Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Colour champions

There are many many plants that we grow mainly for the beauty of their flowers, but I think we should occasionally stop to consider those whose attraction is NOT in their flowers, but in their foliage.

Whilst the bright white flowers of this Oxalis ("Burgundy Wine") are lovely, they pale into insignificance beside the glowing purple leaves:

The leaves are very "dynamic" - they open and close according to the light conditions. When it is hot they fold up like little umbrellas, but when it is cold they spread out to maximise the opportunities for absorbing sunlight.

I am also currently very keen on ferns - especially the one called "Dryopteris Erythrosora" of which I bought a specimen earlier this year. The plant has produced a succession of really beautiful bronze-coloured fronds, which gradually fade to green, so that at any given moment the plant has leaves of several different colours:

This plant is Cotinus (aka Smoke Bush) "Royal Purple". Its foliage is at its most intense in the late Summer, just before it begins to fade into various shades of orange and brown.

Here is another of my favourites: Cornus (Dogwood): It is one of those plants that has something to offer at every time of the year. This one is "Cornus Alba Aurea" - it has bright yellow leaves at present, and little berries beginning to form. In the Winter its bare stems are a bright red colour.

If you are also a Dogwood enthusiast, you might want to look at this blogpost I published last November: Dogwood Gallery


  1. Beautiful fern Mark, a worthy topic to explore more.

  2. Does you cotinus grow in sun or shade Mark? I'd love to plant one in our garden

  3. Doggedly ferntastic?! Foliage starts to really come in to its own at this time of year doesn't it.

  4. Sue, my Cotinus is in shade - against a North-facing wall, yet it seems to be fine. It is very popular in our area, and people seem to have it in just about any situation.

  5. I used to have an oxalis but unfortunately it died. They're such lovely little plants, very unusual.


Thank you for taking time to leave me a comment! Please note that Comment Moderation is enabled for older posts.