Sunday 3 April 2011

Take a leaf out of my book...

My gardening "book", that is...

Some people think that the only beautiful bits of plants are their flowers. Not so. The flowers are often colourful and gaudy, but many plants have incredibly beautiful leaves too. In this post I want to show you some of them.

For example, this Golden Hop leaf. It is striking both on account of its shape and its colour. The golden colour intensifies when the weather is hot and sunny (Hazel, are you making a note of this?). In a dull Summer the leaves sometimes remain much greener.

These Blackcurrant leaves are somewhat similar in shape to the Hop, though they will never be as interesting from a colour point of view. I photographed the leaf-stalk end-on, and I think the effect is as if the two leaves are floating in the air!

This next one is of an Olive branch sprouting fresh new growth. Was it one like this that the Dove brought back to Noah's Ark as the waters of the Great Flood began to subside...? Many of the leaves on my olive tree fell off during the Winter in ones and twos. Is this normal? I presume that the olive tree is deciduous, but I assumed that the leaves would all fall off at more or less the same time.

Even the leaves of  the humble Comfrey, considered by many gardeners to be only fit for making into feed for other plants, are fascinatingly textured and complex in their makeup.

 Lemon Balm (Melissa) is a sweet-scented herb that has many culinary uses, but I love the look of it too, especially its symettrical, serrated, hairy young leaves.

I even think Rhubarb is good-looking! Maybe most of our interest is focused on the lovely red stalks which we are planning to eat, and not on those nasty poisonous leaves which we are going to throw on the compost heap, but just look at those leaves a bit more closely. They have form, and texture and colour in abundance. In this picture you can see the contrast between the vibrant glossy green of the crinkly unfurling young leaves, and the more subdued matt green of the older ones - on which, notice how the pale veins show up so well.

I'm almost tempted to leave the plant unpicked, simply for its visual appeal. ALMOST, I said!  I love (eating) Rhubarb...


  1. I think rhubarb is as pretty as some of the Elephant Ear plants that I have.

  2. You are so right. Peonies are a good example too. Granted the flowers are stunning but the foliage is beautiful. Particularly come autumn!

  3. Mark i agree with you there I love the leaves on cyclamen

  4. The leaves and your herbs posted yesterday all look lovely. I was admiring the leaves on my rhubarb today. Great to sip a tea and walk around the garden to see what can be spotted.

  5. Hey Mark, just curious here. Why hops? Do you make your own beer?

  6. How lovely to give leaves their is a gorgeous color and leaves have every shade imaginable! Nice photos!

  7. I really like the golden hop leaf with the lovely jagged detail on the border ... and the lovely floating blackcurrant floating leaves, nice touch Mark :)

  8. Dawn: No , I don't make beer. I'm not actually very keen on beer. The Golden Hops are for ornamental purposes only.

  9. I love leaves too but still love my flowers.


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