More Shade Plants for 2008

I have now beaten my deadlines into submission so I can think a little more clearly about what kinds of plants we should be looking at this year.

This is based on Dan Heims? shade plant list. As I mentioned he is one of the great plant producers and manages to find new plants at a great rate. Plenty of good Canadian nurseries carry his plants.

I am nuts about euphorbias and and hellebores.??The new euphorbia that caught my eye was E. ?Blue Lagoon? with a blue-green foliage and the yellow-green bloom. If I could grow them all, this is the species I would collect.?

Hellebores are especially useful: Evergreen, tailored, wonderful foliage colour, long blooming periods (up to 8 weeks) and the right ones can be very hardy.?

Helleborus foetidus ?Red Silver? is magnificent (at least in Dan?s shots). I?ve been trying out H. f. ?Hot Flash? and if it survives I will be thrilled. It has silver and red veining and comes up in very early spring with pale green flowers.?Another good one in photos is H. niger ?Jericho?.

Hellebores take a while to establish but in the right site (rich, well-drained soil), they just get bigger and more imposing. They are really among the most dramatic plants you can find.

?I?m looking out at one poking up above the snow outside my office window: deep green leaves and the beginning of spring?s bloom in an acid yellow. The new ones are being bred to be even hardier than the species currently available. They are also great container plants if you live in northern areas. What they cannot tolerate is poorly drained soil. So I tend to plant mine on small berms. But you do have to be patient.

?Here are a few more beauties coming your way:

Bergenia ?Solar Flare? a clumping creamy edged variation on a good old reliable plant. The variation turns pinky after it finishes blooming.

Campaula ?Blue-Eyed Blonde? has gold foliage and typical bell-like blue flowers.??m really liking plants with gold foliage and blue flowers these days.

Penstemon ?Dark Towers?: P. ?Husker?s Red? has been a favourite for many years. Great foliage, wonderful long-lasting blooms. But this one is taller has darker foliage and pink blooms. Sounds like a winner to me.? which is a wholesale site but will give you an idea of what these plants look like. It?s where your local retailer may be ordering from so ?get your oar in with what you?ll be liking this spring. If the retailers know what we want, they will get the plants for us.