Foliage

Seven Perennials with Colorful Fall Foliage

Seven Perennials with Colorful Fall Foliage

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Who said only trees and shrubs get to turn color in the fall? Some perennials get into the act, too, with colorful fall foliage.  These plants really earn their keep in the garden—they also have blooms earlier in the year! The undisputed queen of perennials that turn color in fall is Arkansas bluestar (Amsonia hubrictii).  Its pale, steely blue flowers… Read more →


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Eight Great Shrubs for Fall Foliage and Fruit

Eight Great Shrubs for Fall Foliage and Fruit

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The rainy season has begun in Portland.  It hasn’t been terribly cold, but we’ve had several fires in the fireplace.  After a day of sloshing around in the garden, it’s nice to sit by the fire and dream of sunnier times.  Like last week… We had one bright, sunny day last week, and I went looking for fall color.  Here… Read more →


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What Happens When You Tickle a Pine Tree in Spring?

What Happens When You Tickle a Pine Tree in Spring?

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On this trip around the neighborhood, I check in on conifers. Upstaged by the flamboyant flowers of high spring—azaleas and rhododendrons, peonies, irises, and poppies—conifers are often overlooked this time of year, which is a shame.  Although they don’t make a big spectacle, conifers are undergoing changes now, too. I love the contrast between the dark green old needles and… Read more →


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The Unsung Season of Baby Leaves

The Unsung Season of Baby Leaves

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In much of the country, April is a frenzy of blossoms–cherries and magnolias, crabapples, lilacs, and tulips.  The landscape is flooded with new flowers, and they receive all the glory. Another, more subtle season also unfolds now, however.  It is the season of tiny new leaves.  Out they come in shades of bronze, silver, mustard, toffee, and lime green:  maples… Read more →


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A Simple Trick for More Dramatic Garden Photos

A Simple Trick for More Dramatic Garden Photos

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March and April bring fresh new foliage back into our lives. I love to capture this special time of year in photos, so that I can better recall at any time of year the brilliance and translucency of those young spring leaves.  But sometimes, when going through the day’s photos, I have found that they don’t capture the spirit of what I saw… Read more →


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What Leafs When:  Early Foliage

What Leafs When: Early Foliage

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Not only do plants flower in a certain order, but they leaf out in a certain order, too, and some start to leaf even while frost is still a threat.  Winter flowers like hellebores, crocuses, and daffodils hog the limelight in March, but our color-starved eyes are also glad to see new foliage.  Look for the following early leafers to brighten up the… Read more →


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narcissus split cup daffodil

The War on Flowers

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Flowers are under attack. Have you noticed how many books and articles on garden design emphasize the importance of foliage to the point where flowers are entirely secondary? Many garden experts tell us that a sophisticated gardener overlooks the fleeting thrill of flowers and instead focuses, sensibly, on the form, texture, and color that foliage provides over the long haul.  Once one… Read more →


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