Monday, December 9, 2013

Silvers In The Shade Garden

We had about 2" of fluffy snow come down throughout yesterday (Sunday) and overnight.  It was relatively easy to clear the paths for the Holiday Lights Show (HLS) this morning which starts this upcoming Friday night, December 13th (see for more event information.  The bitterly cold weather has had the benefit of freezing the gravel paths before this snow which makes it a lot better scenario than clearing wet snow from unfrozen, mushy gravel paths.  Aside from snow removal by Larry and Bill O. out in the gardens, Pat M. went out for some pruning and had some other tasks at the Horticulture Center.  Dick H. plowed our parking lot and helped with some other projects.  Dave, Vern, Jim and Ron Y. all worked on carpentry projects and we had Dr. Gredler, Del and Gene painting and priming containers.  Maury ran some errands for us and we also saw Dick P., Chuck S. (recycling) and others.

I am working on a presentation for late winter that focuses on using plants in the partly shaded garden.  I always emphasize the importance of white and silver in the shade garden to offer "illumination" and impact.  In the shadier garden, we become less reliant on blooms and therefore should be more focused on foliage texture and color.   The perennial shown both above and directly below in a grouping is the 'Jack Frost' false forget-me-not (Brunnera macrophylla) which is a solid performer for this function and also has a colorful (albeit brief) bloom window in early spring.  Silver foliage in the shadier garden or container can be very effective when used in repetition, as accents or en masse.  Below are just some examples of plants that offer that silver contribution.  Keep in mind that shadier garden situations may be quite dry if trees and other woody plants are part of the setting.  Know the needs of these plants in terms of soils, watering preferences, etc. for best results!

'Jack Frost' false forget-me-not (Brunnera macrophylla) - perennial
'Looking Glass' false forget-me-not (Brunnera macrophylla) - perennial
same as above ('Looking Glass') with hellebores (Helleborus)
'Sea Heart' false forget-me-not (Brunnera macrophylla) - perennial
'Silver Blush' coral bells (Heuchera) - perennial
'Dolce Blackcurrant' coral bells (Heuchera) - perennial
'Sugar Plum' coral bells (Heuchera) - perennial
purple cyclamen (Cyclamen purpurascens) - perennial (marginal)
'Majeste' lungwort (Pulmonaria sp.) - perennial
'Cotton Cool' lungwort (Pulmonaria sp.) - perennial
'Samurai' lungwort (Pulmonaria sp.) - perennial
'Herman's Pride' yellow archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon) - perennial
close-up of above ('Herman's Pride') with spring blooms
'Gryphon' begonia (Begonia hybrida) - annual
'Flamenco' begonia (Begonia sp.) - annual
'White Christmas' caladium (Caladium) - annual
'Moonlight' caladium (Caladium) - annual

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