Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Heuchera (16 OCT 2013)

I’ve pulled out sycamore seedlings at this time of year ever since I can remember. Even before I was a gardener, it wasn’t my favourite chore. They get everywhere, in pots, in flowerbeds and under the straw surrounding my precious strawberry plants, propelled there by their incredibly effective wings. I admit reluctantly that it’s an example of evolution at its best.



I was surprised earlier this year when I saw a pot on sale containing a little sycamore seedling. “Those darn things”, I thought.

I peered inside to see what was supposed to be growing in the pot but there was nothing else. The pot was labelled Heuchera. Wasn’t that the plant that keen gardeners rave about ? … highly rated for its foliage ?



My first reaction was to abandon it on the shelf but curiosity got the better of me – luckily I trusted the judgement of those gardeners more than my own.

Within four months I had begun to see its attraction.



It even softened my annoyance with the sycamores, because when I look at them now ...




 
...  they remind me of heuchera, though they are not related.


























I wasn’t aware that it was actually in the same family when I tucked the heuchera next to my washing-line pole between two bergenias. The tall flower stalks which arise from these groundcover plants are the only clue. Just like bergenias, heuchera doesn’t need special attention, I haven’t watered or fed them but maybe they benefit from the slightly acidic mulch shed by the camellia canopy above.


All together they make a fine foliage display, the leaves of each plant telling a story of the compromises made between the needs to photosynthesise, sunscreen, transfer heat, hydrate and deter herbivores in their native habitats.



During late summer to autumn there is the added bonus of the "insignificant" flowers which to me look like the cascade from fireworks in miniature.



Today I'm linking up to Foliage Follow-Up at Pam's Digging blog on the 16th of the month.
http://www.penick.net/digging/


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16 comments:

Mark and Gaz said...

Love Heucheras, easy and undemanding plants that are hardy too!

Angie said...

I'm sure that Heuchera is very appreciative of you taking it home with you! I've quite a few Heuchera and have a bit of a love/hate thing going on with them. They do look good in providing a contrast with surrounding plants. I hope it is forever happy in your garden.

Janet/Plantaliscious said...

Ah! Just failed to leave a comment - trying again... I share your sycamore pain, having neighbours with multiple trees. I also share your relucatant admiration for a brilliant piece of adaptation on their part, those seedlings pop up everywhere. I also really like the purple leaved heucheras, the frothy mass of the flowers is really pretty in an understated sort of way, and the foliage makes a great foil for other plants. Not so keen on the cray versions the plant breeders come up with though, in shades of salmon and orange. Enjoy your heuchera, it should make you happy for years to come.

Esther Montgomery said...

I like sycamores. I like some heucheras - and not others. I have one. Or rather. I did have one. Something has just eaten it. Maybe it will recover and return next year. We'll see.

HolleyGarden said...

It's elm seedlings that I am constantly pulling around here. Unfortunately, sometimes I don't catch them in time for them to be considered a seedling anymore! :O Your heuchera is fabulous. So glad you took a chance! I love the look of heucheras - even those little blooms - but they do not like it here. :( So, I'll just have to admire yours! And I bet this will not be the last heuchera that makes it into your garden!

Caro (UrbanVegPatch) said...

I'm also new to heucheras. The Which? trial gardens at Capel Manor where I'm studying finished their heuchera trial a year ago and put the plants out for sale. I bought the last two very sorry looking specimens, didn't even properly plant them until spring, but they've thrived in a very shady area and resisted slug attack. One's a lovely blackcurrant smoothie colour and I'd quite like a few more now!

Pam/Digging said...

They do look quite similar! I love Heucheras too and have tried a few in my Austin, Texas, garden, but our heat and drought do them in. Easy come, easy go, right? :-) Thanks for joining in for Foliage Follow-Up!

HELENE said...

I don’t have sycamore seedlings but I have the same problem as you with ivy seedlings, I must pull up around 1000 every year. The birds eat the berries and spread the seeds everywhere in my garden and ivy seeds are one of the few seeds that will sprout on bark, no soil needed. I love heucheras too, I intend to grow my collection next year, there are so many lovely colours!

squirrelbasket said...

Heucheras are among my favourites. I have had so many, some of which I have lost over the years, as they don't seem that hardy. The best seem to be the purply ones, but I tend to lose the orange-coloured varieties.
I had no idea they were related to sycamore - but the resemblance is pretty obvious, when you look at the leaves.
All the best :)

croftgarden said...

I'm delighted you've discovered Heucera, a much under-rated plant.

gardenwalkgardentalk.com said...

I like the plant, they just don't like it here much. They grow well not far from here, but our soil is not to their liking. Lucky plant that you liked it.

Donna@Gardens Eye View said...

B-A-G I love heucheras and have many...my hummers love the flowers and I adore the foliage.

debsgarden said...

I love heucheras for their beautiful foliage and, yes, for their flowers, for their airiness and vertical statement. Your photos are lovely! Your heucheras look like they are happy.

Pam's English Garden said...

I love heuchera, b-a-g. I'm thinking of moving some of mine. Their very dark leaves do not show up in the darker area of the shade garden where they are planted. They deserve to be shown off -- I think you will agree. P. x

b-a-g said...

I do - Pam !

Thanks all for your comments.

SquirrelBasket - I think I mis-led you. Heuchera is actually related to bergenia, it just looks like sycamore.

Helene - I thought I had it bad with the sycamore seedlings but your ivy problem sounds worse.

Janet - you were one of the gardeners that I remembered singing its praises when I stood in the shop deciding whether to buy it.

Alvina Thomas said...

I really like heuchera plants and I have lots of plants in my garden.

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