Sunday, October 17, 2010

Foliage Follow-Up: October 2010

I'm starting my Foliage Follow-Up post with the foliage I'm most proud of -- my asparagus foliage! I planted three asparagus crowns this spring, and they're doing really well. The label said the crowns were males, but apparently only female plants make the tiny little flowers you see here. Oh well; both male and female crowns will make asparagus stalks (although the males are allegedly more prolific). [EDIT: The Aggies say both boy and girl crowns make flowers, but only girls make red berries, so what do I know.]

Each one of these tiny stems should turn into a full-sized asparagus stalk this coming spring. The better I can stave off my desire to harvest them, the more stems the crown should produce in following years.

My beautyberry has fully colored up in its deeply shady spot, and is ready for harvesting by the birds. It's not very noticeable in person, but in this photo, a powdery film is quite evident on its leaves. Looks fungusy to me. Must investigate.
American beautyberry

The Gulf muhly grass is starting to send out its purply plumes. It will be enveloped in a purple cloud by next GBBD.
Gulf muhly grass

This Whale's Tongue agave has grown A LOT MORE than I thought it would in a year's time. After seeing Pam and Jenny's photos of the five-year-old A. ovatifolia at the Utility Research Garden on the Garden Conservancy Open Days Tour, I'm thinking I should have planted it further away from the driveway, Big Noisy Sigh.
Agave ovatafolia

Purple fountain grass dies back every other winter, but I will always replant in the spring. When the sun hits it at just the right angle, it's just glorious. (A tiny 'Bright Edge' yucca is to the right.)
Purple fountain grass

Thanks to Pam Penick at Digging for hosting Foliage Follow-Up. Visit her site for more fotos of frolicking fronds!

Words and photos © 2009-2010 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.


  1. "fotos of frolicking fronds" -- I love it!

    Your one-year-old Whale's Tongue agave is looking fabulous. However, it's hard to get a sense of size in that picture. What's the diameter? As for too close to the sidewalk, well, you can always move it. Better now than later.

  2. Asparagus are slow to make...we are going into our third season with you mow them down like it says too?

  3. I always get that fuzzy stuff on my Beauty Berry too! Everything is lovely, thanks for sharing!

  4. Pam, the agave is three feet across at its widest. In April 2009, it fit in a three-gallon pot! (which, come to think of it, would make it a year and a half old) If it gets as big as those specimens you photographed, well, there's no sense in moving it because I don't have a spot for an agave that big!

    Darla, I haven't mown them down yet (first year in ground) but I know I'm supposed to, soon (fall? winter?), and I think there's some fertilization that's supposed to happen at some point; ok, better find that Ag Extension pamphlet!

    So, Cheryl, the powdery stuff on the beautyberry leaves is normal?

  5. If anyone would like more information on growing asparagus (or anything else, for that matter), there's tons of great information on the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension website.

  6. Hi Caroline, i love asparagus but only to eat. We cannot grow them in very hot climes. Those foliage are lovely too, i appreciate the grass, however when they are so plenty in an area, they are already weeds, as we see them in our marginal lands. The berries seem so delicious, you mean only the birds eat them?

  7. Andrea, the beautyberry is grown as an ornamental. I've heard that some make jelly out of beautyberries, but I have so few, I think I'll let the birds enjoy them. (But I might go taste one, just out of curiosity!)

  8. Don't forget that with a little muscle you can relocate it, a la Pam! Nice to have your berries on the beauty berry. Mine didn't seem to last 5 minutes before the plant was stripped. WOnder who that was?