Some terrific “shady” plants will return every year

Marianne Binetti will be making the following appearances:

  • Tuesday, April 21, 2009 1:12pm
  • Life

The Compleat

Home Gardner

Marianne Binetti will be making the following appearances:

• 10 a.m., Saturday, Kent Sustainable Living Fair, “Green Roofs, Rain Gardens and Living Walls” at the Kentwood Performing Arts Center.

• Noon, Saturday, Spring Garden Fair, Redmond City Hall, “Contain Yourself.” Practical ways to grow almost anything in pots. Book signing to follow.

• 1 p.m., Sunday, Nisqually Valley Home and Garden Show, “Fresh Ideas for Gardeners”

• 7 to 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, “Hot Plants for Dry Spots,” gardening with less water. Green River Community College Enumclaw campus. Register by phoning 253-288-3400

• 7 p.m., April 29, Natural Yard Care. Free seminar at a location to be announced.

The end of April is a great time to add the best new perennials to your garden. Perennials are plants that come back year after year and many of the new offerings have not just flowers but beautiful foliage as well. Lazy or laid back gardeners should remember that flowers may be fleeting but foliage lasts forever.

Here are my favorite perennials for shade:

Hosta: I like to call handsome hosta the “Prince of Darkness” because these shade-loving perennials adapt like gentlemen to different soils, can handle some sun and deep shade without complaining and never have a drinking problem, although they do need water. Hostas that get plenty of water will reward you with huge and beautiful leaves. Chose hosta plants with white or gold in the foliage to light up your dark corners.

Garden gossip: hostas attract slimy creatures, so protect from slugs.

Pulmonaria or Lungwort: ugly name for a beautiful plant that blooms early with pink fading to blue flowers and boasts lovely spotted leaves that are shaped like the lobe of a lung. (This explains the ugly name.) Plant with daffodils and other woodland flowers under trees and large shrubs. Pulmonaria are slug and deer resistant because the foliage is a bit hairy.

Garden gossip: does not age with dignity. Once summer arrives the foliage becomes rather skanky and the whole plant lets herself go. Prune everything ugly right to ground level around June and you’ll see fresh new growth and an encore appearance late in the summer.

Heuchera: here’s a hard worker that also looks great. Star-like lobed leaves that come in rainbow shades of purple, green, spotted and striped, the heucheras are related to our native woodland coral bells so they love our acid soil and light to deep shade. Some heucheras can take full sun, some love more shade so buy several varieties and test them out. These are great foliage plants for containers or as groundcovers under trees and shrubs.

Garden gossip: don’t plant these perennials too deep or they’ll rot. Keep mulch away from their skinny necks. If your heuchera from last year are looking like giraffes with lanky, bare stems just cut off the top growth and place the cut end back into the moist soil. New plants root easily. Divide up crowded heuchera clumps now and celebrate a crop of new plants.

Brunnera: talk about your well-behaved plant. Brunnera is beautiful, it blooms and is slug, drought and deer resistant. The variety called “Jack Frost” has silvery white leaves with delicate green etchings that grab the spotlight in any shady spot. Then to keep things interesting, in spring wands of baby blue blooms that look like forget-me-nots rise above the tidy mounded leaves for long-lasting color. This woodland plant loves organic matter and light shade and I grow it under the skirts of mature rhododendrons.

Garden gossip: no bad habits to gossip about here. Brunnera plants may be more expensive than other perennials as this is still a new introduction but they are worth the price. If you want more plants (and once you meet this perennial you will) the time to divide brunnera is in the fall.

• • •

Marianne Binetti has a degree in horticulture from Washington State University and is the author of “Easy Answers for Great Gardens” and several other books. For book requests or answers to gardening questions, write to her at: P.O. Box 872, Enumclaw, 98022. Send a self-addressed, stamped envelope for a personal reply.

For more gardening information, she can be reached at her Web site, www.binettigarden.com.

Copyright for this column owned by Marianne Binetti.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@courierherald.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.courierherald.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 500 words or less.

More in Life

PHOTOS BY KEVIN HANSON
The River Trail at the Mud Mountain Dam Recreation Area provides a walk that offers occasional looks at the White River. The entry off the Rim Trail is well-marked and, of course, warning signs are necessary.
Mud Mountain trails offer a quick, and not too challenging, getaway

Looking for trails? The Mud Mountain Dam recreation area has three within easy access.

PHOTOS BY KEVIN HANSON Every Tuesday at 11 a.m., Aubree Axelson can be found at Enumclaw’s Flensted Park, reading stories to kids and their parents. It’s a volunteer effort by Axelson, who spends most of the year in front of youngsters while serving as a kindergarten teacher at Elk Ridge Elementary in Buckley. The Tuesday events are a drop-in affair, no cost and no need to register.
At a glance | July 2021 events

The Courier-Herald is excited to bring back our monthly “At A Glance”… Continue reading

Rajiv Nagaich is an elder law attorney, author, adjunct law school professor, and retirement planning visionary who has achieved national recognition for his cutting-edge work with retirees and his contributions to the practice of elder law. He is the founder of two firms based in Federal Way: Life Point Law, an elder law and estate planning firm, and AgingOptions, a firm that provides retirement-related education to consumers and professionals.
You probably won’t die in your sleep | Senior Lifestyles

Traditional estate planning is based on notions that are out of sync… Continue reading

2021 Lexus IS350 AWD F-Sport
Car review: 2021 Lexus IS350 AWD F-Sport

By Larry Lark, contributor When it comes to manufacturing compact luxury sports… Continue reading

2021 Mercedes-AMG E 63 S
Car review: 2021 Mercedes AMG E63 S sedan

By Larry Lark, contributor The latest incarnation of the Mercedes AMG E63… Continue reading

2021 Mazda3 Premium Plus
Car review: 2021 Mazda3 Premium Plus

By Larry Lark, contributor The Mazda3 has always looked the part of… Continue reading

2021 Toyota 4Runner 4x4 Trail Special Edition
Car review: 2021 Toyota 4Runner 4×4 Trail Special Edition

By Larry Lark, contributor If the great outdoors is your playground, it… Continue reading

Image courtesy Public Health Insider
Taking an upstream approach to preventing LGBTQ youth cannabis use | Public Health Insider

LGBTQ youth report the highest rates of marijuana use in King County.

Kathie Nguyen embraces Eileen & Callie's Place founder Dr. Natalie Ellington. Celebrate 18!, hosted on July 13, 2019, was also the day of Ellington's birthday. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo
Nonprofit to host birthday party for girls aging out of the foster care system

Eileen & Callie’s Place is hosting Celebrate 18!, a celebration and resource event, Saturday, July 17.

The Blues Brothers was one of the acts to grace the Buckley Concert Series in 2019. The 2020 concert series was canceled due to the pandemic. This year, the Blues Brothers will not be making an appearance during the series. Photo by Kevin Hanson
Free and outdoors, summer concerts set for Enumclaw, Buckley

Rock n’ roll, blues, jazz and more coming July, August

Image courtesy Public Health Insider
Supporting survivors of domestic violence during COVID-19 | Public Health Insider

DV-related homicides in King County nearly doubled in 2020, as compared to 2018 and 2019.

This scooter, along with other prizes, could be yours if you donate to Bloodworks Northwest this summer.
Donate blood, win an electric scooter, sports memorabilia

Regional non-profit Bloodworks Northwest faces a shortage of blood donations