Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Rich Purple Foliage

This time around, we're going to look at what is pretty much the opposite of gold foliage: burgundy, wine, or red leafed plants. Where the golden gems shout "look at us!" the burgundy plants are more subdued, and need the foliage of lighter coloured plants to really show off their true colours.
One of the favourites for flowering shrubs is Sambucus or elder, 'Black Lace'. This cultivar has highly cut foliage and flat clusters of dainty pink flowers.
We love barberries, and encourage other gardeners to enjoy these deer-resistant, 4-season interest, tolerant shrubs. Baldwin's carries a number of cultivars, from the golden 'Nana Aureum' to the purple-leafed 'Rose Glow', 'Concorde', and others.
Everyone needs at least one tree that has purple foliage, whether it be this handsome birch...
Or this red maple, (a bit past Canada Day, but every day is a good one for a maple tree!)
Or perhaps you'd prefer the more delicate foliage of one of the Japanese maples, like this dainty cutleaf variety.
There are other interesting deciduous shrubs with purple or wine foliage, including several varieties of smoke bush, including 'Grace' and 'Royal Purple.' This is a shrub for the more sheltered site, and isn't hardy everywhere in Nova Scotia.
On the other hand, the elegant and four-season ninebark is a terrific shrub anywhere in our province. Tolerant of most growing conditions, it has deep wine foliage and clusters of white flowers that are beloved of pollinators.
Perhaps the showiest of purple-foliaged trees is the beautiful copper beech, which can have colour varying from bright copper to deep purple. These are European beeches and don't get the disease which affects North American varieties.

We don't carry a lot of purple-foliaged perennials, but we do have Euphorbia 'Chameleon', which boasts a variety of colours as the season unfolds, as well as great fall colour. There are no purple-leafed purple coneflowers yet, but with plant breeders, you never know...

Which reminds us--the coneflowers in our containers are blooming sporadically, so if you're looking for a particular colour, come out and see what we have. We'll tell our favourite next time around!