I’ve become very enthusiastic about Heuchera and Tiarella, for their terrific foliage, and ability to grow under the trees. I’ve been extending the garden under my large spruce trees, digging out more lawn and planting shade perennials with evergreen leaves. Some of the new plants are Heuchera ‘Raspberry Ice’, Tiarella ‘Jeepers Creepers’ and Tiarella ‘Sugar and Spice’. These are all shade tolerant, and they will look great until covered up with snow. The Tiarella have very pretty flowers, and I’ve been adding some Heuchera that have showier blooms, too.
Tiarella ‘Jeepers Creepers’ (foamflower) is supposed to be midway between a clumping form and a running form. These perennials are so attractive, that I wouldn’t mind if they spread more like a running type. You can see in the picture above that the leaves have a nice glossy look. The plants have been extremely healthy looking so far. I’ll let you know next year how they grow and overwinter in zone 3.
Tiarella ‘Jeepers Creepers’ has shiny, green leaves with dark centres radiating out along the lobes from the middle. The foliage is very fresh looking and attractive. The leaves have small white hairs when you look at them close up. You can click the photo above to see how hairy they really are.
One ‘Jeepers Creepers’ plant has a single flower still on it, since it was planted this month. It should be covered in these white spikes next year. I was very impressed with the length of the flowering time of Tiarella ‘Pink Skyrocket’, so I’m looking forward to seeing how long these ones bloom next year. You can see more photos of these Tiarella, and read about how beautifully they are doing in this followup article. Another Tiarella with light green leaves like Jeepers Creepers is ‘Neon Lights’.
Heuchera ‘Raspberry Ice’ (coral bells) has outstanding silvery purple leaves that look dramatic in the shade garden. There are three plants in the group above, already making a nice sized clump. The silver colour is reflecting the light underneath the spruce, so they show up well. I have a group of these in my backyard too, where they have no problems with the shade.
These new ‘Raspberry Ice’ are out of synch with the seasons, so they have a single pink flower on them still. You can see how pretty the dark pink bloom looks, especially against the silvery background.
Some Heuchera have gorgeous leaves, but insignificant flowers. The winning combination of fantastic foliage and showy flowers make Heuchera ‘Raspberry Ice’ a great garden plant. I have two other Heuchera that combine great foliage with pretty flowers.
Tiarella ‘Sugar and Spice’ (foamflower) has foliage very similar to ‘Jeepers Creepers’, green lobes with darker purple centres. The colour contrast makes the perennials a little bolder looking and pleasing in the garden. They can be placed next to green leafed plants to add a little pizazz, or make a bridge between plants with purple leaves and those with green foliage, coordinating them together.
I also have some ‘Sugar and Spice in my back garden, and the foliage is glossy, reflecting extra light. This makes them valuable in the shade, where they brighten the shadowy areas. Plus, the shiny leaves are a joy to look at, even when there are no flowers out.
The flowers of Tiarella ‘Sugar and Spice’ are white, but they emerge from pink buds, so they have a light pink appearance from a distance, but they are not as dark pink looking as ‘Pink Skyrocket’.
The picture above has ‘Raspberry Ice’ at the front and ‘Jeepers Creeper’ behind. Next spring I’ll know more about how these survive a zone 3 winter, but I anticipate them doing fine. My other Heuchera have been very hardy, preserving most of their leaves under the snow for an early spring display. We generally get reliable snow cover, which helps save the evergreen leaves from the bitter cold. You can see in the photo above that they are entirely unaffected by our first frosts. These are great plants for shade gardening in a cold climate.
As many perennials have turned brown in Autumn, disappearing for the winter, those with evergreen or semi-evergreen leaves provide texture, colour and garden interest. In zone 3, the dieing back can start early, leaving the garden looking bare. However, perennials like Heuchera, Heucherella, Tiarella, Asarum (ginger), Helleborus (hellebore), some Campanula (bellflowers) and some Pulmonaria (lungwort) lengthen the gardening season with their evergreen foliage, until finally covered with snow. Then in spring as the melting snow reveals bare earth in most of the garden, these perennials are showing colourful foliage for a quick start to your shade garden. In a short growing season, this trait is especially appealing.
You can read and see more about some some other Heuchera and Tiarella I grow in theses posts, Heuchera foliage in fall, Tiarella ‘Pink Skyrocket, Heuchera ‘Cinnabar Silver’, Heuchera ‘Plum Pudding’, and Heuchera ‘Mint Frost’.