By Dan Heims, president, Terra Nova Nurseries
Photographs courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries
Are you looking for plants to put in your garden that say, “I love you,” for Valentine’s Day? With Terra Nova Nurseries, no need to look any further! There are a few ‘Adorable’ ‘Sweet Tarts’ from Terra Nova that ‘Flirt’ with the gardener, and add a little ‘Sugar and Spice’ to any landscape. That’s ‘Amore Rose’! Pardon the puns, but Terra Nova Nurseries believes any gardener desiring the aforementioned criteria should consider a set of five aptly named plants. The following plants are perennials, hardy to at least U.S.D.A. Hardiness Zone 5 and are time-proven in Terra Nova’s planting beds and gardens.
There has become quite a market for millennial consumers looking for plants that are “cute.” Terra Nova’s introduction, Leucanthemum 'Adorable', fits the mold with large, white, shredded flowers over a cute (there it is!) habit. Totally adorable would accurately describe the plant as well! Heuchera LITTLE CUTIES ‘Sweet Tart’ has been referred to as “cute” too, with its many small and attractive lime-chartreuse leaves and petite pink flowers. It is one of the earliest of all Terra Nova’s heuchera to bloom and rebloom. Bergenia ‘Flirt’ combines a medium compact habit with scads of exceedingly early magenta flowers in spring. This variety is important for the early pollinator’s food supply. Tiarella ‘Sugar and Spice’ is in this author’s top-five tiarella, with its well-marked and shiny cut foliage. As a clump forms, the flowers are bountiful, with color shades from pink to white. Dicentra ‘Amore Rose’ is spellbinding with dark rose flowers even in the heat of July.
Petite foliage and oversized flowers quickly sum up this new bergenia that any gardener will cherish. Bergenia 'Flirt' has tailored upright leaves on an erect but compact clump. A one-year-old plant of Bergenia 'Flirt' had over thirty flower spikes in the spring! It features gorgeous fall and winter color, and it is super easy to grow. Terra Nova’s testing team has seen it thrive in wet and dry soils and the plant appears to be quite long-lived. Early flowers in March are a draw for overwintering hummingbirds and early emerging pollinators. Plants are only 6” tall and spread to 10” the first year. It takes partial shade to full sun in the Pacific Northwest. Bergenia ‘Flirt’ is hardy in zones 4-9.
Billowy mounds of bright rose-pink flowers crowd over the lacy blue-green foliage to greet you in the garden. Vigorous and very hardy, Dicentra 'Amore Rose' will please everyone with its abundant flowers that bloom through the heat of the summer. Hardy to zones 5-9, this winner will bloom from May through August. These do well in the rock garden as they have roots in the mountains of Japan. They produce so many flowers with so little effort! When planted in a combination planter, you will see that Dicentra ‘Amore Rose’ is not aggressive like Dicentra formosa. Its petite size and lacy foliage mix well with bolder foliage. Its height and spread are 9” by 14”.
Very tangy, lime colored foliage in a tight mound – hence the “tart” in Heuchera LITTLE CUTIES 'Sweet Tart'. The “sweet” aspect of this perennial is its amazing bi-colored cerise and hot pink colored flowers held on dark stems in wand-like clusters. This plant’s breeding imbues drought-tolerance, cold-tolerance in zone 4, and attractive flowers from a compact mountain-growing parent. This miniature gem (only 5” tall by 8” wide) blooms all spring, summer and fall. It is great for combination planters, rock gardens and as the perfect gift plant! Combine with dark-foliage plants like Terra Nova’s Bergenia for a killer-cute combo. Part of the LITTLE CUTIES line of reblooming coral bells.
So cute and vigorous! Leucanthemum 'Adorable' is just that, adorable. It has a small, compact habit with massive quantities of large, semi-double, white Shasta daisies. Use it for borders, in a large container or as an edging at the front of the border. Dimensions are 10” tall (17” in bloom) and it will spread to 14” in a single season. Shastas are long lived if divided every few years, and they are easy to grow. Despite their age, they produce no wet-dog smell like some of the older varieties. Leucanthemum 'Adorable’ is hardy to zones 5-9, and the cool-white flowers are refreshing in the hot months of summer. In the Pacific Northwest they will bloom from June through August.
Dramatic, lacy leaves with painted, heavily marked centers are seen from summer to winter with Tiarella ‘Sugar and Spice’. Its lightly fragrant, spring flowers are uniquely “frosted with pink and with a white interior,” says Ken Brown, one of Terra Nova’s owners and the man who gets things done. The plant’s shiny leaves appear to be lacquered and look fabulous all year at Terra Nova Nurseries. This clumper gets a #1 status! Blooms appear for Tiarella 'Sugar and Spice' in May and June, and it is a plant for shade or partial shade. It is hardy to zones 4-9. Give this plant a try in an early-spring combination planter with bulbs, Carex and primroses. Ooh la la!
Dan Heims is a published author of two books and lectures around the world. In 2003 he won the Reginald Cory Memorial Cup from the Royal Horticultural Society. He was awarded the Award of Merit by the Perennial Plant Association in 2019, and the Luther Burbank Award by the American Horticultural Society in 2020.
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