Finding winter color in the garden is challenging, but not impossible. After the trees and shrubs drop their leaves, most landscapes resemble a sad and empty existence. Thankfully, the more common evergreen conifers show some signs of life throughout our neighborhoods. Adding a little color can make a huge difference! Placing a few perennials and shrubs in the correct place brightens up the otherwise dull, dark space.
If your front bed looks a little drab as fall sets in, try Bergenia ‘Bressingham Ruby’, a cultivar whose green glossy leaves turn a bright burgundy red in the fall. The color lasts throughout the winter and without looking tattered. The large reddish leaves give way to early spring flowers too!
Helleborus Gold Collection® Jacob is a perennial bred for the savvy gardener. According to The National Gardening Association, the overwhelming majority of home gardeners rely on seed packets for their gardening information, which means they miss out on growing this sterile hellebore hybrid. The more savvy home gardeners in milder climates will absolutely love the rewards…pure white flowers in the garden at Christmas time! Available during the holiday season as a holiday plant, Jacob makes a nice indoor plant for a few weeks. It can then be planted outside as an evergreen perennial. Pack your patience, because the first two or three years it may not flower heavily in the garden.
It is nearly impossible to talk about Hellebores and not bring up new varieties. It is also nearly impossible to bring up new varieties without talking about Helleborus x ericsmithii Gold Collection® Monte Cristo. New genetics helped spur the interest in Hellebores in recent years, which in turned triggered an overwhelming amount of new varieties to choose from. Sterile hybrids propagated from tissue culture produce clones that are completely different from the older hybridized versions of Hellebores. For growers, this is a win because they can grow a flowering crop faster and more uniformly. For home gardeners, this is a win because they know exactly what they are buying because each plant is exactly the same as the parent plant. We can count on the robust silvery blue evergreen foliage of Love Bug to give rise to plenty of winter flowers in the garden. In fact, in the PNW we can count on high bud counts as other varieties are scrambling for survival and color in the garden is becoming crucial. This color will push into late winter as other Hellebores begin to promise color.
It is not just Hellebores, breeders are also pumping out Heuchera quicker than most of us can keep track of. Many of which lack vigor. Home Gardeners are left to gamble their hard-earned money on plants which may not produce the results they expect. Gardeners who want to leave the gambling in Vegas should try Heuchera ‘Pinot Gris’. It is one of the best performers of the many new varieties that entered the market in the last few years. In the Pacific Northwest, the foliage on Pinot Gris is evergreen and clean, seemingly insulated from cold winter temperatures. Interesting veining and colors in the leaves remain until spring when a prospect of new growth brings fresh and interesting surprises to the garden.