Usually it is the flowers that catch the eye, but blooms need foliage to act as a foil to their petals. The plants described below all rely on their leaves for their particular beauty. They are also all perennials so will last for several years and emerge in spring to provide a background to the flower bed. These beautiful foliage plants are described in an article by Ken Druse which I found on the Garden Design Magazine website.
The real troupers of the perennial garden are in the background. Foliage is the foil for the action and lasts from the moment the spring curtain rises until the last scene of autumn’s ?nal act. Many of us have come to realize that shrubs provide the necessary permanent structure for perennials as they come in and
out of bloom?and through the seasons, they can also deliver great color.
Spiraea japonica ?Gold Mound?, iris pallida ?Variegata? and Penstemon ?Husker Red?.
Check out these dazzling tonal options in bleeding hearts, toad lilies, lungworts, coral-bells, old-fashioned weigela, elderberry and spirea. Their leaves rival the
?owers with jewel-like colors: amethyst, topaz garnet, emerald. ruby, jade and gold, along with striking combinations of them all.
PICTURED: Sambucus racemose ?Sutherland Gold?.
Among golden elderberries I have had the most success with Sambucus canadensls ‘Aurea’. I cut the plant back every year or two for the lushest foliage and forgo the ?owers and fruit. Some gardeners I know favor S.racemose ?Sutherland Gold? and cite it as the best cut-leaf golden variety.
PICTURED: Sambucus nigra ?Guincho Purple?.
The deep burgundy variety, S.nigra ‘Guincho Purple?, has pink buds that open to pale buff-pink ?owers, so l tend to not cut that one back, to the loss of the
splendid foliage. l am now looking for ?Gerda’ (also called Black Beauty), a new one from Spring Meadow. l’ve heard this will replace ?Guincho Purple?, since its
dark foliage deepens through summer rather than turning green.
See more at Garden Design Magazine
Feature photo: D. Cavagnaro