Seeds, Berries, and Foliage in the June Garden

Seeds, berries, and foliage sounds like some kind of trail mix, although it would have to be called seeds-berries-n-foliage because apparently the word “and” is bad branding, as you never see it in the names of consumer products. Commas also seem to depress market demand.

But this post is not about consumer products, it is about some of the things you can see in my garden during the relative lull of late June. While there are some blooms right now, many flowering stars of spring and summer are more notable for their leaves, fruits, and seedheads. Foliage plants are also more noticeable.

Bishop's Weed
Bishop’s Weed

For example, there is bishop’s weed (Aegopodium podagraria). Now I know this is considered a terribly invasive pest, but in my garden I have found the variegated form to be quite manageable. I am careful to nip off any flower heads to prevent seed production, and there have been no bishops pillaging adjacent flower beds. I also destroy any non-variegated leaves that emerge. (The common name makes you wonder about the reputation of bishops in olden times.)

In fact, I was worried that the bishop’s weed would overrun the nearby great merrybells (Uvularia  grandiflora), but the merrybells seem to be more than holding their own. The bishop’s weed in my garden is inherited – I wouldn’t plant any myself, but I haven’t felt the need to do away with it.

Jacobs Ladder seed capsules.
Jacobs Ladder seed capsules.

Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium reptans) foliage persist through the season, and the seed capsules are quite attractive. Though this is a North American native, another common name is Greek valerian, isn’t that odd?

Solomon's Plume with containers for summer shade.
Solomon’s Plume with containers for summer shade.

Solomon’s Plume (Smilacina racemosa) is another native for shady spots. Right now it has tiny green berries that will later turn red. A problem I have had with this plant is that it tends to flop when the berries ripen. Some of these are leaning on containers planted with Caladiums and New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri).

Celandine Poppy
Celandine Poppy

Here and there a lone yellow flower will pop out among the celandine poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum), but really they have been done for a while. The foliage is gradually fading, but still has an appealing look to it.


Allium 'Purple Sensation' seed head. Or exploding UGO.
Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ seed head. Or exploding UGO.

The seed heads of Allium aflatunense ‘Purple Sensation’ remain decorative in an odd way. To me they suggest an Unidentified Green Object (UGO)  exploding somewhere in outer space.

Unknown wild strawberry.
Unknown wild strawberry.

When we moved here there were patches of this wild strawberry, which I decided to treat as a ground cover. This is not the native North American wild strawberry, Fragaria virginiana, which I use extensively, also as a ground cover. I’ve thought that maybe it was barren strawberry (Waldsteinia fragarioides) – the flowers are yellow, but clearly it is not barren. Anybody have an idea?

Starry Solomon's Seal
Starry Solomon’s Seal

Starry Solomon plume’s (Smilacina stellata) berries are my favorite, at least among herbaceous plants. The stripes are so cool! Birds like them, too. The foliage is also appealing.


I’m growing nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus)  in my sunny containers for the first time in a long while. In the past I’ve had trouble getting them to bloom. But even if they don’t bloom, I really like the unique round foliage – and I also like the way they spill over the edge.  Here’s our botanical word for today: peltate, which is when a leaf is roundish with the stem attached from beneath, as with nasturtiums. Comes from the Latin word for a small shield.

Penstemon 'Husker Red', in front of Switchgrass 'Northwind'.
Penstemon ‘Husker Red’, a bit tilted after all the heavy rain we’ve had, in front of Switchgrass ‘Northwind’.


'Husker Red' up close.
‘Husker Red’ up close.

And finally, this is a little off topic but I just have to say that my Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ is really peaking right now. Actually, it’s not completely off topic because the red stems and reddish leaves are really nice.

There are more interesting foliage plants to show, but Judy stopped taking pictures because she was tired of serving as a moveable feast for the mosquitos. We’ll get to some of them in future posts.

I am tardily linking this with Christina at My Hesperides Garden, who hosts the meme Garden Bloggers Foliage Day. Check out the link to see more great foliage.

What’s your favorite foliage, fruit, or seedhead at the moment?

45 Comments on “Seeds, Berries, and Foliage in the June Garden”

  1. We have a lot of those strawberries here too and the berries are rather tasteless. I think it is a “Mock Strawberry” (Duchesnea indica). It is outgrowing the tasty wild strawberries unfortunately. My favourite seedheads at the moment are Allium Silver Spring – there are only three, so they will have to go on my list for autumn planting! I hope your Bishop’s weed remains well-behaved – I have the wilder version and it is a real problem, but I’m trying to learn to love it as I will never be able to get rid of it!

  2. Lots of interesting seeds-berries-n-foliage in your garden! I’m so glad that your readers identified Duchesnea indica as I have far too much of it trying to take over a bed. I’ve wondered about the berries but haven’t tried eating them as I hate it when I poison myself. My favorite foliage at the moment is all of the succulents, especially my agaves.

  3. Seems like everyone agrees it is a mock strawberry. They don’t have much flavor but they won’t poison you either. I like the look of your bishop’s weed and why pull out something that works? The celandine poppy leaves are really nice. Do they disappear completely as the summer heats up? If so, can you recommend a good planting partner? I really want to try them for this coming spring.

  4. We have strawberry groundcover, here for more than 40 years, remnants of an actual strawberry patch, now just food for critters who may find the berries which are actually tasty if you get there first.

    We’re enjoying blueberries right now.

  5. Ha! I like that it sounds a bit like a trail mix! That gave me a good laugh! I am so fond of that variegated bishop’s weed as well! It is a lovely plant that adds nice contrast to my shade garden! All of your examples are lovely! I will have to jump over to this party…I plan on heading out with the camera today! Happy gardening this week!

  6. We have several Husker Reds – my husband really likes them. I also have those strawberries and find they are more of a challenge than Bishops Weed! Lots of rain here lately. Almost impossible to stay on top of the weeds 🙂

  7. The variegated form of Bishop’s weed is tame compared to its non variegated cousin. I’ve spent too many hours to count trying to eradicate it, with little success. Once it gets into the crown of a plant like daylily, forget it. You have to dig up the plant, wash all the soil from the roots, and then re-plant it. I’ve dug and replanted entire gardens trying to get rid of Bishop’s weed.

  8. I am growing Stylophorum for the first time this year. It is quite a nice plant, ins’t it.
    I would also like to grow Jacob’s ladder. I will have to look for it. It is a traditional plant but it has not yet come my way.

  9. Movable feast for mosquitos. LOL. I’ve been feeling like that a lot lately. No amount of repellent seems to deter them. My garden is substantially behind yours so we haven’t got any seedheads at present except for the tulips and daffodils. neither of which is too interesting.

  10. Lovely nasturtiums and strawberry Jason! I grow nasturtium as well for its leaves and flowers but some people love its buds to eat, ‘capers’.
    This strawberry might be decorative one and inedible. Or wild one with very tasty fruit. Did you taste them?

  11. I too had strawberries until the ants discovered them. And the other garden critters too. Big bites were missing and I never even got one berry after they became known to all. It makes gardening interesting, but I took them out after they could not share. The native ones in the woods is all I get anymore. Some reason those are left for hikers.

  12. Your penstemon looks nice. Mine’s gone to see and I need to cut most of it back. I also have variegated Bishop’s weed and it has spread all along a side bed on the north side of the house. A friend gave it to me and I brought it along to this garden not knowing it was invasive. Someday I’ll tackle it but I can’t tell you how many visitors to the garden ask for some because it’s so attractive (I refuse though).

  13. Hi Jason, a foliage post with no mention of hostas! Not that I’m mad about them, but if you can keep the slugs off them they are rather maintenance free, which I like. The penstemon is gradually working on me. If I can find seeds then it might find its way into the new garden.

  14. Bishop’ s Weed? Gout Weed? As far as I’ m concerned it is Devil’ s Weed. Or Expletive, Expletive Weed. But I have to admit your variegated form looks very pretty. The ordinary green one is the bane of my life.
    Peltate? Thank you for that, I am always pleased to learn a new word.
    I have never heard of an inedible strawberry, sounds a bit of an oxymoron to me.
    You do have lots of lovely June foliage and as usual an interesting and entertaining post.

  15. Nice!
    I’ve never noticed seed heads on the polemonium before, I wonder if mine sets anything (I’ve never had seedlings).
    Interesting to hear the ‘enthusiasm’ for Bishop’s weed. I always loved the foliage yet have been scared away by the stories. I think it’s the same as ground elder which is always cursed across the waters. I will never add it…. but the foliage is so nice! What a quandary.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: