Monday, April 19, 2010

Blooms for your spring garden: Tiarella 'Neon Lights

Tiarella is a close cousin to Huechera, with similar sprays of flowers over a low clump of foliage. "Neon Lights' has large, deeply-cut chartreuse leaves with deep purple veins. Chubby spikes of white -pink flowers appear in spring and they last and last. The bright green foliage offers bright color all season long. An excellent choice for edging in moist, shaded areas. This variety really visually brightens darkly shaded areas.

Color for your spring garden: Huechera

Heuchera offer colorful foliage all season and long-lived blooms from now until September. (They are one of the few perennials that offer such a long bloom time.

There are so many varieties of Heuchera it will make your head spin. (This variety is called 'Sweet Tea.') Each one has a slightly different colored leaf, and some times slightly different leaf shapes. And they develop new varieties and hybrids. (For a couple years there, the "experimental" colors were the most temperamental, but the more recent varieties have proven themselves hardy and garden work-horses.) From year to year some varieties are not available, usually because growers decide a new variety is stronger/prettier/more popular than the variety you bought last year, which can be annoying, but you just have to be flexible and match up the leaf colors the best you can. (Or divide the plant you have.)

Fertilize every 4 months with slow-release Osmocote, compost, or an organic fish emulsion fertilizer. Dead-head spent blooms, and in the spring, remove any dead foliage. Grow this long lived perennial in partial shade and avoid hot afternoon sun.