Posts Tagged ‘foamflower’


Tiarella, commonly known as foamflower owing to the frothy appearance of its clusters of star-like white blooms, is native to Ontario. The photographs above and below were taken by Seabrooke this spring in a moist woodland near Perth, Ontario. Its full name is Tiarella cordifolia. Cordifolia means heart-leaved, although maple-leaf-shaped might be more accurate. The genus name comes from the Greek tiara, which once meant turban, referring to the shape of the fruit. However, I prefer to think of the dazzling crown of flowers that the plants produce as their shining tiara.


Tiarellas make lovely additions to the shade garden, and there are a number of hybrids available to the home gardener. I currently have three varieties. They all are tidy, compact plants that are very showy through the month of May. Here is Tiarella ‘Sugar and Spice’, catching the morning sun.


Photographed below is Tiarella wherryi.


And finally, here is Tiarella ‘Mystic Mist’.


Mystic Mist has very distinctive leaves speckled with white. They remind me of the splatter painting kids do with a toothbrush. Even after this tiarella is finished blooming, the leaves still brighten a shady corner nicely.


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What a difference 12 days make at this time of year! Since the photographs of the May 7th post were taken, the woods have flushed with lush greenery. The canopy has filled in and the forest floor is deep in ferns. Everywhere, green.


One of the more readily identified ferns is the sensitive fern (Onoclea sensibilis), with its distinctive wavy-edged leaves. The name refers to this fern’s sensitivity to frost. In good conditions, rich, moist soil in sun or part shade, the sensitive fern is a rapid spreader. It can be used as a groundcover in a naturalized garden.


There were still a few clumps of violets (Viola sp). While they were newly emerged and fresh at the beginning of May, there are now just a few patches left.


There were a few patches of foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia) putting on a show. The tiny star-like flowers are held above maple-like leaves, rather like Coral Bells (Heuchera spp). In recent years, some attention has been devoted to developing garden hybrids of this native woodland plant. New hybrids have been selected mainly for their interesting leaves.

Fortunately, there was a stiff breeze to help keep down the numbers of another spring arrival: blackflies!


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