Monday, January 16, 2012

Foliage Follow-Up: January 2012

On the 16th of each month, Pam Penick at Digging hosts Foliage Follow-Up, to highlight the importance of foliage in the garden. This month she posted a photo of Moby, her Whale's Tongue agave, partially lit by the morning sun, shadows playing along its grooved and studded leaves. A beam of sunlight shining through her bottle tree adorned Moby with a swath of cobalt blue. The effect was that of an armed warrior in war paint. When Pam asked if her readers had any equally moody photos of foliage to share, I knew exactly which ones to use.

Last Thursday, a light freeze was forecasted, so I went outside just before bedtime to zip up the greenhouse over the lime tree and turn on the heater. As I walked back toward the house, the motion-controlled security light clicked on, bathing everything in incandescent yellow hues.

The first thing that caught my eye was this patch of wild grasses, which surrounds my herb garden, illuminated in the light. I didn't cultivate these grasses in any way and I don't know what variety they are, but they look natural and pretty, so I left them be.

Then I noticed the red oak and how pretty it looked with the light shining through its leaves.
Red oak

I was enchanted by the play of shadow and light,
Oak leaves at night

the multitude of glowing colors,
Oak leaves

and the way the light outlined the edges of the leaves.
Red oak at night

I love this red oak and would hate to lose it. Though its lower branches jut out into a walking path, it's never been pruned, reducing its risk of oak wilt. At summer's end, I coiled a large soaker hose under its canopy, and Jack buried the hose in 3 inches of quality mulch. I have my fingers crossed it makes it through the drought.

Thanks to Pam Penick at Digging for hosting Foliage Follow-Up. Visit her website to fill your eyes with foliage!

Words and photos © 2009-2011 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.


  1. Oh my...I'm almost speechless at what you captured. What a surprise from that motion-detect lighting:-)

  2. Beautiful shots! Your captures of the red oak are quite stunning!

  3. Gorgeous post...what a great illustration of the importance of light!

  4. Such beautiful photographs. Red Oaks are very photogenic, but I also love the photo of the grasses.

  5. What great images you the glare of a security light?? I'm speechless! Very beautiful, as is your description of my Moby with war paint. Thanks for that!

  6. Great picture of the Red Oak. I'm amazed it is still covered with leaves. Will winter ever arrive?

  7. Gorgeous pics of the red oak! Beautiful.