Shade lovers are made for shade

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Upon seeing me drooling over the display of Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’, the 2012 Perennial Plant of the Year, at our local garden center, a senior associate casually asked me if I had a shade garden, to her chuckle, I replied instinctively “ I will find some”. And that’s exactly what I had to do! Once bought and planted, I did indeed end up moving ‘Jack Frost’ around in our garden since every location I chose didn’t seem right. Now, finally, I have  found a suitable spot under the ornamental cherry tree which receives some morning sun but rest of the day stays pretty much shaded.   

Among others, location is one of the important factors to consider for successful gardening. Besides, every gardener knows or has experienced, that when it comes to deciding whether to grow a plant in sun or shade, nature dictates the rules. A plant which needs sun for optimum growth and performance will not fare well in shade; it will become spindly in search of sun and flower poorly. Likewise, a shade plant will scorch if planted in full sun, if it survives the heat at all. In fact, during all these years of gardening, I think I have spent more time and energy moving plants until convinced that I have found the right location to suit the need of the plant.   

Award winner Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’, commonly known as Siberian Bugloss, is a clump-forming, rhizomatous perennial which reminds one of a hosta. Grown for the attractive basal foliage, the heart shaped silvery-white leaves have rims, as well as intricately detailed primary and secondary veins in mint green, creating a spectacular contrast. Sprays of light blue flowers are borne in mid to late spring that add to the beauty of the plant. As far as I can tell, I have missed the flowering for this season, but then again, there is always the next season, something to look forward to.

Basically a low-maintenance plant, Brunnera prefers to be grown in part to full shade, in a woodland-like environment; the soil needs to be rich and moist all the time but well-drained. While the location I have chosen does have good drainage, I will have to keep in mind to water regularly. This season, we have been fortunate so far to get rain every so often; but summers, as we know, can be quite unpredictable.      

Gita’s Tip of the Month:
Transplant or move plants on cloudy days as opposed to bright sunny days to reduce shock that plants experience when moved from one location to another.

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