Monday, June 06, 2011

Leafy Woodland Wonders!

Woodland plants with big leaves play such an integral part in our garden. Used as under story planting to other, much taller exotics, they help reinforce the atmosphere in our jungle themed garden. 

Here's a few of what's currently looking good in our garden. 

Diphylleia cymosa

This has been in our garden for four years now and never fails to perform with it's curiously shaped leaves that remind me of bat or moth wings. The leaves it throws out gets bigger as it gets established and despite being partially hidden from view, never fails to catch the attention of most of our visitors. A wonderful plant, I can't get enough of this and have several planted in different places of our garden. It thrives very well on dappled sun to full shade in a moisture retentive site. I've tried it on dry shade, although it still comes back every year, it struggles to get produce bigger leaves.

Astilboides tabularis

A well established specimen in a moisture retentive, shady spot is always a sight to behold. It can truly live up to it's common name, the Dinner Plate plant as it can produce huge, circular leaves the size of a dinner plate (or more like a round serving tray I think :-)). An old favourite, it associates well with shady cottage style of gardening, ferneries, and of course jungle style of gardening.

Sanguinaria canadensis

This gently spreading North American woodlander has gorgeous spring flowers, but the main reason I grow it is for it's interesting, and relatively big leaves. Even the smallest of gardens can have room for a few

Peltoboykinia watanabei

A lovely woodland plant with interesting foliage originating from the far east. Younger specimens and leaves are palmate but as the plant gets established it throws out much bigger leaves that are more circular/less lobed. I do like this plant but I must admit that it's cousin is my favourite...

Peltoboykinia tellimoides

Another plant I can't get enough of! I absolutely love it's stellate leaves that gets bigger as the season progresses, and improves in overall habit as years go by. Unlike other woodlanders, this one seems to tolerate a sunnier spot and doesn't wilt on warm, sunny days. I think it's gorgeous! If you're only limiting yourself to one Peltoboykinia, this is the one to go for.

Podophyllum 'Spotty Dotty'

A relatively new introduction that is proving to be very garden worthy for many, with it's huge, marked, and patterned foliage, and curious red flower borne in the late spring. The one on the photo has been on the ground for four years and it just gets better every year. It prefers a bright spot with indirect sun, or dappled shade in a moisture retentive site. Full shade and it fails to bulk up, full sun and the leaves take on a light green shade and you lose the intensity of the markings. 

Petasites frigidus var. palmatus 'Golden Palms'

A naughty plant but I think is very nice! I love the shape of the foliage and the yellow speckles on the big leaves. It can be invasive but I find it easy enough to control by regularly pulling up new shoots as the rhizomes tend to be superficial. Site with care and not for the low maintenance gardener.

Syneilesis palmata

I'm so impressed by this plant, in the spring you get curiously odd looking hairy shoots coming out from the ground (and plenty of reaction too when I featured it on a Wordless Wednesday), then you get heavily dissected leaves that get bigger and bigger, very architectural! Gently spreads out to make an even more impressive stand. Wonderful! :-)


  1. WOW great collection, thank you! I'll be keeping this list for future plant hunting!

  2. Your garden must be such a treasure chest! The Sanguinaria and the Podophyllum were the only ones of these that I had ever even hear of or read about.

  3. WOW is the right word. What a fantastic collection of stunning foliage plants. I'm totally envious!

    I don't have a single one of these plants, but I will research them more to see if any of them would do OK with our summer heat (temperatures in the high 90°F range = 35-40°C are common, even in the shade).

    :: Bamboo and More ::

  4. Great post! I'm in love with every single one of these plants now! I think the only one I have in my garden at the moment is the Astilboides. As my available room grows sparser and sparser I'm really going to have to make some tough decisions...which of these beauties to add!?!

  5. This was a great post, I've only recently graduated to this level of plant appreciation. While campanulas and marigolds were good starter plants, podophyllums and other strange woodland foliage plants seem next level. I've had my eye on the spotted podophyllum for a while now but haven't made the leap yet. I have something unidentified in the back that looks similar to a Peltoboykinia but I'm unsure. I will take a snapshot and perhaps you can identify. YES! GREAT POST!

  6. Thanks Loree and CollegeGardener, I'm pleased with my collection. And they're all so reliable too :)

    Thanks Gerhard! The summer heat in your location might be too much for some of them but Peltoboykinias may possibly tolerate them. Worth a try! :)

    I'm glad you like all of them Scott! :) Sanguinaria is fab for small gardens, you may probably need to purchase more than one as it takes awhile to send out more leaves.

    Thanks Nat! What a coincidence with your recent blog post. Go on and take the leap, you know you want to ;)

  7. What a fabulous group of shade lovers; I love Spotty Dotty! Podophyllum Peltatum, also called mayapple, is a native here. Sanguinaria canadensis, also called bloodroot, is another native. I planted several in my woodland garden earlier this year, and I wait for mine to look like yours!

  8. Hi Debs, glad you like them, they'd look great in your garden :) I also like Podophyllum peltatum and how it gently spreads out here too without being 'invasive' as such. S. canadensis is fab, I bet you won't have to wait too long, next spring you'll get the lovely flowers and foliage too!

  9. i love those leaves! such rich hues of green and amazing patterns. simple beauty!!

  10. Many of them looks like ampalaya leaves or bitter gourd. Here in the tropics, you dont need to plant anything to make it looks like woodlands, after a few years of neglect vegetation will establish themselves.

  11. I'm loving the Spotty Dotty! Fabulous foliage.

  12. Those leaves look beautiful! specially that Spotty Dotty.

  13. Great looking plants, I was also very taken with the Podophyllum 'Spotty Dotty'. I saw this one in Crathes gardens, leaves weren't so big, although it was earlier in the Spring.

  14. Hi Andrea, that's one of the better things in the tropics, that most plants remain in leaf all year round. Alot of the groundcover and understory plants here are herbaceous perennials and go dormant during the winter. It's possible to have entire patches of land with no vegetation at all during the winter :)

    Thanks Martin, Fer, Alistair, Spotty Dotty is much readily available now, and would do well for you guys :)

  15. Thank you Mrs. Bok, Janine!

    Mrs. Bok, thanks for popping round, looking forward to your updates!

    Janine, most of these might find your lovely location too warm. But look at all those lovely succulents you can grow :)

  16. Just how big is your garden!? I love flowers (and veggies of course) but wonderful foliage like these is a marvelous thing to behold. These photos (and plants) are amazing.

  17. Not big enough Hazel, but big enough for now :-) Difficult to know the exact dimension as it's both L and fan shaped (if that makes sense?). It's quite big though for a suburban, end of terrace house :)

  18. Mark and Gaz:
    I guess I'm somewhat of a late bloomer in discovering this awesome blog! This post especially piqued my curiosity and I was thrilled to see that I grow many of the same plants as well in my Zone 5 garden. I have been enamored of P. 'Spotty Dotty' for years but have decided in the interim to try P. versapelle [also sold as P. plieanthum] As for the Diphylleia..... give it a bit more sun, it will get huge! And to think I bought Peltoboykinia just for the tonge twisted name! We plant geeks will go to just about any length! Will definitely be back for more posts!

  19. Hi Barry, great that you have found us, looking forward to hearing from you on future posts!


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