We have had an impressive amount of snow in Western Pennsylvania. I heard in the news that we had snow everyday since December 28th until just a couple of days ago. Everything is covered with a thick blanket, which allows us to see deer tracks coming to the bird feeders from all points of the yard. I have been thinking of how important is to make careful selections in what plants to add to the garden this coming spring. Based on plants that remained untouched in the past season, my search continues. My quest now is to add some of the same species but in different varieties.
Ligularia sp. or ‘Bigleaf Goldenray’. There are about 10 species of Ligularia that are commonly cultivated. In our area of Western Pennsylvania, I have come across only four different varieties. This is a striking plant, with huge kidney, triangular or elliptical leaves that form an attractive clump sometimes two or three feet in diameter. Give this plant plenty of space and fertile moist conditions in part shade. Most bloom in late summer with showy yellow daisylike flowers held high in sprays or spikes. Propagation by division in spring.
Brunnera sp. or ‘Siberian Bugloss’. This is an elegant spring-flowering shade loving perennial with beautiful foliage. Leaves are broad and heart shaped, available in many variegated combinations of white and gold as well as the rich silver with green veins of ‘Jack Frost’. Generally pest free, it thrives in sun as long as it is not dry. Its typical forget-me-not sprays of blue flowers open in mid to late spring.
Pulmonaria sp. or ‘Lungwort’. Another favorite in my shade garden. I am still searching for more varieties. Popular ground cover plant. Very striking foliage, usually covered with spots, and lance like leaves that form a thick covering. Blooms in early spring in a profusion of of upright stems with shades of violet, pink and purple.
All of these shade loving perennials have proven to be pest resistant in my garden. My strategy now is to collect as many varieties as I can fit into my shady beds. Since all of these plants sport bold large leaves and clumping habit, I find them companions such as Ferns, Astilbes, and Irises to offset their shape and create an interesting overall design.
“A garden is never so good as it will be next year” Thomas Cooper