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Foliage Follow-Up February 2011

This Salvia canariensis var. candissima from Annie’s Annuals is furrier than the species and has been incredibly difficult to photograph. Ever since I read a recent trashy news story on how beauties like Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe shaved their faces of any peach fuzz for the camera (Huffington Post here), that photographic challenge now has some context and makes a little more sense to me. The dusky pink blooms and bracts have a similar character to Salvia sclarea var. turkestanica. I moved it so many times last year that it never bloomed, so have dedicated quite a bit of sunny garden this year to this salvia, which will inevitably become ginormous.

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I’ve found extremely fuzzy plants difficult to capture, for example, as opposed to succulents, which practically photograph themselves.
(Unnamed graptopetalum.)

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Ligularia tussilagenea ‘Argentea.’ This ligularia/farfugium would seem to be pushing variegation to an unhealthy extreme, with some leaves in total photosynthetic denial, possessing no discernible pigment at all.

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Brachysema praemorsum ‘Bronze Butterfly.’ Far Out Flora visited the Santa Cruz Arboretum’s Australian section and gives some background on this Australian shrub, which grows in my gravel garden among agaves, phormiums, grasses, and succulents. It’s past time for brachysema to be reintroduced to nurseries again. A tough, mid-sized shrub that never looks disheveled.

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Melianthus major ‘Purple Haze,’ recently planted from a gallon.

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I love the way this tetrapanax wants to join in the conversation, almost climbing into the chair to take a seat at the table.

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Euphorbia characias ‘Silver Swan.’ There are so many variegated varieties of E. characias now, it’s hard to recapture the excitement when the ‘Tasmanian Tiger’ roared into nurseries then pitifully mewed and faded away in gardens. This ‘Silver Swan’ has been a very strong grower so far.

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Pam at Digging hosts the Foliage Follow-Up on the 16th of each month. Branches and bark are welcome too.

6 comments to Foliage Follow-Up February 2011

  • I’m swooning for your Silver Swan euphorbia. No tigers here in Austin, either the roaring or the mewing kind. I wish we had more of a selection of euphorbias that could take our roller coaster weather pattern.

  • Where di you get that M. ‘Purple Haze’, Monrovia is supposed to have it in production. SPILL!

  • My Tasmanian Tiger persisted for 3 years and then collapsed . Glacier Blue never moved beyond two wimpy stems. Guess I need to try Silver Swan.

  • I think your Melianthus photo is one of the best I’ve seen. I love it. Mine might not have made it through the winter–again. My TT is barely hanging in there.

  • I love that ligularia’s colors. The white leaves contrast so nicely against the darker ones–At least it hasn’t given up completely on photosynthesis!

  • Denise

    Pam, no E. characias in Austin? It’s short-lived here in SoCal but it’ll look good for a couple yrs. Never the gigantic flower heads like in zone 8 though.
    Dustin, I think it was Rogers…
    Kathy, who knows if they’re just changing names around? This SS is doing great, that’s all I know. I’ll get a cutting for you going.
    Grace, you should see these shrubs when they’re 10-foot gangly monsters with naked stems, as my last one was. This one is supposedly more compact, but I’m sure it will still be a cutback shrub.
    James, isn’t that a beaut? It will need lots of water when summer hits — good incentive to work out a mini-bog garden.