Woodland garden 1Traditional Landscape, Charlotte
This seating wall was embedded into a hill in the front garden, effectively lowering the visitor closer to eye level for better viewing of the unique foliage. Photo by Jay Sifford.
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Provide regular water. While hostas can take some drought, they won’t do as well. Feed the soil about once a month with a 10-10-10 fertilizer to encourage growth. Remove faded flower stalks and any decayed leaves. Protect from snails and slugs, especially in warm-winter areas. The plants will die back to dormancy in winter.Caution: Toxic if eaten by petsOrigin: Eastern AsiaWhere it will grow: Hardy to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit and Celsius (zones 3 to 9)Mature size: 2 inches to 4 feet tall and 4 inches to 5 feet wideWater requirement: RegularLight requirement: Partial to full shadeWhen to plant: In spring, once soil can be worked, or fall in warm-winter climatesLearn more about growing hosta
H. ‘Sum and Substance’, Podophyllum ‘Spotty Dotty’, Acanthus mollis and Heuchera ‘Frosted Violet’Planting notes. Plant in full or partial shade in well-draining, slightly acidic soil. Darker-foliaged plants do best in full shade. Lighter-foliaged plants can handle less shade, and some can even handle sunny spots. Add a balanced (10-10-10) fertilizer at planting time.
Contrasting leaf shapes and textures is another good way to add interest to beds with subtler variation in color. In the foreground of a primarily green shade garden, the broad leaves of hostas and glossy bear’s breech (Acanthus mollis) stand out against the slender leaves of Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra cv.). The purple leaves of coral bells (Heuchera sp.) deepen the color of the shadows.
Foliage First1. Oversized foliage. It’s easy to be seduced by flowers, but as one of my favorite sayings goes, foliage first. Here we see a mix of foliage types and textures, all commingling to create a vignette full of interest in this mid-Atlantic garden. Note how the matte foliage of the hostas balances the glossy leaves of the bear’s breeches, and finely textured Japanese forest grass grows under the broad mayapple. The variety allows the eye to travel throughout the scene in search of more detail. Plant combo (click each photo to see the plants tagged):‘Spotty Dotty’ Chinese mayapple (Podophyllum ‘Spotty Dotty’, USDA zones 6 to 9; find your zone)Golden Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’, zones 4 to 9)Bear’s breeches (Acanthus mollis, zones 7 to 9)‘Frosted Violet’ coral bells (Heuchera ‘Frosted Violet’, zones 4 to 9)‘Sum and Substance’ plantain lily (Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’, zones 3 to 8)Light requirement: Full to partial shadeWater requirement: Medium; occasional water during dry months
If your courtyard garden is at ground level, you may be able to create planting beds instead of relying solely on containers. This will allow you to plant a wider variety of material. Careful selection based on cultural needs, sizes, shapes, foliage colors and textures will allow you to create a personal space.Browse the Houzz section on garden foliage
Abundant gardening demands that there should be no hard edges defining borders and plantings. Lush ground-cover plants can dissolve hard path and wall edges into the plantings’ softness.Define Your Garden Softly With Planted Borders
Create a mood. The best gardens leave a lasting impact on their visitors by creating a mood. Using large foliage is a great way to accomplish this. This seating area was designed to create a child-like experience for those who visit. The area was excavated and sunken into the surrounding terrain. With plantings placed higher than terrace level, the perceived scale of the visitor is diminished. The use of large-foliaged plants such as bear’s breech (Acanthus mollis, USDA zones 7 to 9), Spotty Dotty Chinese mayapple (Podophyllum ‘Spotty Dotty’, zones 6 to 9) and various hostas (Hosta cvs, zones 3 to 9) reinforces this perceived scale and, ultimately, creates a child-like vibe that rekindles pleasant memories.
Rethink Your Seating AreaThis seating area is tucked into an alcove in a lower portion of the garden. Surrounded by green foliage, the stone bench is a nurturing destination point.
Use plants with large foliage or structure to change your sense of scale. This garden works for our discussion on several levels. First, this stacked-stone wall with a seat is embedded into a hill in a front yard, effectively creating a fort. It brings the viewer closer to eye level with the plants, reducing his or her own perceived scale or size in relationship to the plants. Now onto the plants. Who wouldn't feel a sense of awe sitting in the midst of these large-foliaged plants? The dinner-plate-size leaves of 'Spotty Dotty' Chinese mayapple, the enormous chartreuse leaves of 'Sum and Substance' hosta and the glossy Acanthus mollis foliage, all woven together with the nearly black heucheras, add a dose of fairy tale wonder that even the most logical among us would feel. Other plants that might work include gunnera, Rheum, ostrich fern and Farfugium.In another part of this garden a spectacular 'Cascade Falls' weeping bald cypress shrouds a pathway. Its delicate fernlike foliage gives the visitor a sense of entering into an imaginary world that lies just beyond.