Indian Rhubarb is an unusual dramatic foliage perennial which also has attractive pink flower clusters in April. The delicate flower clusters emerge on hairy stems before the leaves emerge, and are retained for a long period. The round lobe leaves are very large and broad, and have been likened to inside-out umbrellas. Darmera peltata has a thick rhizomaceous root system, and since it thrives in very wet sites, it works well as a stream stabilizer. The fall color of the foliage is often red. This is one of Jerry Fritz's favorite plants for its dramatic appeal. Umbrella Plant is a West Coast native. It will tolerate full sun if planted in a wet site.
Cooper Hardy Ice Plant has magenta flowers over silvery evergreen succulent foliage. Delosperma cooperi needs full sun and a dry site. We are impresses with its cold hardiness in our display beds, and it blooms throughout the summer starting in late June into fall.
Fire Spinner™ Ice Plant has truly amazing flowers, with multiple flat petals that start orange at the outer edges and end up magenta at the base. Starting in early June, Fire Spinner™ blooms for a month on every sunny day over the attractive fleshy green succulent foliage. Found at high altitudes in southern South Africa, Delosperma dyeri Fire Spinner™ was brought to the US by Panayoti Kelaidis of the Denver Botanic Garden. Rock gardens and green roofs are great places to use this eye opener.
Tall Blue Larkspur is a Delphinium that actually thrives on the East Coast! This native woodland plant blooms in mid summer, with tall spikes of deep bluish purple flowers which are an important source of nectar for hummingbirds. Rich, well drained soil and partial shade are what Delphinium exaltatum likes best, and deer will leave it alone.
'Firewitch' ('Feuerhexe') Cheddar Pinks has shocking pink fragrant flowers, low growing blue foliage, and is an excellent repeat bloomer. The fragrance is wonderful, like so many of the Carnation family. 2006 Perennial Plant of the Year.
Fringed Bleeding Heart combines pink heart-shaped pendant flowers held on arching stems with attractive dissected gray green leaves. Dicentra eximia starts flowering in late spring and continues blooming well into the summer, especially if the weather is cool. The ferny foliage is attractive all summer, unlike Dicentra spectabilis. Under moist conditions Fringed Bleeding Heart will often rebloom into late summer, especially if deadheaded. It grows best in well drained shady locations. Visited by hummingbirds and long tongued native bees.
The pink and white flowers of Bleeding Heart have a long bloom period in late spring. Foliage fades away by late summer. This is the classic Bleeding Heart we all remember from our childhoods. New name is Lamprocapnos spectabilis.
White Bleeding Heart has white flowers for a long bloom period in late spring. The large pendant flowering stems light up shade gardens beautifully. Foliage fades away by late summer. New name is Lamprocapnos spectabilis 'Alba'.
'Gold Heart' Bleeding Heart has the classic pink and white heart-shaped pendant flowers, but they hang from pink stems which rise from electric yellow foliage in the spring. The leaves light up the shade garden beautifully. By mid summer the foliage matures to chartreuse green. Introduced by Nori Pope of England.
PRN Preferred: The contrast between the classic pink and white flowers and the vivid chartreuse foliage in spring is really amazing.
‘Ruby Gold’ Bleeding Heart has the beautiful yellow foliage of Dicentra ‘Gold Heart,’ but the plant is topped by red “bleeding heart” flowers on reddish stems in late spring. Dicentra spectabilis ‘Ruby Gold’ needs shady sites with reliable moisture and good drainage. All Dicentra spectabilis cultivars tend to go dormant in the hot summers, but the foliage will sometimes reemerge as the weather cools down. The new name is Lamprocapnos spectabilis ‘Ruby Gold.’
‘White Gold’ Bleeding Hearts combines the vivid yellow foliage of Dicentra ‘Gold Heart’ with the classic pendant heart-shaped flowers, in white. Dicentra spectabilis ‘White Gold’ appeared as a spontaneous seedling in the garden of Margaret Dalton in New York. It is an excellent addition to spring shade gardens, as the combination of chartreuse foliage and arching stems of white flowers in April and May really light up the landscape. Like other Dicentra spectabilis cultivars, the foliage of ‘White Gold’ tends to become dormant in hot weather. New name is Lamprocapnos.
'Burning Hearts' Fringed Bleeding Heart has very deep colored flowers, with dark rosy red hanging hearts that have a lovely white edge to the petals. The foliage is a delicate, lacy grayish blue and persists all summer, as does the bloom period which begins in May. Dicentra x 'Burning Hearts' performs best in moist but well drained shade.
'King of Hearts' Fringed Bleeding Heart has red flowers in May over attractive bluish green foliage. It blooms for a long period, and has a neat compact habit. Prefers a well-drained site.
'Luxuriant' Bleeding Heart has cherry red flowers in late spring over green lacy foliage. It reblooms well throughout the summer, and does best in a site with good drainage.
PRN Preferred: This Bleeding Heart blooms almost all summer, and the lacy green foliage is vigorous and long lasting.
Gas Plant is a beautiful long-lived perennial for well-drained sites; sporting many showy, mauve pink flowers on tall spikes in June for an extended show. Dictamnus is slow to become established, but once started it becomes a large mound which puts out increasing numbers of flower-topped shoots every year. It has zero tolerance for transplanting, so pick your site well. The common name refers to the theory that it contains enough volatile oils to be lit by matches; but, as Dr. Alan Armitage so eloquently comments, this is not an achievable activity.