Flowers are the star of the show but foliage plays a supporting role that is absolutely necessary. Like a fine painting without a frame, flowers without foliage fail to reach their full potential. Foliage frames and contrasts, highlights and supports flowers so much that it elevates them to the next level. Here are some of our favorite foliage from each season of growing.
Growing anything in Texas in the winter is a special kind of trick. We don't have the luscious evergreens of northern climates, but we do have Texan grit and creativity. Privet is horribly invasive and at our farm, we do not plant it, but we do happily cut it back from the places it creeps near our fence and use its branches as winter foliage. They are bright and green when everything else is brown and it feels good to forage what's already there.
If you have a greenhouse, or pots that you can protected during a freeze, you can easily grow Scented Geraniums and Eucalyptus over the winter here in our mild Texas climate. Both of these plants take a while to grow into usable stems but if you plant in early spring, you'll have foliage in the coming fall or if protected, all winter long.
I already wrote a long post about my love for Cerinthe (honeywort) but for those planting without any greenhouses, its the first foliage to bloom in the garden after winter. From March to May, it cranks out gray-green foliage with beautiful nodding purple flowers. I adore it!
Once Spring leaves and Summer arrives in full force, nothing is better for foliage than herbs. All summer long Basil, Rosemary, Sage, and Oregano provide a gorgeous contrast for bright summer flowers. They are a staple on our farm and workhouses until the newly planted Scented Geranium and Eucalyptus take over in the Autumn.
There are lots of flowering plants you can use for foliage: Audray Gomphrena, Feverfew, Amaranth, and Cosmos. But for those plants that simply pump out green, these are the easiest to grow in Texas. Spring Cerinthe, Summer herbs, Autumn Eucalyptus, and Winter Privet prove that growing seasonally in Texas is possible and beautiful.