Spring is such a difficult time for me. Indeed the weather is improving or so the story goes; the garden is starting to yawn, stretch and open its sleepy eyes… but, there’s so much to get exciting about where does a person start? Specifically what plants should be highlighted, what list presents itself as the absolute “got to have” and what might I be growing this year? Naturally there is a parade of the new and potentially most popular perennials, a bastion of brightly coloured annuals, albeit some looking nothing like their original ancestors. Lest we forget, the hanging containers posseting petunias from every conceivable corner and so cleverly displayed that even the curmudgeonliest gardener can’t resist purchasing at least one.
The information that follows has been assembled purely from a selfish point of view as the highlighted plants are what I want or already have in my wee garden. My actual list is much too long for publication so this select offering is, shall we say, closer to the top.
Bergenia ‘Flirt’ is a handsome yet diminutive selection of the ever hardy and trusted workhorses of its parentage, great for the shadier Canadian garden. Typical of this genus, the foliage ranges from a dark glossy green through stages of red and maroon. Considered to be an evergreen, I have yet to appreciate that aspect, as my plants are under snow cover for the longest time. This wee gem offers the small pocket gardener a wonderful perennial addition with promise of pink flower clusters early in the season as well for those who have just a corner to add a new selection.
Coleus Colour Clouds ‘Spicey’ is one of a great many new introductions in this popular and easily grown genre. For the past number of years Coleus has regained immense popularity and with good reason. New gardeners have little to no difficulty achieving success with Coleus, their range of foliage shape, size and massive range of colourful combination are intriguing and their price point is usually reasonable. A shade tolerant or preferred plant, Coleus can be nipped backed to encourage a bushier habit as well the cuttings root very easily and can be re-installed in your garden or container. Colourful splashes in a darker corner of the garden act as punctuation marks and will liven up even the dankest landscape. A very popular container grown plant for balcony gardeners and those of us who must hang plants as we are short of room in our landscapes.
Heuchera ‘Forever Purple’ provides an exhilarating contrast to the popular lime green foliage of many plants so popular this decade. Heuchera are of my favourite perennials because they are basically worry free and reliable in my zone 2b garden with a decent leaf mold cover for winter. The selection abounds sporting vivid coloured foliage, a vast array of leaf shape and in many cases attractive venation in the leaves. ‘Forever Purple’ will find a home in my front garden in the dappled shade of an American Elm tree with neighbours of Thalictrum, perennial Dianthus and a lovely perennial geranium for texture.
Thalictrum ‘Black Stockings’ plays a critical role in my front, Southeast facing garden. I just love this perennial and will continue to sing its praises at every possible opportunity. She stands tall with her jet black stems supporting a filamentous foliage reminiscent of Columbine. When she blooms, typically later in the season, great clouds of powder puff purple fill her corner on centre stage of the garden. The Winnipeg winds haven’t bothered her yet as she defiantly stands her ground. Totally hardy, massively reliable and above all gorgeous. Gee, do you think I’m fond of this one?
Have fun shopping, studying the new and notables and of course play in your garden, it’s been a long winter indoors.