Garden Bloggers Foliage Day: July–Another Wet and Gray Day

I am pleased to present my second offering for July’s edition of Garden Bloggers Foliage Day. I am grateful to Christina for developing this idea and inviting me to participate. I do hope you will visit her site.

As I have aged, I have been transforming my garden over time with the goal of reducing maintenance, particularly involving stoop labor and its impact on my lower back. Consequently I am placing more and more emphasis on foliage plants. I find that they are giving me the color I want in my borders even with fewer flowers, while providing dynamic contrast.

Today has been another very gray day, but I have been able to take photographs in fairly decent light.

Euphorbia Ascot Rainbow

Euphorbia x martinii ‘Ascot Rainbow


An unidentified Ninebark which I moved from my Chapel Hill garden. When many other purple plants begin to green up during the hot summer, ninebark stays dark, a helpful attribute.

DSCN1752 I use a lot of gold variegated liriope (Liriope muscari ‘Variegata’)as a front of the border plant throughout the garden. It seems to enhance all around it. The purple flowers, not yet beginning to be seen, will be a bonus. There is a liriope cultivar available with silver variegation, but it is super invasive, absolutely not recommended.


Believe it or not: this is a gold variety of Leyland cypress named ‘Golconda’  (Cupressocyparis leylandi ‘Golconda’). Leyland cypresses in our area are disease prone, but I have been able to keep ‘Golconda’ fairly free of problems, although I did have to top it to remove a deceased section. It has recovered nicely and is a wonderful addition to my “screen” on the side yard.

DSCN1756  DSCN1757

I love the color, shape, upright foliage structure, growth habit, and especially the seed pods of Berckmann’s arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis berckmanii).


Goldmound spirea (Spirea bumalda ‘Goldmound’) appears throughout my garden and is beautiful in three seasons.


Carex morrowii ‘Evergold’ has become a favorite grass for shady areas; it thrives in these conditions.


I have a dozen or more hosta in my garden and could have chosen any of them for their foliage. This is one of our favorites: ‘Frances Williams.’ I have a number in pots that have done well and returned for several years with no special protection.


This purple barberry (Berberis thunbergii f. atropurpurea ‘Gentry’ ‘Royal Burgundy’) has served me well. It is smaller than the more popular ‘Crimson Pygmy,’ stays compact, and holds its color in summer in full sun.


How about a gold, ground hugging juniper? This is Juniperus horizontalis ‘Mother Lode.’ Sited at the base of in Indian Hawthorne (Raphiolepsis indica) hedge, it forms a striking boundary with the turf.

I would have included more photographs in this post, but, alas, this little visitor appeared this morning who seemed to be enjoying reducing my foliage plants before my very eyes.


About johnvic8

John Viccellio retired after 24 years in the U. S. Navy and began to dig into gardening when he could finally land in one place. He completed the Master Gardener course in 1992 and has since designed and constructed two of his own gardens. He wrote a monthly garden column for ten years and was a regular contributor to Carolina Gardener magazine. John published his first book, Guess What's in My Garden!, in 2014. He lives in a retirement community in Matthews, NC.
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17 Responses to Garden Bloggers Foliage Day: July–Another Wet and Gray Day

  1. That little wild creature looks like the same one who ate my clematis last winter-spring.


  2. Christina says:

    I really enjoyed this post John, you have made excellent use of many different foliage plants, I loved the ground hugging Cypress. Interesting to hear about problems with Leylandii; in the UK it is the Leylandii themselves that are the problem! Growing too tall – they actually introduced a law about them to stop people growing them too tall! thanks for joining in again this month.


  3. johnvic8 says:

    Thanks, Christina. One aspect of the Leyland problem here is that they have been overplanted, frequently in long rows as hedge screens around property. When “the disease” hits one of them, of course, it spreads and one is left with a brown hedge. Thanks again for starting this idea.


  4. Will try to leave a reply again, but lately they have been rejected. This is a wonderful post of beautiful garden beauties. Feel like I’ve had a few quiet moments just enjoying.


  5. johnvic8 says:

    You have seen most of the plants. I hope they make you feel at home.


  6. Annette says:

    Lovely selection of foliage plants – I especially like the Euphorbia and have a variegated E. characias which looks very similar.


  7. johnvic8 says:

    Thanks Annette. This is my first try at growing euphorbia, and as you noted it has been a pleasant addition to the garden.


  8. Dave says:

    The Berckmann’s arborvitae. the one with the blue seed pods. Is that a Juniper? Thanks


    • johnvic8 says:

      No. It’s an arborvitae…Thuja occidentalis ‘Berckmanii’. One of my favorite shrubs.


      • Dave says:

        Is there a simpler name for this bush? I took some close-ups of the seed pods and I want to give them a name that is easy for the general public to understand. Thanks


        • johnvic8 says:

          I don’t have another name for it. The same plant had two different labels from the same store. One was Thuja occidentalis ‘Berckmanii’ and the other Berckman’s Golden Arborvitae with a different Latin name, Platycladus orientalis ‘Aurea Nana.’ Take your pick. I wish I could provide a better answer. I’m a bit confused myself. Perhaps it’s one of those name changes none of us seem to understand or like. I am glad that you like the plant. It is a winner.


  9. Dave says:

    When I make a few prints of the image I took I will show you!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dave Frieder says:

    Hi! Here is the photo I took last week of a seed pod cluster of Berckman’s Golden Arborvitae. This is the name as you stated to me. Is this an Okay name to use if I publicly display this photograph? Or would you suggest a better name? Thank you!
    I just realized there is no way to add a photo. What can I do?


    • johnvic8 says:

      Dave, It is a bit confusing. One tag says Platycladus orientalis and another Thuja occidentalis Berckmanii. I looked up Berckmanns’ arborvitae in Google and all the refs (I chose not to look at all 1000) listed it as thuja occidentalis. I don’t know how any plant could be orientalis and occidentalis. One of them is wrong. I too have wanted to include a photo in a comment, but I can’t figure how to do it. Perhaps we should put pressure on WordPress. With all the confusion, I would call it Berckmann’s arborvitae. When I’ve used that name, nobody has raised an issue. I love those seed pods.


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