Heucheras: Changing through the seasons
August 17, 2011
As I mentioned the other day, I've been thinking about heucheras recently - working on the next book, the new one is only just out. There are hundreds of heucheras now available, originating both in North America and in Europe, and I've especially been thinking about the qualities that make the very best varieties really stand out.
In the previous post I concentrated on those Heuchera varieties that combine good flowers and good foliage, now I've been wondering about those whose foliage changes with the seasons, providing different appeals at different times of the year.
Again I came up with my own list, and then got some advice from a real expert. My list was:
'Autumn Leaves' 'Caramel'
'Electric Lime' 'Ginger Ale'
'Midnight Bayou' 'Miracle'
'Peach Flambé' 'Southern Comfort'
'Tiramisu' (above, click to enlarge)
I then asked advice from Jooles Burton who, with her husband Sean, runs Heucheraholics. Apart from having just about the best nursery name in Britain, Heucheraholics is one of the two British Heuchera specialists who've done so much to popularise the plants in Britain.
"I think you've picked out the best of the Changelings," she said, "but these are a few that are also very good and always doing something different. 'Berry Smoothie' is the most amazing spring colour I have ever seen - squashed raspberries – and 'Snowstorm' has lovely pink winter colour, very different. But 'Pinot Gris' is favourite (but don't ask me why!), the gingery foliage with its silvery overlay ages to smoky rose.
"'Midnight Rose' has burnished black leaves, thickly spotted hot pink in spring and then the summer leaves are paler and dotted with cream and pink.
"I'm sure there's lots more, 'Ginger Peach', 'Encore', 'Beauty Colour', 'Georgia Peach', 'Marmalade, 'Mahogany', 'Pretty Perinne'… As you know they can appear totally different depending on shade/sun/water/cold etc... I love the way the colours become richer as the nights get colder."
Again, it's good to know that real expert who's been growing old and new heucheras for years doesn’t think my choice is completely mad! And with her great suggestions it just proves how many of these plants have that quality which is so valuable, especially in small gardens: growing plants whose foliage changes its color and tones as the months pass is like growing two or three different pants in the same place.
You can check out the Heucheraholics nursery website, run by Jooles and Sean Burton, at Heucheraholics.co.uk. Please note that they do cannot send plants to North America.
And don't forget to check my earlier post on heucheras with both good flowers and good foliage.