Foliage Appreciation Day for May

Many of us set aside the 22nd of each month for taking note of the foliage in our gardens. Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day is hosted by Christina of My Hesperides Garden. However, I prefer to call it Foliage Appreciation Day (FAD), as it makes a more nifty acronym.


Not that there is anything faddish about foliage, without which our gardens could not exist (and if they did exist, they would look strangely sparse). In our garden, the Ostrich Ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris) are the foliage kings and queens of the moment.  Here the green Ostrich Ferns are accented by a little patch of Spanish Bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica).

DSC_0051In our front garden we use Ostrich Ferns as a foundation planting on the north-facing side of the house. Every year or two I have to dig up a bunch of these ferns to keep them from taking over the entire border. They are worth the effort, though.

DSC_0104On the east side of the house there are a mix of evergreen groundcovers and the more diminutive Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina).

DSC_0107Wild Ginger (Asarum canadensis) is one of my favorite groundcovers for shade. It likes the wet, cool conditions we are getting this spring.

DSC_0174Hellebore (Helleborus orientalis) flowers are mostly done, but the handsome foliage, shiny and deep green, remains.

DSC_0177The same is true of the Celandine Poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum), whose leaves are matte, rather than shiny, but still handsome.

DSC_0159The zigzag, arching stems of Solomon’s Plume (Maianthemum racemosum) are clothed with smooth-edged, oval leaves. The flower buds that grow at the end of the stem are still swelling.

DSC_0113The new leaves of ‘Wentworth’ Cranberrybush Viburnum (Viburnum trilobum) are an attractive mix of red and green.

DSC_0120‘Wentworth’ seems to bloom a bit later than other varieties or the straight species

DSC_0114The leaves of Purple-Flowering Rasberry (Rubus odoratus) are Maple-like but not as smooth to the touch.

DSC_0116Goat’s Beard leaves (Aruncus dioicus) have a slightly rough look, with their finely toothed edges and dense veining.

DSC_0166But Dwarf Goat’s Beard (Aruncus aethusifolius) has delicate-looking, ferny foliage.

The foliage of May is so fresh and green, you can almost smell the chlorophyll. For more interesting foliage in other gardens, click the link to My Hesperides Garden.

24 Comments on “Foliage Appreciation Day for May”

  1. I noticed your comment that you use Ostrich Ferns as a foundation planting on the north side of your house. Hmm! What do you do when the Ostrich Ferns die back for winter? They aren’t evergreen, are they? The front of my house faces north, and it’s very difficult to find plants that do well there. Do you have the same problem? I’d love to know about your other north-side plants. I’m in Richmond, VA

  2. I, too, want to know if you are making a couple meals with fiddleheads while you cull your ostrich fern! I have a couple less edible ferns that pop up in my shade garden, and I think they are going to need constant watching as well to make sure they don’t run rampant. I love ferns, though. I love the foliage of wild ginger, too.

  3. You have just about everything one could want in pretty foliage. How old is your garden? Love the Ostrich Fern with the Spanish Bluebells. Your Hellebores look so much better than mine. Have never eaten fiddleheads. Am guessing they’re tasty.

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