Perennial Plant of the Year

By Susan Littlefield

Each year the Perennial Plant Association (PPA) chooses an easily grown, widely adapted perennial with multi-season interest as its Perennial Plant of the Year. Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost', the selection for 2012, is truly an outstanding choice.

Also known as Siberian bugloss and false forget-me-not, its broad, heart-shaped leaves are covered with a with frosty silver accented with a tracery of green veins, forming a mound 12-15 inches tall and about 20 inches wide. Rising above the foliage in mid to late spring are sprays of tiny, bright blue, forget-me-not like flowers.

Brunnera does best in a shady spot with fertile, moisture-rententive soil. It makes a lovely spring picture with bleeding heart (Dicentra), which blooms at the same time. Other good shade-loving companions include hostas, ferns, epimediums, heucheras, and hellebores. After the flowers fade, brunnera continues to light up the shade garden with its shimmering leaf color and provides excellent cover for the withering foliage of spring bulbs. The rough texture of brunnera's leaves causes deer to usually pass it by. Adapted to Zones 3-8, brunnera rarely needs division and when well sited, is an excellent choice for a low maintenance garden.

To find out more about Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost' and the Perennial Plant Association, go to: PPA.

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