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How to keep colour in your garden all year round

Heuchera Marmalade in May making an excellent partnership with bluebells.
Heuchera Marmalade in May making an excellent partnership with bluebells.

Beginner gardeners – if you want colour all year round, you don’t have to rely on flowers – go for Heuchera and their relatives.

These little plants will put up with a fair amount of shade, provide excellent ground cover, smother weeds and their evergreen leaves keep on going even in the harshest of winters.

Plant them straight into the garden to knit together to provide interest under roses and shrubs and they make excellent container plants too.

Tidy up old leaves in spring and give them a general fertiliser such as Growmore and they’re good to go.

There are hundreds of varieties on offer, ranging from bright lime and gold through reds, purples and nearly black, all with delicate flowers.

Heuchera have the most vivid colours, with a maple-shaped leaf, which can be ruffled or veined, while Tiarella have lobed or heart-shaped foliage, mainly green with maroon markings. Heucherella are a cross between the two.

Here are my favourites – all Heuchera apart from one:

Forever Red: Vivid red foliage with pink flowers in summer, sun or partial shade, 20cm x 35cm.

Zipper: Ruffled leaves in orange and amber with white flowers in summer and autumn, sun or partial shade, 20cm x 30cm.

Lime Marmalade: Frilly lime-green foliage with white flowers May-July. Light shade, 25cm x 40cm.

Metallica: Marbled and veined leaves in mahogany, bronze, aluminium and silver, pale pink summer flowers. Partial shade, 30cm x 30cm.

Heucherella Solar Power: Deep red markings on lobed leaves of yellow-gold forming a spreading mound. Great for a container in shade/partial shade, white flowers, 25cm x 35cm.

Midnight Rose: Pink ‘spotting’ covers the dark plum foliage in spring, partial shade or full sun, cream flowers, 30cm x 40cm.

Silver Blush: Shiny silver foliage on a dark background, pink flowers in summer, part shade, shade, 35cm x 35cm.

Plum Pudding: Lobed, deep beetroot-purple foliage dusted with silvery-grey, white flowers, sun-partial shade, 20cm x 35cm.

Marmalade: Ruffled leaves with pink new growth turning to peach then dark orange, with a rich pink underside, cream flowers, 30cm x 40cm.

Obsidian: Lobed, glossy leaves, reddish-black in spring, darkening to near-black, cream flowers, partial shade, 25cm x 40cm.

Paprika: Large orange leave with a rose tint in spring, changing to bright orange in summer, deepens to burgundy in autumn, white flowers in spring, sun-shade, 20cm x 40cm.

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