Happy New Year, may the season ahead be one of the very best for you. One way that I enjoy these shorter days, almost as a ritual for the first few days off my new year, is to ponder and plan for the spring season. Albeit it may be a bit gloomy looking at the garden through frosted windows, but it really is an excellent time to study the bones of the landscape, as I have referenced previously. The depth of snow in my region of Canada dictates how vivid my imagination must be, perhaps the same for you. Take a good long look, settle back in a comfy chair with your laptop or tablet and start to plan. The online catalogues are delightful and in many cases just a bit sinful, as there are so many choices. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to exercise a little control when it comes to selection… We’ll see about that! In that the perennial selection in my rear garden is not as rich as I would like, I plan to concentrate on one section that gets fair to moderate sunlight. Taking into account that the bordering trees are leafless, and my neighbours had their trees pruned, the light may well be improved this spring. Actually, it’s not a silly as it may sound, many folks don’t realize or rather overlook the fact that deciduous trees have leaves in the summer and their underlying gardens in the early spring are actually sunny rather than the shade of the growing season. This may well be the best location to plant Heuchera, one of my all time favourite perennials. There are literally hundreds of varieties of choose from in a myriad of colours, textures and venation. Relative to their rather spectacular foliage, the Heucheras have much less to offer in the floral department. The flowers are typically tall, thin and loaded with tiny bell-shaped flowers ranging from white through stages of pink to red. I must admit that I usually snip the bloom stalks as soon as I see them emerge allowing any energy to be directed to the mounding habit of the foliage. Given the range of colours, I am planning to mix and match predominantly on what I term, Autumn colours, deep reds and burgundy with vibrant yellow and even one with chartruese foliage variety for spark. A good tip if you are just starting to garden is to plan to install the brighter colours further back in the garden rather than up front, this delivers depth for the viewer. The varieties that made this years list are: Companions that do exceptionally well with Heuchera are their first cousins the Tiarella. These adaptable workhorses of the garden take very similar soil and light conditions and are very resilient if you are a novice gardener. The mounding habit as well as textured foliage and skimpy blossoms places them as a doppelgänger for Heuchera often times. I have grown them in containers with no problem, so if you are a balcony garden or are simply out of room, an excellent choice. Happy planning and remember to make good decisions.
January 8th, 2018