First Look at Shady Ladies!

Inspiration / Problem Solving Plants

First Look at Shady Ladies!

We recently shared four cultivars in the Frostkiss series of Helleborus that are newly certified Handpicked For You® in 2020: Anna’s Red, Dorothy’s Dawn, Glenda’s Gloss, and Penny’s Pink. They’re all robust plants with large, outward facing flowers and spectacular marbled foliage and they’re certified reliably outstanding for the northeast through the mid Atlantic. Why are we telling you about them again? Because three of their siblings are on our First Look list for 2020!  ‘Molly’s White’ and Moondance™ bring white flowers to the series. ‘Molly’s White’ is a little taller at 18” and a little earlier to flower (Feb in VA) while Moondance™ is a little more compact and extends the flower show by blooming a little later. Similarly, Reanna’s Ruby® brings the dark red flowers of Anna’s Red to a more compact plant that blooms a month later than the very early ‘Anna’s Red’.

Helleborus Frostkiss® Molly’s White

Helleborus Frostkiss® Moondance™ PPAF

Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ was such a breakthrough when it was released that the Perennial Plant Association selected it as their second ever Perennial Plant of the Year in 1991. Heuchera breeding has come so far since that time that breeders today dump plants as “not good enough” that they’d have given their eye teeth for twenty years ago. So says Heuchera expert Dan Heims of Terra Nova whose team is responsible for two of the First Look Heuchera for 2020, Grande™ Black and Northern Exposure™ Black. Grande™ Black is the first in its series and is enormous at 1.5’ tall and 2’ wide.  It’s not as black as their classic ‘Obsidian’, but it’s the biggest black we’ve seen and it has a delightfully subtle silver veil on the leaves. It also performed admirably in our trials the last two years – sopping wet in 2018 and hot as blazes in 2019. Northern Exposure™ Black is part of their USDA zone 3 hardy series and is as black as ‘Obsidian’. Expecting the cold hardiness to be the claim to fame, our southernmost partner was surprised to watch them perform exceptionally well in the heat and humidity of central Virginia.

Heuchera Northern Exposure™ Black PPAF

If you think more of a good thing is a good thing then you’ll really like Heuchera ‘Guacamole’. French breeder, Thierry Delabroye, bred the gold standard Heuchera ‘Citronelle’ but he one-upped himself with the release of Heuchera ‘Guacamole’ which is a super-sized ‘Citronelle’. Rather than the avocado color the name implies, ‘Guacamole’ is the same eye-popping chartreuse as its much-loved predecessor and just as tough in the landscape.

Heuchera Guacamole PPAF

Also from Thierry, Heuchera ‘Magma’ combines a rich reddish maroon color with that same landscape performance. Of all the reds we’ve trialed, ‘Magma’ is not the truest red, but is the best performer in the landscape.

Heuchera Magma PPAF

Yep, still more Heuchera made our 2020 First Look list and, yes, we were just as skeptical as you are which is the very reason we trial. The Timeless series comes from the accomplished breeding team at Walters Gardens and changed our reality of what’s possible with flower power on Heuchera. Breeder Hans Hansen knew he was onto something when he had the first in the series, ‘Berry Timeless’, bloom continuously for two years in the greenhouse. Two years! While we don’t see that in a landscape setting, we do see incredible and repeating flower power on a range of foliage colors now in the series. At 8-10” tall and 18-20” wide, they’re much smaller than other cultivars highlighted in this issue perhaps because they’re blooming their tails off.

Heuchera 'Berry Timeless' Photo Credit: Walters Gardens

‘Grape Timeless’ has bright purple leaves with charcoal veins and scads of rosy pink flowers. ‘Timeless Night’ combines those same rosy pink flowers with shiny, jet black foliage. The chartreuse leaves and hot pink flowers of ‘Timeless Glow’ are so bright and improbable, it could have dripped off the board game, Candy Land.

Heuchera 'Grape Timeless' Photo Credit: Walters Gardens

Heuchera 'Timeless Night' PPAF Photo Credit: Walters Gardens

Heuchera 'Timeless Glow' PPAF Photo Credit: Walters Gardens

Keep an eye out for all of these shady ladies in participating Handpicked for You® independent garden centers in 2020.