Posts Tagged ‘Tameukeyama maple’

A Strong Foundation

Right now the giant leopard plant is blooming beside my front door and the purple gazing ball echos the 'Tameukeyama' maple's fall color.

I taught a Landscape Design class for quite a few years.

We always spent a good bit of time discussing the foundation planting.

I still remember the first time I heard that term.   A “foundation planting” must be the basis of all landscaping, I thought.  It sounded important and mysterious…

But actually the term just referred to a planting that bordered the foundation of a house.

On older houses, the foundation planting served the purpose of hiding the unsightly things that might accumulate in the crawl space under a house – much like the skirt on a trailer.

A couple of years before I moved into my present residence, I decided that my then rental house needed a foundation planting redo.

For inspiration – I reviewed all the “rules” that I once taught all my eager design students.

The giant leopard plant offers interesting foliage texture all year long and surprises me with a bouquet of early winter daisies.

Rule #1 – Always accent the front door using a plant with striking form, texture or color or an attractive hard feature.

Rule #2 – Clearly define the edges of the bed.

Rule #3 – Plan for interest in all seasons since you will be likely enter the house in this area almost every day of the year.

Rule #4 – Repeat plants arranging them in masses or small groups.

Then – I modified the list and added a few new rules.

Rule #5 –  Incorporate native plants.

Rule # 6 – Paint your house a color that will serve as a nice backdrop for the plants.

Rule #7 – Use plants or yard art that has sentimental value.

And last but not least, Rule #8 – use the plants that have been sitting around in your nursery instead of going out to buy new ones.

So I followed the Eight Rules and have been pleased with the results.

The 'Miss Patricia' holly, 'Rosa's Blush' dwarf blueberry and 'Taylor's Rudolph' dwarf yaupon are evergreen and variable in hue.

The plants closest to the front sidewalk have strong features.  The giant leopard plant (Farfugium japonicum ‘Giganteum’) has large glossy leaves 24-7.  I also appreciate the fact that it blooms in early winter when little else is in flower.  The ‘Tameukeyama’ Japanese maple has extremely fine textured foliage, intense red-purple fall color and a striking growth habit.

Just in case two accents weren’t enough, I perched my favorite purple gazing ball on top of my husband’s grandmother’s bird bath pedestal to serve as a third.

Next to the maple, I grouped a trio of fruiting plants.  Darrow’s dwarf blueberry (Vaccinium darrowii ‘Rosa’s Blush’) is a lovely shade of gray green with pastel pink growing tips.   Dangling white blossoms are precursors to a crop of tiny blueberries.   My two hollies – ‘Miss Patricia’ and ‘Taylor’s Rudolph’  are not quite so precocious.  I’m hoping they will begin to produce red holly berries in the next year or so.  Right now I have to be content with the deep green foliage they offer.

The bed is bordered with small pieces of petrified wood gifted by my friend, Peter Loos and carpeted with a planting of native Louisiana phlox.  I think that the plants are quite striking in front of the background colors I have chosen for the house.

And 99% of this planting originated in my little backyard nursery.   Many of the plants were gifts from nursery friends or souvenirs of vacations.  Others were propagated from cuttings or seed.  Many had sentimental value.

It was wonderfully liberating to get them all in the ground so that I could really live with them as landscape plants.

And so that I had enough space in the nursery to start a new plant collection!

Make New Beds but Keep the Old…

Chinese foxglove is peeking from beneath my 'Tameukeyama' maple. A giant leopard plant and purple gazing ball accent the front entrance.

As I have previously remarked, I am totally enamored of my new front yard bed.  I wrote a blog post about Phase I of that implementation a couple of days ago and more details will soon follow.

This week, however, the 3 year old foundation planting has been catching my eye.

Back in the day, when this was a rental house, I devised a landscape plan for the front yard.

My plant list came from an eclectic collection that had accumulated over a period of years.  The plants were in a holding pattern in my little nursery.  They needed to go in the ground and nursery space was sorely needed.

So I set about to design what I have since described as the hinkiest rental house landscape ever.

I allowed myself to do this with the thought that we would probably move back in here one day.

And so we have!!!

Up close and personal with Chinese foxglove.

My  ‘Tameukeyama’ Japanese maple is the star of the planting.  It is strategically placed in front of the “picture window” so that I can admire it from both sides.

My husband Richard (a.k.a. The Timekeeper) tells me that I bought this plant as a 3 gallon nursery plant in 2006.  By the time it was planted in the ground here, it had been stepped up to a 7 gallon pot and was almost 3 feet tall.

‘Tamekeyama’ is a threadleaf Japanese maple.  These maples have leaves with very narrow thread-like lobes.   Foliage is reddish as it emerges after winter and intense orange red before winter leaf drop.

A carpet of Chinese foxglove  (Rehmannia elata) grows beneath the maple.  At bloom time, this perennial produces hot pink flowers on 2′ stems.  The foxglove-like blooms are lovely peeking through the maple foliage.  I started with about 3 Chinese foxglove plants and these have formed a thick stand.  I would be afraid that this plant might become a bit invasive in a better growing situation.

The view from my front walk with Hinkley's columbine and a purple gazing ball perched atop Richard's Grandmother's bird bath pedestal.

I walk past this lovely vista several times a day.

A couple of weeks ago the star of the planting was a lush stand of Louisiana phlox.  Those blooms are mostly gone now but as a consolation, the giant leopard plant (Farfugium japonicum ‘Giganteum’) is coming out of dormancy.

During our move, the giant leopard plant fell on hard times.

I was distracted and did not water during a drought.  Then it was stepped on by someone helping us move.  I am happy to report that it seems to be in recovery mode and back to its old state of robustness.

And that’s not all – a volunteer Hinkley’s columbine (Aquilegia chrysantha var. hinckleyana) is blooming next to the sidewalk.

Since the columbine seeded itself, it is much too close to the walk but… I’m not complaining.


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