When buying plants for the garden we often overlook those which are grown solely for their foliage, as our eyes are naturally drawn to colourful flowers. But foliage plays a huge role in all of our gardens, adding texture, shape and colour - even plain green leaves come in a myriad of shades. A backdrop of green foliage often acts as the perfect foil to brightly coloured flowers preventing them from becoming overwhelming. There are many plants whose foliage alone makes them a worthy addition to any garden, and grasses, ferns and Hostas are definitely all candidates for consideration.
All the ferns which we have at the nursery are hardy varieties. Ferns are terrific foliage plants, producing attractive fronds, perfect for adding interest to an otherwise tricky area of shade. They can be either deciduous or evergreen. Stumperies, which were originally a popular feature of Victorian gardens, have enjoyed a resurgence in recent years and provide the perfect cool, shady and moist conditions which ferns love to grow in. They can be grown in containers too.
Hostas are predominantly grown for their attractive foliage but they also produce lily-like blooms during the summer, which are occasionally scented. They thrive when grown in fertile, moisture-retentive soils, but are equally happy when grown in a pot or container and placed in a shady or semi-shady location. They make excellent specimen plants. The florists amongst us will know that both the foliage and flower of Hostas can make a useful addition to floral arrangements. (Pictured: Hosta 'Sum & Substance', a regular feature on our RHS Chelsea Flower Show display).
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Grasses are much prized for their ability to bring a sense of movement to our gardens. They suit prairie-style planting and combine beautifully with many perennials to create more of a naturalistic effect. Equally you don't need to own an acre to enjoy them - a single Stipa tenuissima plant in a container looks stunning as it moves in the gentlest of breezes. Alternatively using one plant in a border as a "full stop" can give a different feel within your planting.
Grasses are often bought for their attractive foliage, stunning airy plumes and delicate seedheads. They have superb architectural prowess and can be planted in a wide range of situations and sites. ( Pictured: the delicate seedheads of Briza maxima or Quaking Grass).Shop for Grasses