Brunnera ‘Queen of Hearts’ and ‘Jack of Diamonds’ Brunnera, commonly called Siberian Bugloss, is a spectacular perennial for shade gardens. ‘Jack Frost’ is probably the best known, thanks to its being awarded the 2012 Perennial of the Year. I have trialed many cultivars over the years but the most recent ‘trialees’ left me gasping! ‘Queen of Hearts’ and ‘Jack of Diamonds’ (pictured right in my garden) have huge, heavily textured, silvery leaves that hold up well in heat and humidity – and this hot summer certainly proved it! The plants have tripled in size since I planted them this spring. Move aside Brunnera ‘Alexander’s Great’. I think of these as medium-sized Hosta – just as easy and tough – but not bothered by deer! Both are hardy in Zones 3 – 8. I took this photo in my garden in early September.
Helianthus salicifolius ‘Autumn Gold’ This neat, compact perennial is quite shrub-like. It has narrow, willow-like leaves on stiff, upright stems. ‘Autumn Gold’ forms a 24” X 24” mound. This native starts blooming in September and brightens the landscape with its cheerful yellow flowers into October. A tough pollinator-friendly, deer resistent alternative to mums! Hardy in Zones 5-10
Heptacodium ‘Temple of Bloom’ This small tree offers four seasons of interest. The show starts subtly in spring as heavily veined leaves emerge, followed by an explosion of small white, fragrant flowers in August and September. This magnificent display is especially appreciated at a time when many gardens look weary. Even showier are the vivid red bracts that appear after its petals drop to the ground. The grand finale is the lovely tan peeling bark that carries the show through the winter months. ‘Temple of Bloom’ prefers sun to part sun and can grow to 6’-10’ tall. It is hardy in Zones 5-9. Pictured below are two photos taken in my garden.