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Graham Rice

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

Tough new heucheras

Posted by Graham Rice on 12 Jul 2008 at 06:09 AM

In recent years what seems like floods of heucheras have appeared in nurseries. These fine foliage plants for the front of the border and for containers provide colour in a wide range of unique shades. Many are good, a few, it has to be said are, not good at all - and a few are simply superb.

After the initial torrent, I think gardeners became a little jaded but a new series from France has fired up everyone's enthusiasm again. And many featured on the stand from Plantagogo. This is perhaps not a name which endears itself to RHS traditionalists, but as the plants look so good here at the Show I'm sure even the stuffiest of old-timers will be tempted? And on their exhibit two impressive new introductions from two of the world's leading creators of new Heuchera varieties caught my eye.

From France's Thierry Delabroye comes ‘Tiramisu', a variety in the new style which as foliage plant enthusiasts - and everyone else - talking. The prettily lobed foliage opens in chartreuse yellow with a light network of brick red veins. Then as the season develops the red colouring fades and the foliage takes on an overlay of silver. Finally, in the autumn, those brick red tones reappear.

Unlike many varieties, those from Thierry Delabroye including the yellow ‘Citronelle', chocolatey ‘Mocha', coppery ‘Caramel' and ‘Pistache' in pistachio green, have blood of Heuchera villosa which brings two great benefits: genuine reliance to weather of all kinds and, as the plants mature, increasingly large leaves which can be up to 15cm across.

Also on the Plantagogo stand, from Dan Heims of Oregon, and so new it's not in the RHS Plant Finder and never before seen in Britain, is ‘Blackberry Jam', in silvery mauve with charcoal veins and blackberry undersides to the leaves. (Note that both these creators of new heucheras give their plants foodie names!)

I asked Vicky Fox of Plantagogo to recommend other good recent heuchera introductions from their list of 57 different varieties. "'Paris' flowers all summer," she told me, "with long lasting deep pink flowers. ‘Midnight Rose' with hot pink polka dots on deep red foliage is good in the garden and ‘marmalade', is a top seller with ruffled pink new leaves turning orange then sienna brown. And all of Thierry's varieties of course, we love them."

I've grown some of those from Thierry Delabroye - and they really are superb... ‘Citronelle' in particular. And i would add 'Rave On' to their list.

For more on these heucheras click here.




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