Foliage Follow-Up: July 2013 (Now With Elderberries!)

Foliage Follow-Up is a meme sponsored by Pam at Digging which highlights the importance of foliage, and also helps us avoid putting all our mid-month photos in the GBBD post.

So, I got some real nice foliage for ya! First of all, you may remember how I cut back my Blue Star (Amsonia tabernaemontana) and Blue Wild Indigo (Baptisia australis) by about 1/3 after they were finished blooming. At first they didn’t look too good, but I am here to tell you they have recovered nicely. First, the Blue Star.

Blue Star is in the lower right corner.

And now the Blue Wild Indigo, on the left hand side of the photo.

Blue Wild Indigo
Blue Wild Indigo is left of the front steps.

I would say Tracy DiSabato-Aust’s advice to cut these guys back was right on the money. Not only are they less floppy, but they don’t obscure their neighbors who may be entering their own season of greatest interest. On the other hand, you do lose the seed heads, but life is full of tough choices.

The ‘Northwind’ Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) has reached a good height. Here are two nice clumps in the sidewalk border. No panicles yet, though.

Switchgrass 'Northwind'
Switchgrass ‘Northwind’ in the front sidewalk border.

Seedheads are forming on the Northern Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium).

Northern Sea Oats

On the east side of the house, the Red Elderberry (Sambucus racemosa L.) is very happy. Its covered with bright red berries, and the foliage has a vaguely tropical feel.

2013-07-04 11.56.41 red elderberry


Red Elderberry

The path to the back garden is over on the west side of the garage. Lady Ferns (Athyrium felix-femina) and Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense) crowd the stone path. I really need to widen this path.

Lady Ferns, Wild Ginger,

There’s nice ferns in the back, including this unknown species growing against the back porch.


I also have – please don’t report me to the authorities – Variegated Bishops Weed (Aegopodium podagraria ‘Variegatum’). Honestly it hasn’t been too hard to control, and I always pull off any seed heads that appear.

Bishops Weed at the base of the Hydrangea.
Bishops Weed at the base of the Hydrangea.

On, and there are some wild black raspberries (Rubus occidentalus) ripening in the little wild patch I have underneath the Silver Maple tree (Acer saccharinum).

Black Raspberries Unripe

All in all, things are progressing nicely on the foliage front at Garden In A City. No thanks to this guy and his far too numerous co-conspirators.

2013-07-13 18.39.08

Hope that the foliage in your garden is making you happy these days.


43 Comments on “Foliage Follow-Up: July 2013 (Now With Elderberries!)”

  1. I tried cutting back one of my Amsonias a month or so ago, as a bit of an experiment…and have to agree…it makes a huge difference…I’ll definitely cut them all back next year. I love ‘Northwind’, it does seem to flower later than the other Panicums, though.

  2. Need to look for Amsonia, like to get the salicifolia type. I also like Tracy’s books, very down to earth and helpful. Ups, I’m glad that furry chap isn’t in my garden 😉 …wonder whether he or she behaves for you?

  3. Jason, these are some wonderful wide angle pictures of your garden. Panicum ‘Northwind’ is anew acquisition for me this year and I’m looking forward to see it perform.

    Tracy DiSabato-Aust’s books are filled with invaluable advice. For the past couple of years she seems to have disappeared from the garden scene. Apparently she competes in triathalons now. Hopefully she’s still gardening as well. I forgot to trim back the Baptisias this year. I wonder if better late than never applies?

  4. Are hydrangea not doing great this year? Yours are flowering so beautifully. I look at foliage on all the plants, even those blooming. The texture and colors have such variety even on plants that have noticeable flowers. The flowers generally are short blooming, yet the foliage and bark for that matter, last seasons or even all year.

  5. Your garden sure is pretty at this time of year! I envy you the Blue Star Amsonia but not the bunnies. It’s interesting to me that we do have one plant in common in our very different gardens — the sea oats, such an easy-going plant. I love it, especially when those fish-on-a-line oats appear.

  6. The Red Elderberry is a nice feature in your garden. Not too many admit to having Variegated Bishops Weed. A friend gave me some years ago before I knew its reputation. Mine has stayed fairly manageable too, but at some point I plan to try to get it out. Everyone who sees it loves it and wants some but I don’t pass it along.

  7. Your garden is looking so lush and green, lovely! Loved the Blue Wild Indigo, but loved even more your blue/purple clematis! I am looking for a clematis in that colour to replace an aging honey suckle, spoilt for choices of course, there are many to choose from, but I want one that doesn’t fade in the sun. How is yours? Do you have the name of it?

  8. I have a few of those cute furry little guys in my garden at the moment too. I knew they were there from the missing parsley and the headless violets. Bishop’s Weed is a problem plant in my garden, but if you have an area where you can keep it in check, hey why not. I love the Red Elderberry, and while I know that I should be remarking on the foliage, I have to say that the clematis by the front door is beautiful.

  9. We seem to have a lot of the same plants. I started cutting back my Amsonia this year, too, it was obscuring my daylilies but on the plus side it did seem to hide them from the deer so I had more flowers than usual. I love your elderberry, the berries are such a vivid color. I’ve always wanted some for my garden but I never seem to buy it…I always get distracted by something else,

    • This species elderberry may be a little too vigorous for some gardens. I like it, though. I bought it primarily for the Cedar Waxwings but they have not noticed the berries to date. There are cultivars like Sutherland’s Gold and Black Lace that seem to be much better behaved.

  10. I only grow the little amsonias but I tend to clip them a bit, too. My baptisias aren’t big enough to need cutting back yet but it’s good advice for when they are. Your hydrangeas and Bishop’s Weed are beautiful together. Bishops Weed nearly took over my garden when I lived in upstate NY.

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