As far as spectacular foliage goes, farfugiums are hard to beat. Most people have never heard of farfugiums before, but when they see one, they usually go “wow.” Fellow bloggers Mark and Gaz at Alternative Eden recently featured an exhaustive survey of farfugiums in their collection, and I’ve blogged about our own farfugiums before (1 2).
In recent years farfugiums have become more available in local nurseries, and the UC Davis Arboretum has several in their downtown Arboretum Terrace. On Sunday morning we were showing out-of-town friends around and got caught in the first rain of the season. As brief as it was, the rain really brought out the textures of the giant farfugiums (Farfugium japonicum ‘Giganteum’) at the Demonstration Garden, especially in contrast to the delicate venus hair fern (Adantium capillus-veneris) growing underneath them. I was very glad I had a camera along to capture this small vignette of plant magic.
|Farfugium japonicum ‘Giganteum’ at UC Davis Arboretum Terrace Garden|
In our hot-summer climate it’s almost impossible to grow tropical-looking plants with very large leaves, but Farfugium japonicum ‘Giganteum’ does very well if protected from the afternoon sun.
At the other end of the temperature spectrum, Farfugium japonicum ‘Giganteum’ is quite hardy. While its foliage dies back at about 20°F, its rootstock can survive temperatures as low as 0°F. That makes this Japanese woodland dweller a great choice for gardens in zone 7 and above.