Variegated Foliage For More Interest!
I love spring in the garden centre, it’s a happy time with lots of plants being delivered daily and the nursery staff rushing about trying it to get it all out on the beds. In between that rush it’s always good to have a little moment to stop and admire something new that I haven’t seen before and this time it was a beautiful variegated semi-evergreen perennial called Acanthus mollis ‘Tasmanian Angel’, also known as Bears-breeches. This particular cultivar has the most amazing large architectural, deeply cut green leaves with creamy white mottling and margins, in late summer it will produce tall pink-cream flower spikes. Planted in a moist, but well-drained fertile soil in sun or part shade this is bound to be a real blast in late summer.
Some variegated plants have so much more to offer especially when that variegation is so beautifully designed to the best effect. A lovely shrub that also gained my admiration earlier last month was Fatsia japonica ‘Spider’s Web’. This large suckering shrub is a beautiful foliage plant, with big thick glossy cut leaves with a varied variegation patterning from shrub to shrub. It does flower but they are insignificant. Ideally it needs a partially shaded spot out of cold winds in a sheltered garden in moist but well-drained soil. A fantastic looking plant for that tropical themed garden.
Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’, ‘Silver Heart’, ‘Looking Glass’ and Sea Heart’ are very pretty foliaged herbaceous perennials for a partially shaded spot with moist but well-drained soils. They all have very distinctive heart shaped leaves with various striking leaf colour and amazing leaf veining patterns. These beautiful perennials really stand out like little works of art and produce stems with ‘forget me not’ blue flowers from spring to early summer giving ground cover and making perfect companions for other shady plants.
Another striking shrub is a variegated butterfly bush called Buddleja davidii ‘Harlequin’. This beautiful tall shrub has lance shaped leaves of mid-green with creamy margins, that beautifully contrast with the long dense red flower panicles in summer. A bright and beautiful shrub to brighten up the garden, just perfect for the wildlife garden in well-drained soils in a sunny position.