, explore my discoveries, and nurture my curiosity. The Creative Flux was started in 2010, and became a catch-all for all kinds of intersecting interests. The start of Flutter & Hum at the end of 2013 marks my descent into plant nerd revelry. I occasionally contribute to other blogs, but those two are my main ones. For sure, topics are all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blogs!
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18 Responses to Foliage Follow-Up – November 2014

  1. Pam/Digging says:

    Well, you sounded a little perkier there at the end about your vortex-defiant plants, but I must admit I loved your mournful, goth descriptions at the start: all ghost ships and “Inventory of the Damned” and “ghastly drained veins.” I was expecting the Black Pearl to appear out of the fog at any moment! Obviously, I loved your post. Thanks for joining in, and stay warm!

    • annamadeit says:

      Haha – thanks Pam! Well, there is an undeniable desolate kind of beauty in decay! I think most of my gloom (or is it foolish optimism? Or both?) stems from seeing all the things that remain unplanted huddling in my little shed in their far too small nursery pots. Sigh – never enough time in a day…

  2. Alison says:

    Great post! I planted three small clumps of Amsonia hubrichtii this year, and they have some nice fall color, but they don’t get the bright sun that’s on yours in the picture. That’s a wonderful shot. I can’t wait for mine to get bigger. I have lots of ghostly plants out there right now too.

    • annamadeit says:

      OMG – thank you Loree! That was a great post with great info! I will comply as soon as I make it home again. It may be too late, but if so, I still learned something. Thanks again!

  3. Anna says:

    Oh – brrrrrrrrrrrrrr – I’ve gone cold just reading your post. We have been hearing about the ‘polar vortex’ that the USA is experiencing on our weather news here in the UK. The first frost of the year has still to arrive in north west England. I hope that your garden and its occupants has not sustained serious long term damage and that you are managing to keep warm and snug.

    • annamadeit says:

      Thank you – I’m doing my best to keep everything out of harms way – including me! It did hit us extraordinarily early this year. Normally (if there is such a thing) we’d still be waiting for our first frost too. It gets cold here eventually – and terribly wet – but this was a bit early for most, I think.

  4. Kris P says:

    The “Inventory of the Damned” would be pretty funny if the reality wasn’t so sad. I’m sorry for your losses. That spruce-euphorbia combination is pretty wonderful, however.

    • annamadeit says:

      Thanks Kris – it is pretty funny. I wish I could take credit for it, but I can’t. The concept of the Inventory of the Damned came to me via my friend Gina. As for the spruce-euphorbia combo – I like it especially much on days like this, because it thumbs its nose at the cold weather. My kind of plant! 🙂

  5. Megan says:

    Lovely look at the late season shots. How’s the Amsonia after the freeze? Still around? I have to drive to check out the big one I’ve been trying to watch as it turns color. Love it.

    • annamadeit says:

      Sad to say, it seems a bit freeze dried… You’d think it’d be pretty hardy since it does well in Pennsylvania, but I’m a little worried since I just planted it. As soon as it warms up a little, I’m going to add some more mulch. We’ll see…

  6. Oh poor doomed plants. Bananas can take quite cold weather and still grow back so yours can be saved. Nice array of color and texture. Love the Amsonia in the sun.

    • annamadeit says:

      Thanks Shirley! Unfortunately, this isn’t one of the hardy bananas, but supposedly it can be cut back, dug up, and stored in a frost free place until spring. Loree posted a link to a great blog post laying it all out for me. Now I just have to do it! 🙂

  7. rickii says:

    You captured the bleak beauty of winter in words and pictures, then wound up with some flat-out fantastic shots at the end. I’ll take your roller coaster ride any day.

  8. Nice foliage on the spruce and euphorbia, especially. I think your friend’s term Inventory of the Damned is pretty hilarious and sadly accurate. Great plants, Anna!

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