The Heuchera Caramel (Caramel Coral Bell) was on my list to add a couple years ago since it has such stunning color. I could not wait to add more texture and color to the hostas and ferns in my shade garden. I am usually reluctant to add new cultivars because I have found that sometimes new cultivars are so finicky that they do not perform as well in my red Virginia clay/soil.
The Heuchera Purple Palace is sometimes a semi evergreen perennial here in zone 7 so I was hoping that along with the standard Purple Palace and Plum Pudding, that the Caramel, Dale’s Strain, and one other (the name escapes me right now because it is still recovering from the harsh winter) would prove to be semi evergreen as well with a couple of my ferns in the shade garden. Both of the Coral Bells survived and remained evergreen for most of the winter until it hit 9 degrees and then it declined about 50%. That is okay because once the weather changed in March it perked right back up and looks magnificent.
Many Coral Bells (common name) will tolerate sun; but in zone 7, I find that they do not tolerate noon day sun. The Coral Bells seem to love to receive morning or late afternoon sun. My Shade garden pictured receives shade with some dapple sun light throughout the day-never intense sun. These beauties really pop out in the shade garden and add some POP amongst my many Hostas, ferns, Astilbe and many other shade plants.
If I try a new plant in my gardens, I buy one and see how it does for the year. If it thrives and does well, then the next year I may add more. I have also been known to move plants throughout the summer to find the perfect spot for a plant that may be over performing (or under performing). Plant tags are only a guide and an average to what a plant may or may not do in your zone and area. In my zone of 7, I always add a foot for perennials and up to a couple feet for shrubs. It took me a couple seasons to figure that out when I moved from zone 5 to zone 7 and realized that one of my favorite hosta expands to double what it did in IL! That is okay because each spring (or even during the summer) I divide and fill in holes or put in pots to add to my naturescaping.
Gardening is a gamble. why? because you may or may not find a plant that performs to your expectations. Sometimes you have to try “on” a lot of different plants before you find a fit (just like your favorite shoes or pair of jeans). Gardening is all about the passion and a little about the rules. I threw out all those gardening rules a long time ago when I moved under the canopy of 50+ foot Oaks and a yard that was barren and sterile. Now I have a lush lawn, gorgeous beds filled with all my rescues, and a haven for wildlife and my fur children. Mother nature rules and I find you need to work with her and not those experts who keep writing books telling you to amend the soil or how you cannot grow that because of this…
I garden because I enjoy the outcome of my work and the sheer enjoyment of rescuing otherwise discarded or neglected plants. It helps that I have a special gift from God that lets me bring life and helps me create beautiful naturescapes for me as well as others. I love all things beautiful and blooming. Gardening is food for the soul and everyone should try it.
happy gardening and remember “gardening has no rules”
Creating. Inspiring. Gardening without the rules!
2014/2015 copyrighted material C Renee Fuller @ The Garden Frog Boutique