Garden Photo of the Day

Nicki’s Foliage Favorites

Leaves with flair

close up of pink tricolor beech foliage

Today’s photos are from Nicki Snoblin in Lake Bluff, Illinois. We’ve visited their garden before (Nicki’s New Garden Project and Fall in Nicki’s Garden ) and today Nicki is sharing some foliage plants that they love.

close up of pink tricolor beech foliage

These stunning leaves are from the tricolor beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Tricolor’, Zone 4 – 8). This is a unusual variety of the European beach. The normal species just has green leaves, then there is the copper beech which has dark purple-brown foliage, and this plant is a variegated version of that. When the leaves come out in the spring they are dramatic dark centers with glowing pink edges. As the leaves mature, especially those in more shade, the peak shades into cream, giving a tricolored effect. These are leaves that will outshine most flowers.

red Japanese maple growing next to green hosta

A cut-leaf Japanese maple (Acer palmatum, Zone 5 – 9) juxtaposed with Hosta (Zone 4 – 9). Everything about these two leaves contrast with each other – the maple dark, and delicate while the hosta is light green and bold. Putting the two together makes each of them shine.

long garden bed full of foliage plants along a wooden fence

There are almost no flowers in this bed, but there is no need. Starting with the tricolor beach leaves on the right, there is so much color and texture and contrast from foliage that this planting stays beautiful and exciting.

close up of yellow flower next to flowering hosta

Ligularia (Ligularia dentata, Zone 3 – 8). The yellow daisy flowers look a little tousled and messy, but it is hard to beat that lush foliage. The dark color of the leaves helps the variegated hosta next to them look even brighter.

close up of Tiger Eye sumac in fall

Tiger Eye sumac (Rhus typhina ‘Balitiger’, Zone 4 – 8) in the fall giving brilliant orange color.

close up of sedum with dark foliage

Dark moody succulent foliage from Sedum ‘Dazzleberry’ (Zone 4 – 9)


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  1. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 01/12/2024

    Hi Becky,

    Wow, your Fagus sylvatica 'Tricolor' is absolutely fantastic! Great combination plantings. Very pleasing to the eye.
    Thanks for sharing your garden again.

    1. hobbit2 01/12/2024

      Tri color beech is stunning! Ours is beautiful also, but tends to burn in summer. It is on drip irrigation, and in a part sun location but usually doesn't look wonderful by August. However, this yr didn't burn as much. Any tips ?

      1. nicki_s 01/12/2024

        That tree was such a lucky selection for us. It’s done beautifully without much help from us, and we haven’t had any trouble with leaf burn. It’s in a fairly shady location. I give it supplemental water only when we have a long dry stretch in summer.

  2. [email protected] 01/12/2024

    Wow! I am pining for that tricolor! My Carolina Sweetheart Cercis does some of that, but the leaves are smaller and the contrast is not so great. I would love that beech, but I am in zone 9 with extremely hot summers. Love your color sense altogether. I agree that one area doesn't need flowers. The leaf mix is their own coloration. I also really like the succulent. Don't think I have seen that particular variety of Sedum.

  3. btucker9675 01/12/2024

    That beech is astonishing!!!

  4. User avater
    simplesue 01/15/2024

    Such a pretty garden!

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