Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog

Beautiful Brunnera

Hello fellow readers,

It’s challenging to talk when your mouth is wide open with a sucking device, dental tools and a set of hands. In fact it can be trying and I wonder if the strategy of encouraging conversation is to keep our mind off their work. Let’s just say I would rather go to the female doctor than the dentist even though blessed with good teeth.

While there I had a lovely chat with Dawn who is not only a gardener she is a gentle dental assistant. Dawn mentioned a favorite plant Brunnera pronounced BRUN-er-ah, with the accent on the first syllable, also known as Siberian Bugloss. In spring it is covered in tiny blue flowers with yellow centers typical of the old-fashioned Forget-me-nots; hence is also called False or Perennial Forget-me-nots.

The delicate flowers are in sprays above the foliage and often stay in bloom for 4 weeks. An outstanding feature is the large, heart-shaped leaves; some solid deep green and others with unique variegation or spotted in silvery-white. Attractive foliage is an essential element in the garden enjoyed throughout the growing season beyond when in flower.

Deer and slugs do not often bother Brunnera (yay), which makes it a wonderful alternative to Hosta and looks fabulous with different textures and leaf shapes such as Hellabores, Iris, Bleeding heart, and Geraniums. Brunnera prefers part to full shade but some varieties can grow in full sun if kept constantly moist. It’s true that the variegated leaves can burn in direct sunlight and plants may go dormant in extreme heat. Use Brunnera in woodland or shade gardens and near ponds. It makes a great ground cover, looks beautiful lining a border or path and is a wonderful choice for containers.

 Brunnera macrophylla is low maintenance but a slow grower; though the flashy foliage and long lasting flowers are well worth the wait! ‘Jack Frost’ is my favorite with large heart-shaped, silver leaves outlined by a web of green veins and does well in sun if kept moist. Other favorite varieties include ‘Langtrees’ with dark green leaves and silvery spotted edges, ‘Hadspen Cream’ with creamy variegation and ‘Looking Glass’ with silver leaves that look almost metallic.

Thanks for our one-way conversation Dawn. Garden chat is always relaxing. Garden dilemmas?

Mary Stone, owner of Stone Associates Landscape Design & Consulting. As a Landscape Designer, I am grateful for the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings which often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired my weekly column published in THE PRESS, 'Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary', began in 2012. I dream of growing the evolving community of readers into an interactive forum to share encouragement and support in Garden and Personal Recoveries - seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected. Thank you for visiting! Mary

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