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Noon Edition

Waves In The Shade


Farfugium japonicum ‘Wavy Gravy’. (Sue Taylor,

I love names that rhyme so I am hot on the trail of a new cultivar I read about called Farfugium japonicum ‘Wavy Gravy’. It strikes me as even more alluring than the Hydrangea I love called ‘Pinky Winky’.

The catalog describes the foliage as “frazzled,” and the picture shows curled-looking, light green leaves that are a bit like kale. It grows in the shade zones 7-11, which means I can’t grow it in my Midwest garden, though I could send it to someone as a gift.

It grows 24 inches tall and blooms in the fall and the blooms are yellow. That’s all I know, but I am besotted by the name…imagining having a plant named WAVY GRAVY!

Plants that do bloom well in the shade in my Midwest garden are my tall, sterile white-flowering Rose of Sharon ‘Princess Diana,’ in the fall and low-growing epimediums in the spring. If you enjoy red, ‘Rubrum’ is good. Epimediums, once established, will thrive as a vigorous groundcover even in dry shade, and they bloom early.

Of course, no gardener ever has enough of the very early blooming hellebores. So many new ones have been developed with fanciful names that seduce. Who could resist, for example, ‘Wedding Ruffles’, ‘Love Bug’, and ‘Ice N’ Roses’, which has red, glorious wine-colored blooms on a compact plant?

Dryopteris ferns with orange/red, copper/pink, and golden/yellow fronds are also available to add color in shade gardens.

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