Monday, May 12, 2008


What gardener doesn't collect things? In this case plants, all kinds of plants. Or maybe all of the same plant but just different varieties.
Collections of the same plant can be so interesting. Breeding and hybridizing and so on has created tons of varieties of all sorts of plants. To name just a few which come to mind: hostas, irises, daylillies, heucheras, tomatoes, coneflowers, and salvias. I love them all but only have a few 'collections' of plants.

I have several collections, both in and out of the home, but my main plant collection is of heucheras. Heucheras are small evergreen plants which come in all the colors you can imagine. Last fall when I had to rework a rather large and shady garden, I decided to consolidate all of my heucheras. And! I even went a step further and labeled them (at least with the names of the ones I knew). I am pleased with the effect. Ugly steel labels excepted, since they serve a vital function in the garden.
I have a bunch of different varieties of other plants but this is the only collection I can see all at once and enjoy up close and personal as a collection. That is why I call it my 'main' collection. Even a non-gardener can tell it is a collection and I love explaining to people that all of these plants are heucheras.

Unfortunately, plants are not like collecting spoons or knick knacks or whatever, you can't consolidate them and move them around as the whim suits you. Could you imagine trying to display a collection of hostas? Maybe you could plant several varieties together but never all the varieties growing your garden I'll wager. I know I couldn't. That is why heucheras are ideal displayed as a plant collection.

At any rate, consolidating the heucheras, also known as coral bells, has enabled me to see their sometimes subtle differences, and sometimes great differences. One thing I have noted in my garden is that some heucheras winter over better than others. Peach Melba and Amber Waves were both duds in my garden. Whereas all of the purple varieties such as 'Cathedral Bells', 'Regina', 'Prince of Silver', and 'Palace Purple' overwinter wonderfully. I am especially fond of the heucheras which have red blooms. The regular red coral bells and 'Snow Angel' have great blooms. I also like 'Mocha Mint' and 'Vanilla Spice'. Both have done well for me.

Heucheras are easily divided in the fall. In fact, if there is one fault I find with them besides the fact they can look a bit ratty in the heat of summer, is the fact they do need dividing every year or every other year or so. I have found this is very important to the plant as the center of the main heuchera can get very woody and produce less and less and foliage. The bonus of dividing is you get several new and FREE heucheras to add to your collection! I try to mass mine in groups of three, though with my consolidation and dividing marathon last fall, I wound up with some groups of 6, 7, and even more than 10. Quite a collection and happily living together ....

in the garden....


  1. The one you gave me is thriving in the spot I put it! Blooming like crazy too and perks up the area. Funny thing you talking about hosta also as I planted it with hosta… I am now interesting in picking up some more to add to another spot in the garden. That is, if they can take some sunshine...

  2. Skeeter, You are either an early bird or a late bird! I think I gave you Mocha mint and I am so glad it is doing well. You will be able to divide it this fall and get more of it. I like this one very much. It pairs super well with hostas and other shade plants. Some hostas can take sun. The gold and yellow ones do much better than the darker ones and blue ones. Be careful where you are though as it is so hot the hostas would need mostly shade.

    Goodnight finally!

  3. Boy! you guys were up late, avoiding the tornados I suspect. I bought one of these and it never grew, stayed the same size for several years, must need really rich soil. I'm going to try again, then maybe with the hostas, look like they would compilment each other. Nice day today. Later. :?)

  4. I bought some Lily of the Valley to put out by my Hosta and maybe I should get some of these pretty little guys.

    My goodness Tina what were you doing up that late? Has this blog changed your sleep habits?

    I have been working down where Nana had her garden and was in it for a while yesterday and when I got up this morning I pulled a tick
    out of my hair. OMG, it really grossed me out. I have never ever had a tic on me before. We do find them on the dogs some, mostly Jessie. To top it off before I could kill it I lost it in the rug!! Now I don't know if I wanna go back in my bedroom.

    Hope everyone has a great day.

  5. Very cool Tina! I can't wait for mine to spread and divide. Do yours seed new plants much? I have some great places in the back yard to add shade/partial shade plants. I know our 'Palace Purple's will be ready this fall for some division.

  6. I was wondering if the Coral Bells could take some sunshine...?... I had hosta in the area I want to put some Coral Bells. They did fine but the Vole ate the roots! arggg...

    Dawn, It was actually 1:52 Georgia time when I posted my comment! My mom and I got on the phone and chatted for about 3 hours, this after chatting over 2 hours the night before! Boy do we know how to chat... LOL...

    Humidity gone for the day and a nice cool breeze blowing. I like the coolness but the wind is the pits as it has strewn debris all over the yard that the Saint had so pretty Saturday... Sniff...

    Hedge gets my attention today though...

  7. Good morning all-for the second time. I really like heucheras. I wish I could've posted more pics as I have so many. The Palace Purple has come on like gang busters. It is the large area of maroon purple close to the camera in the first pic. If you all want to try these, try a Palace Purple first. They can take some sun but like I said, can get ratty in the summer.

    Dawn, Try it again. Great perennial.

    Mom, It isn't really the blog only. I spend a lot of time on the computer and can sleep late since the Jimster can get himself up and off to school now. I will go back to 'Early to bed, Early to rise' when I get busy again. Relaxing now. Late night is peaceful.

    The tick, now you know how awful it is! I had one in my hair too and happened to go to the hairdressers before showering. She found it and pulled it. Linda at Fantastic Sams is the BEST! The tick will die in the rug. And usually pretty quickly. They are everywhere just waiting for an unwary victim to pass too closely.

    Dave, I am hoping for some seedlings but I haven't noticed any. This is the first year I am starting to get seedlings after many years of growing many perennials, maybe it takes awhile for them to show up? Dividing works best for me though as it is fastest and a comforting to clean the beds out and rework. I don't know why I hate to divide daffys though.

    Skeeter, They can take some sun for sure. I have seen many planted in sun. Not the hot afternoon sun though. Morning sun would be best. Hope you get that long hedge trimmed today. Have fun. It is lovely when trimmed but lots of work! You were up late last night. Very late. And up early this morning too!

  8. Tina,

    The Heuchera is one of my favorite plants, glad you love them and showcased them this morning!


  9. Great post Tina. I am just starting with these plants. I really like the way they look & with the different colors boy what a person could do. I also have put them on the East side of my house with hostas as that is the shadiest. I plan to obtain more as this garden is pretty big {length of house front to back} & can hold quite a few. I also put a couple in pots & sat them on short milk crates. Height, texture & color.

    Skeeter, Tina, sounds as tho you 2 have started my bad habit. Late night hrs don't work.

    Jean, A TICK IN YOUR HAIR. ARGGG.Hope you find it. I too like Lily of the Valley but alas it won't make it down here. Snow Bells is the closest thing. I have that as I brought it from N.C.

    Dawn, it's been rather windy here. Blowing the dirt right off the top. Have to keep it damp to keep it in place. I said this soil down here moves, literally. My shed is sinking. Must find someone to jack it back up & put more blocks under it.

    Dave, won't be long till you have plenty to divide. Patience.

    Hi Gail, hope you are feeling some better. It just takes time.

  10. Yes Tina it is very peacefull late at night. Maybe that is part of the reason I have always been a night owl. But then again, working nights was also a big reason. LOL.

    Tina and Dawn I just came in from where Nana had her garden. I have about a quarter of it done. Done!!
    I want to plant veggies with a few flowers down there. I am telling you I bet I said a million times, "OH Mamma, darn you"!!! The weeds have had no problem growing but very little grass. Since it has not even been mowed for years the weeds and vines were really big. The roots on some of them were huge and OMG, the vines!!!! The roots do not wanna come out as the plant (weed) has come up thru LANDSCAPE FRABIC!!!!!!
    The last time Nana had her garden was in 1986 and that frabic has not degraded at all!!!!! UNREAL!!!!

    Dawn when you come down Sat., if you have time I would love for you to stop at Mardens for me and I will pay you when I see you or I can put a check in the mail. I bought some gloves and only got 2 pair as I did not know if I would like them. I love them, they are the best and only paid $1.59 for them! They are on the front wall with the garden stuff, are blue, longer than regular garden gloves but probably not quite a long as rose gloves. They look like rubber gloves and are lined. If you can stop get me 6 or 8 pairs and 2 more rose bushes. If you can find a yellow and purple I would love that but I did'nt see any Friday. If not just pick a couple out. I will be happy with whatever. Let me know. Also get me a package of Hollyhock seeds. I got a package Friday but I am going to send it to Gail.

  11. Yes, Lola, In my hair. He was not fat so guess he had not latched onto me but it really freaked me out! I just came in abit ago today and I keep checking my hair and body every 5 mintues. Gotta go take a shower. Now I am going to be paranoid about the darn things.

  12. Okay gang, no more tick talk, they give me the heebie jeebies! One jumped on my leg as I was sitting under the arbor, I threw him off and he jumped back on. Yikes. Great choice for a collection, Tina. The heucheras are great plants, but like you say, some are tougher than others. Amber Waves didn't even last a year. But Caramel has been great. I like the red flowered ones too, that seems to be something the breeders are working on. I have had several seedlings come up, but they always are the green, grey ones, not the fancy ones. But they are still nice. Happy belated Mother's Day.

  13. Mom, at this point he may not be playing on Sat. YYEEELLLL. If you still want to meet somewhere in Brun. we can do that and I'd be happy to pick those things up for you. Glad you got a chance at Nanas garden, if Tina doesn't mind, I'd like to do a post on something she enjoyed. Maybe publish in two weeks?

  14. Wow, yet another full day in the yard. Removed all the old pine straw and spread it up on the county right of way to fill in some bare spots. Got half the hedge trimmed. The other half will wait until my arms heal. Sore oh so sore they are from the chopping! LOL.

    I also picked up a huge pile of leaf, twig and debris that had fallen on my fresh pine straw in the garden! Now that really made me mad since they are not our leaves but the neighbors trees.. Oh well, nothing I can do about Mother Natures pruning...

    Once the Saint got home, together, we picked up 6 full wheel barrels of limbs, twigs, pinecones, Sweet gum Balls, etc from the yard, driveway and woods! What a mess we had from that wind yesterday and today! Wind was nice as I worked on hedge though as it kept me nice and cool.

    Gonna be an early to bed night for me tonight...

  15. Wonderful post! Coral bells are wonderful. I have a red one in my old garden that I'd love to transplant over here. So many plans, so little time!

  16. Very nice post Tina --I love my hostas --never even realized there was more than one variety, hahaha you can stop laughing now. They are so pretty and seem to last forever. This year they are even bigger than last year --really fill up the flowerbed in the back. And, that one busy by my other rhododenrons (sp) is bloomed and PINK! I don't think it's the same as the white ones --the leaves look different. The roses are falling over they are so big and open --I am loving it! Oh, we had ball tonight so I better get off here and make sure the bigger two are in bed. Jean I am so sorry about the tick --they freak me out as well. Just thinking about them makes me itchy. ARGH! Night everyone --have a great day --I did get my yard mowed this morning --great day for it --cooler with no wind for a change:)

  17. Hi Gail!

    Lola, The east side of the house with hostas is perfect!

    Mom, As one who tried to help Christine out with Nana's garden a few years ago, my hat is off to you as it was a mess. Those roots were so hard to get out. Good job!

    Hi Frances, Tick talk is yuck but such a part of gardening for me! I am about to apply some kind of tick repellent to kill them. I am a big no insecticide person so I am on the fence. Glad you don't have them so bad. I tried Caramel and it petered out. Such a shame for them.

    Dawn, Just email me about posting and the blog. I'd love to hear something Nana liked in the garden.

    Skeeter, We got bad bad winds here too. Lots of debris. Luckily no damage. Early night for me too. Good job on your yard.

    Cinj, I'd try to grab the coral bell for sure!

    Anonymous, OK, I stopped laughing now. Just kidding. Not knowing hostas come in different colors is pretty common actually. I never even grew them until I moved here 7years ago. I knew of them but didn't grow them. You seem to know alot about gardening and learning all the time. You might need to divide those hostas to make more-free!

    Cold here. Very cold. I composted a ton of perennial sunflowers today. Something I never do but they needed to be thinned. I am potting up some but just couldn't be bothered. If you live close by and would like some, email me. Their latin name is helianthus 'Maximillian' and I have posted on them last fall. ttyl Good night.

  18. Oh no Dawn, sigh. How come he won't play? Are you still going to the game? If so I will also go, if not let me know what time and where to meet. Maybe we can go to Fat Boys. Hey Tina, wanna go to Fat Boys? Wish you were here!!

    As always Skeeter, you sure are busy.

    Anonymous, I think I am done laughing but we all have done things like that with stuff (*see below*). If we can't laugh about it, it would not be as much fun.

    If the leaves are different, are the flowers also a little different? Could be an Azalea.

    Thanks Tina but I can tell you that the darn landscape frabic makes it so hard as it has grown into the earth and the roots are under it as the weed popped a hole to come thru it but the roots do not have a hole around them. It has been a real struggle!! I must be a sight out there trying to yank out the weeds with one hand and my cane in the other hand.

    I used to grow something called coral bells that were campanula (cup and saucer) and oh how I loved them. I had them by the flag pole and I had a bunch of people in town say how pretty they were. *Now it is time to laugh at me cause I am gonna ask if that is the same thing*. I don't think so but gotta find out for sure. Now a of the people that asked about them was a nice lady that used to come from Brunswick to the marina. Mrs. Gibson. Do you girls remember who she is? Hint...Tina you had the mumps and the timing was bad!

  19. Mom, Landscape fabric is a bear for that very reason. It gets all tangled in the plants.

    We talked about your Cup and Saucer last year. I had them on year and they were so unique! Not sure if they will seed somewhere else but that plant died after it flowered. You must indeed be a sight. Put hubby to work too! He can do it easily. I don't remember Mrs. Gibson.

  20. They are a bi-annual Tina. I will wait to see if Dawn remembers before I say who Mrs. Gibson was. You will kick yourself. Thought the hint would make you remember.

  21. Also meant to say that, like the money tree, they will sometimes re-seed on their own. I used to grow both and will have some money tree this year but have trouble finding cup and saucer and that is the one I really love. For the color and the majestic floweres, it is probably my #1 favorite!

  22. I don't remember Mrs Gibson. Zack is on the ineligiable (sp)list for a bad grade in Algebra. The whole class retook a test on the friday he was out, then another test on the 1/2 day after the Monday he was out. The teacher told him to wait, so he did, a WHOLE week. The only other time he could of taken it was thur and when he didn't I told him that would happen. Even though he took them on Mon. once your on it you stay on it for the week, I'm hoping they have to need some of these players, 5 out due to this. They may call him as they called others for football. Test count for 50% in that class.
    I got your seeds and a yellow rose, all out of the lavender. The other I got is a orange, if you want to trade let me know, I've had both and don't mind. I also got you 6 pairs of gloves. We went for the 2 for one fish sale.

  23. Oh great!! Try a pair of the gloves and see if you like them. You may want to get some for yourself as they are great. I can't even remember what colors I got the other day so I will check and see if I want to trade. Don't think I got an orange one and that sounds magnificence!

  24. Mom, I remember you saying they are a biennial that is why I am hoping they seeded themselves around. But I weed almost everything so if they did I might have pulled it. Gotta stop that. Thunderstorm here. Gotta shut down.