Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Foliage Friday: Dianella tasmanica variegata

This is one of my favorite foliage plants.  Don't be fooled: the plant label will mention a flower, but it's insignificant.  The main attraction is the bright, clear variegated pattern of the leaves.  You may read that this plant can take full sun, but I think it performs better in morning sun or light shade. The variegated one seems especially sensitive to full sun and may suffer from burning on the margins if left to bake in the August heat.

See the tiny flowers?
Dianella tasmanica is more often called Flax Lily and is almost always evergreen here in zone 9A.  If you want to avoid freezer burn, cover the newly planted ones on frosty nights.  This species of Dianella gets about 2 feet tall and is getting more and more popular as a landscape plant.  You should be able to find it at most area nurseries.  Start with a rather larger plant, because it tends to grow rather slowly.  Dianella is a tough little plant, though, and should be relatively trouble-free once established.

Wonderful massed as a groundcover.
Some sources claim that Dianella is named after Diana, the Roman goddess of nature and hunting.  Maybe so!


  1. I did not realize you got frost burn on plants in 9A. It does make sense though. I always have this feeling that Texas always is warm, but you had a touch of snow last your, right? Lovely Flax Lily, I like the striped leaves.

  2. I admit that sometimes I feel even fonder of insignificant flowers than the showy foliage I bought a plant for. I think it has something to do with feeling like I discovered a treasure that others won't notice. It could just be obstinance. :)

    Very nice post!

  3. Nice plant! i love variegated leaves, and I think this one is lovely. I suspect it might be marginal in my zone 7b, but it may be worth a try. I think it would bebeautiful in the woodland garden!

  4. Hi Eliz! I, too love this plant! I planted some out at George Ranch (they kill many things)and it thrives under the giant treehouse live oak, along with Ligularia. We got an all day freeze last year with 18 degrees the night before - yet no problem. I saw some out in a median -full sun - by minute maid park, and you are right, they were doing well, but slightly sunburned, and you know they were probly watered alot...beckL

  5. I love the Flax Lily. I didn't know the other name. I have them in pots and they're well established now. I love the ground cover photo.