Make some ‘Junuary’ garden magic

By Pam Roy | Jun 20, 2012

Junuary again? Last year it seemed like a novelty. Daytime temperatures in the 50s.  Nighttime temperatures low enough that the tomatoes planted out in the garden should have been brought in at night.

June 2012 seems to be a repeat.  The weather station reported that by June 7, we’d almost achieved our average rainfall amount for the entire month of June!

If your flowers are shivering and short on blossoms and the winter pansies are still happily blooming, it’s great time to enjoy foliage color.

Planscapes put our display garden together for Sorticulture, Everett’s Garden Arts Festival during the first week of June and we provided color in our display with some stunning foliage combinations.

Here are a few great performers for colorful displays of foliage when summer is seeming a bit standoffish.

The soft lacy foliage of Sorbaria sorbafolia looks a bit like a cross between Sumac and   Nandina. Foliage colors range from chartreuse to orange gold.  Billowy white plumes of flowers decorate the plant in mid to late summer.

With a common name of “False Spirea,” this deciduous plant tolerates many soil conditions and sun or part shade.  It can be a large container accent. Sorbaria is one of those plants that look little and cute in the nursery, then goes on to become a plant that will really fill some space.

Allow for growth of up to 6-10 feet tall and wide. It does respond quite well to trimming down to the ground as a means of keeping it in check.

A pillar of the plant community award goes to two barberries.  Berberis thunbergii “Orange Rocket” is a spectacular crimson orange small pillar shaped plant. This is one of the plants that had people stopping to exclaim “ Look at that color!” while walking by our display garden.

With its small height of 6 feet tall by 2 feet wide, this could be a stunning centerpiece in a container. Being a member of the barberry family, it does sport small spines, so consider this in determining where to use it. Grow in full sun for best foliage color.

A cousin, Berberis thunbergii “Golden Rocket” has bright gold foliage with contrasting coral colored stems. Golden Rocket has a small columnar growth habit up to 5 feet tall by 2 feet wide. Use as an upright accent in a planting bed, or as a container focal point.

Pale yellow flowers, which are attractive to pollinators adorn the plant in spring, are followed by bright red berries in the fall.

Another gem in the barberry family is Berberis Crimson Ruby.  With foliage color similar to Orange Rocket, this is a small mound 2 by 2 feet.

And, with a name like “Geisha Gone Wild,” you know this is a maple is sure to be an eye catcher! This new maple is a small tree reaching 6 feet tall by 3 feet wide. The foliage of purple-pink, white and green is fabulous.

Use colorful foliage to brighten up the garden, even when the sun is reluctant to shine.

Pam Roy, owner of Planscapes, has been a landscape designer and horticulturist for 30 years in the Northwest. Contact her at 425-252-9469 or www.planscapesdesign.com.

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