Appreciating the bold beauty of foliage

Cordyline ‘Red Fountain’. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
Cordyline ‘Red Fountain’. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
The bold beauty of sculptured leaves, vividly veined, blotched or margined, can provide the greatest contribution to effective planting in any well-designed garden.

To achieve this each plant must be chosen in careful relation to its intended surroundings, the size of planting area, the amount of sunshine or shade, the dampness or dryness of site. Any one or combination of these factors may spell the ultimate success or failure of growing selected leafy favourites.

It needs only a few beautiful plants to introduce an element of artistry, or an atmosphere of a tropical garden even in a cooler climate, providing each plant is correctly placed for contrast or harmony.

Examples of plants where the characteristic of their leaves give good bold effects are;

Cordyline species or cabbage trees especially the bushy purple fine leaf cabbage tree Cordyline ‘Red Fountain', while Cordyline indivisa gives the opposite effect with long broad green leaves.

Darmera peltata has lots of features within the leaf to make it standout with coppery autumn colours. It loves pond margins and a very good substitute to Gunnera manicata.

Podophyllum ‘Spotty Dotty' is an ideal plant to attract attention. Heavily textured green leaves with mottled brown and red spots.

Fatsia japonica has large deeply lobed shiny leaves up to 300-400mm across and gives a good tropical appearance but can be slightly frost tender.

These and other plants with similar characteristics can be seen in the lower garden’s Thematic Borders and Clive Lister Garden

Garden Life is produced by Dunedin Botanic Garden. For further information, contact David Askin.


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