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Coral Bells – Growing Tips for Trendy Garden Plants

coral bells, heucheras, perennial, shade plants, sun plants

Berry Smoothie Coral Bells growing in full sun in Michigan

I’m going to share with you a garden TIP on growing Heucheras  (Coral Bells) that has help me improve my success  growing this popular garden plant.

Ever since all those new foliage colors in Coral Bells have come out – I’ve been sucked into this coral bell craze.  The wide color range, neat habit and tiny spikes of flowers are perfect for tucking in borders, along pathways and containers.

But here are a few guidelines I’ve used in the past few years that have worked for me when deciding on what trendy foliage color to use and where I’m going to place it.

Plant in good, well drained soil where it will receive a minimum of 1″ water a week.

1)      Dark foliage types – are more sun tolerant.  Berry Smoothie Coral Bells is ravishing in this garden bed – soaking in the rays and looking brilliant.

Plant in:  full sun or morning shade and afternoon sun.

My experience with Obsidian and Midnight Rose is that the more sun it receives the more brilliant the color becomes

2)      Light foliage types – need protection from hot afternoon sun.  Even with that said, by August the foliage color

heuchera, coral bells, greatgardenplants.com

(Berry Smoothie Coral Bells). DESIGN TIP: Adding a bright, cheery pop of foliage color adds season long interest to your perennial garden

will still fade.

Plant:  Morning sun, afternoon shade

You will have different results depending on what region of the country you are from, but for me in my Michigan garden, these simply guidelines really help me enjoy Heucheras even more.

Hardy Ice Plant – Drought Proof Groundcover Growing Tips

Hardy Ice Plant is thriving in gravelly soil with good drainage near a road (Zone 5) This planting has been here for over 5 years.

Hardy Ice Plant has been thriving here for 5 years (Zone 5). It has super good drainage and gravelly soil

Delosperma is a tough drought proof groundcover for hot, dry places like curbs and driveways.  Hardy Ice Plant is low growing with green succulent foliage and stunning flowers that bloom non-stop all summer long while thriving in heat, humidity and little water.

Given the right spot and growing conditions, it will bloom most of the summer and thrive in your garden.

I hear a lot of feedback from gardeners that have difficult growing and/or overwintering Delosperma.  This beautiful ground cover is very, VERY  fussy about drainage.  If you don’t have SUPER sharp drainage, you should probably opt for growing  Sedum or SedumSod – an instant colorful groundcover.

If I were to grow in containers, I would add gravel or cactus to sharpen the drainage in the soil.

Delosperma is ideal for strips along a driveway (where it is often more gravelly) or rock garden.   Right plant – right place as the saying goes.

CLICK HERE – for more information

Backyard Makeover with KnockOut Roses

KnockOut Roses are disease free, ultra hardy, long blooming and long lived rose!

Need a Back-yard Makeover Idea?  KnockOut Roses are an ideal  choice for a  a busy young mother of 2 energetic young boys.

Natalie Meeks of Mommy’s Memorandum decided to use KnockOut Roses for her garden project.  KnockOut Roses is one of the best-selling flowering shrubs on the market day.  They are long blooming, disease free, ultra hardy and long lived.

Natalie  talks about her project installation and shares some helpful tips on plants she purchased from www.GreatGardenPlants.com

Natalie states “Despite the record high temperatures, these plants continue to thrive.   I think that these plants will be the perfect addition to our backyard for many summers to come.”

CLICK HERE to read full article

Hydrangea Growing Tips For Hot Climates

Hydrangea garden in southern California

Can you grow Hydrangeas in southern California?  We received this beautiful picture of a glorious Hydrangea garden from one of our customers (Pat from southern California). Pat not only has a beautiful garden but shares a few helpful growing tips about gardening with Hydrangeas in a desert climate of southern California.

As you can see I LOVE hydrangeas. I currently have about 250+ plants. I was so happy to add some new varieties from your collection and am anxiously awaiting their arrival. It would be an honor to have you use the photo in your blog–even if it definitely shows my hydrangea addiction. The most important hint I have, especially for this area, is to water them everyday in the summer months. Shade also is very important to protect them from the 100++ degree temperatures we often have.”

Thank you Pat for your inspiration!  Have some gardening tips & pictures you would like to share?  Send them to mary@greatgardenplants.com.   We love to inspire other gardeners!

Brunnera Jack Frost – 2012 Perennial Plant of the Year – Growing Tips

Silver foliage Brunnera combines effortlessly with so many other shade plants

Since its discovery, Brunnera Jack Frost PP 13,859  has won numerous awards including Perennial Plant of the Year in 2012 and Best New Perennial of the Year at Plantarium, The Netherlands.  Jack Frost has warmed the hearts of many gardeners both new and experienced.   I can’t think of a more beautiful deer proof shade plant and one that is so adaptable in perennial garden design.

Few shade perennials have such interesting silver foliage throughout the season.  This clump forming perennial is  a versatile groundcover grows 15-18″ tall x 15-18″ wide.   Hardy to zone 5 (probably hardier)

In spring, small oblong leaves gradually grow into larger heart-shaped leaves after the conclusion of the flowering period. Beautiful, wispy panicles of sky blue flowers appear in early spring.

How To Grow

  • Does best in moisture retentive soil in part shade.  In my area of the country (Michigan) it can take some pretty dry shade.
  • Plant in area where it receives morning sun and afternoon shade.  Watch for too much sun or hot spots.
  • Don’t worry that the leaves are small in spring – they will get much larger (5-8″ across) as the plant grows.
  • Best in moist soil.  Add 3 inches of mulch to keep moist
  • If you notice crispy leaf edges – plants are getting too dry.  I ofte  cut these leaves all the way back. Plants might stay dormant for a while before flushing out with new foliage growth.
  • Cut back blooms after fading.  Plants stays more attractive that way.

Here’s what you’ll love about this plant

  • Silver shade plant.   Why is that important? Silver infuses light into dark corners of theDeer proof Jack Frost Brunnera for the shade garden shade garden
  • Foliage stays colorful and attractive throughout the season
  • Blue flowers in spring – which compliments spring blooming bulbs
  • Easy to grow – Prefers consistent moisture
  • Low Maintenance
  • Deer & Rabbit Resistant
  • No serious insects or disease issues
  • Late evening gardening – still visible at dusk
  • It’s just plain gorgeous!

Stay tuned for our  hands on Garden Design Tips with Brunnera in our next article

Read more:

Garden Design with Brunnera Jack Frost

Brunnera Jack Frost

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