When I was entering our local Canadian Tire store last weekend, a tray with two potted plants was sitting at the door. It was marked ‘Perennials: Free!’ As garden centres wind down, many places are closing for the season and selling off the last of their plants at a discounted price. There are some bargains to be had, but free! That’s the best price of all! You can bet that I snapped up those two babies and brought them home with me.
The new plants are two ligularia dentata. These plants produce orange or yellow flowers in late summer, but they are primarily grown for their mound of large handsome leaves. They are a moisture lover, although they will tolerate dry conditions as long as they are protected from the heat of the afternoon sun. I currently have three cultivars in my garden. Pictured above is a mature clump of ligularia dentata ‘Othello’.
Ligularia dentata ‘Desdemona’ is new this year. This plant is quite similar to ‘Othello’ but blooms a bit later. ‘Desdemona’ has suffered a bit of damage to her leaves, probably from slugs, but is doing well and should be quite showy next year.
Below is Ligularia dentata ‘Orange Queen’. I transplanted her from my former garden. Unfortunately, she was in an unsuitable location and I just moved and split the plant about a month ago. After some initial struggling, she is doing well too.
Ligularia dentata is quite different from ligularia stenocephala, also commonly available at nurseries. Stenocephala has upright stems with bottle-brush spikes of yellow flowers in midsummer.
The new plants are ligularia dentata ‘Osaris Café Noir’. You can see that their dark leaves are quite different from the rounded leaves of the other dentatas. Here they are, shortly after being planted in their new home, tucked in beyond some Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum).
‘Osiris Café Noir’ was hybridized in Quebec by Les Jardins Osiris. I just discovered their website, which you can link to here. The nursery is located about half an hour east of Montreal and was open from April to August 20th this year. I’ll have to plan a visit next spring.
Below is the shade garden with the new plants. The bright green hosta in the foreground is ‘August Moon’. The white flower stalks at the rear belong to Hosta ‘Royal Standard’. In between are the ligularias and Japanese Painted Ferns.