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Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

See website, design work and favorite flowering plants at  gardengurumontreal.ca

Consultation and coaching for do-it-yourselfers is provided. Occasional emailed questions are welcome and answered free of charge. Oui, je parle francais.

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Entries in Tiarella (1)

Wednesday
Jun012011

Puny Perennial Packs Powerful Punch

When can a very short, pale flower make us stop for a second glance? When that plant is Tiarella Spring Symphony!

It didn’t take much convincing to add it to my shopping cart when I first saw it in bloom at the nursery. Although, the fragrant flowers eventually paled in my sundrenched garden, it added needed color and gentle foaming bottle - brush texture at the beginning the season when most other perennials are not yet ready to bloom. When moved to a shadier spot, the pale spikes were transformed into glowing baby pink candles. Another striking feature is its multi lobed olive foliage painted black along its mid ribs. The visual detail of this plant when it is not in bloom is dramatic.

A bonus is the fact that Tiarella Spring Symphony flowers longer than most other plants. Although it is sold as a spring perennial, its initial bloom period can span an entire month and, if deadheaded, it may continue to re bloom until August. This is of enormous significance to flower bed designers.

In my test garden, the plant has proven to be a very reliable work horse in spite of its diminutive size. The foliage mounds up to only 6 inches in height while the flowering spikes add another 10 inches. The plant has stood up to excessive heat, blazing sun, and very cold winters. I have even planted it in dryish soil that was totally inappropriate and it didn't complain. Best yet, T. Spring Symphony, also recommended as a ground cover, doesn’t spread. This variety of Tiarella is neat and compact. Each mature mound will displace only 10 inches in diameter. For that reason, some gardeners prefer to plant Spring Symphony is compositions of three. When I used it in a collage, I planted only one but made certain to repeat it three times across the span of my design.

Adding this plant to a shade garden composition is like turning on a lamp in a dark room. I can only imagine how it will perform if used as ground cover.