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Posts Tagged ‘Heuchera Tiramisu’

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A rainy Monday. Still, there is plenty to see in the garden and after months and months of a blanket of snow, the sight of green growth is a gift to lift the spirit. The photograph above shows the view from the front door. The yellow-flowered bushy plant is Euphorbia polychroma or Cushion Spurge. It would have benefitted from a division this year, but at the time when the plant was an appropriate size, it was raining, raining, raining. Maybe in the fall. Or next year.

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Part of the garden is sitting on the porch! I have a selection of plants waiting to be released from their pots. Some I just purchased this weekend while on a grocery shopping trip. It seems every major store from Walmart to Canadian Tire has a tempting selection of plants available right now, and of course, nurseries are also gearing up for their traditionally busiest weekend, the Victoria Day holiday.

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Scattered throughout the garden, an assortment of tulips and daffodils are blooming gamely, but the rain is taking a toll on their pretty flowers.

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It’s so satisfying to walk through the garden and see plants that were new last year looking strong and healthy. These two geraniums are Geraniium phaeum “Samobor” (right) and Geranium phaeum “Springtime”. They are starting to form buds and will be blooming soon.

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The new roses that I wrote about last July have survived the winter and are putting out plenty of new growth.

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And here is Persicaria polymorpha, Giant Fleeceflower, off to a good start. I planted it late in the season in 2009. It grew pretty well last year, but only achieved a modest height of about 3 feet. I hope that this summer it will come closer to meeting its potential of 6 to 7 feet tall.

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All of the heucheras that I wrote about last year in a post entitled “Little Gems” are doing well. This one is Heuchera “Tiramisu”.

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This Astrantia major “Sunningdale Variegated” (Masterwort) was new to the garden last year and is looking very striking this spring, with its splashy leaves. I may have to look into adding a few more of these interesting plants.

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Sadly, not everything survived the ravages of winter. These twiggy remains are all there is to be seen of Gaura “Karalee Petite”, which last summer put on a gorgeous display.

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I devoted the few sunny days we had last week to cleaning up an overgrown patch of hostas, part of the neglected former garden that I have slowly been working on rejuvenating since arriving at Willow House. I added a path of wood shavings, weeded around the many hosta spikes, and laid down a thick layer of mulch. It looks much better. To the upper right, you can see the “before” version of this woodland patch, still waiting to be attended to. Some of the plants on the porch are shade lovers that will be added to this garden when the weather allows.

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In the riverside garden, the ostrich ferns are unfurling their fiddleheads. In the foreground are some heucheras, and to the left, geraniums. The touch of pink behind the ferns is a patch of bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis).

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I wrote about bleeding heart last May in an entry titled “Old Fashioned“.

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Edging the patch of bleeding heart is a little cluster of primroses (Primula ‘Pacific Giant’). I was delighted with how well they have done this spring. Their colours, pink and purple and yellow are startlingly brilliant on a gloomy day.

I’ll end today’s tour with this view of the Solomon’s Seal, just about to open the dainty little flowers that line its arching stems. Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum biflorum) is native to Ontario and makes a lovely spring-blooming garden plant. It is appreciated by hummingbirds and they can be seen moving along the row of dangling flowers, visiting each one in turn.

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Coral bells, and their relatives, alumroot, are members of the genus Heuchera (pronounced HEW-ker-ah). There are some 50 species in the genus, all of them native to North America. The name Heuchera was given to the genus by Carolus Linnaeus to honor Johann Heinrich von Heucher, who, like Linnaeus, was both a physician and professor of botany.

When I first started gardening, 30-odd years ago, some of the first plants I bought were coral bells. Back then, perennials weren’t as available as they are now, and there was just one variety of coral bells down at the local nursery. The coral bells that first graced my garden had plain green leaves. Their main claim to fame was the cloud of pretty coral-pink flowers they produced in early summer.

Some years after my first encounter with coral bells, a new variety called “Palace Purple” began to appear at nurseries. As the name suggests, it has deep brownish-purple leaves and is believed to be a cross of Heuchera micrantha, H villosa hybrid, and H. americana. However, its exact parentage is disputed. It was discovered as a seedling in the 1970s at Kew Gardens in London. The palace it was named for is Kew Palace. In 1991, the Perennial Plant Association named Purple Palace as Plant of the Year. Palace Purple is now the most commonly available heuchera at nurseries and big box stores in this area.

Since Purple Palace appeared, hybridizers have been working hard on the genus. In the last few years, there has been an explosion of heuchera species. Unlike the early version of coral bells that I had in my garden, new hybrids are now more noteworthy for their colourful foliage than their flowers. When I saw ‘Berry Smoothie’ at a nursery, I had to have it in my garden. I had an opening in an appropriate part-shade spot in my garden and decided to highlight a few of these hybrids this spring. On dull days, their leaves shine like little jewels and I enjoy walking by them every day.

Heuchera 'tiramisu'

Heuchera 'Dolce Peach Melba'

Heuchera americans 'Dale's strain'

Heuchers 'Dolce Black Currant'

Heuchera 'Berry Smoothie'

Heuchera 'Miracle'

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