Tuesday, January 25, 2011

ABC Wednesday - B is for Brunnera

ABC Wednesday is a fun meme. You might enjoy participating, and/or you might enjoy visiting the posts by those who are participating! Either way, click on the logo to transport to the list of posts.

Brunnera macrophylla,
part of the family which includes Forget-me-not,
is an herbaceous perennial.
I have tried growing Forget-me-not several times with very limited success. Last Spring, finally, the plant had many beautiful, tiny blue blossoms. It's these blossoms that reveal the family link to

Heartleaf Brunnera.
Heartleaf Brunnera is also called Siberian Bugloss. It is a native of Siberia,
which explains its ease in growing in zone 3 areas. Meaning it grows
very handily here in my zone 5a garden.

Photo below taken 4/12/10:
top left - 'Jack Frost' Brunnera; center - Heartleaf Brunnera

photo taken 4/19/09

Heartleaf Brunnera thrives in moist soil and shade or partial sun.
Hence, you will find this plant and two cultivars in my very shady gardens!

photo taken 4/19/09

Healthy green leaves and very early blossoms make this plant a welcome sight in the early Spring garden! It grows about 12 to 18" high, and bushy, as it matures. Heartleaf seedlings began appearing throughout the garden after the first two years. The foliage is a nice addition to the shade garden, and it's wonderful to be able to share such a hardy, enjoyable plant.

photo taken 4/17/08


I've read that a tired-looking, Fall plant can be cut back to the ground, IF you reliably keep the plant watered as the new foliage appears.

'Jack Frost'
is a cultivar with silver leaves.




4/26/09 - close-up!


(Are you able to tell that we experienced a very warm, very early Spring this past year? Just see how lush and green things are at the end of April!)


'Looking Glass'
(newly planted, April 16, 2009 - it was also a Warm Spring!)
You can tell that 'Looking Glass' leaves are completely silver colored.

The two photo below was taken 5/4/09.


Hint #1: If you see something very green and "mature" very early in your garden, do not (repeat: Do NOT) succumb to suspecting "Weed!" and pulling it out! Take a good look at the plant... give it time... because you will be rewarded! :-)

Hint #2: If you deadhead the spent flowers and stalks, you will be rewarded with a second flowering.

I hope you enjoyed your peek into my shady backyard! Have a great day!
---Shady Gardener


VW said...

I love the way bunnera leaves sparkle, but my 'Jack Frost' has gotten smaller since I planted it. It's in full shade and probably needs a bit of morning sun, or maybe it will get its roots established and do better this season, but I'm not adding any more until I see if this one perks up! Your photos are lovely.

Sylvia K said...

Such lovely photos and a really interesting post for the B Day! Beautiful flowers, wonderful color! Have a great week!

ABC Team

photowannabe said...

Oh, I love Forget me Nots. They are so tiny and delicate looking. Thanks for all the info on growing them.

Shady Gardener said...

VW, My 'Looking Glass' seems to be a little more "needy." I wonder if I kept it moist enough? I'll monitor it this year. I do know it hasn't been as vigorous as the other two. Good luck on yours! The original Heartleaf B is very sturdy!

Hi Sylvia K, I appreciate your visit and comments. You are busy people - checking all the posts each week! Thanks for continuing the meme, though.

Anna said...

A favourite of mine too and funnily enough I nearly chose it for B too :) Mine are looking rather forlorn at the moment but oh what beauties they are when they are in full flush.

Shady Gardener said...

Thanks for your visit photowannabe and Anna. We're currently under inches of snow and don't plan to have anything growing for a couple of months or so, yet. But the photos and the trip down memory lane were worth it, though! :-)

Tumblewords: said...

How exciting to see those first green leaves poking though the snow-free ground. Great shots - particularly like the macro.

Wanda said...

What delicate flowers, and so many different leaves. I learned a lot visiting your blog today.

Good choice for B.

Roger Owen Green said...

I'm impressed w anyone who can grow anything. not my strength; sad since my last name is green!

ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Shady Gardener said...

Tumblewords, It is always a thrill - and I'll be watching again this Spring! :-)

Wanda, I'm glad you enjoyed your visit!

Roger, You've mentioned this before... perhaps you're not a gardener, but you ARE 'Green' which is a good thing, these days! ;-)

Vernz said...

such a fragile looking plant... lovely blooms too..
ABC Wed Here

Rose said...

I added a 'Jack Frost' to my shade garden a year ago, and I absolutely love it! Those silver leaves and clusters of tiny blue blooms really stand out among the green hostas and ferns. I didn't know you should deadhead them, though--thanks for the tip!

What a great idea to have the schoolkids do some winter sowing--hope their seed sprouting experiment is very successful.

Shady Gardener said...

Thanks for visiting Vernz. It does look fragile, but it's nice to be able to relate that it's much more sturdy than it looks.

Hi Rose, I really like it, too! Do you get into a classroom at all? It's pretty far between visits for me, so I really enjoyed myself the other day! :-)

joey said...

B is for beautiful, Shady! I love this dear flower ...

MrBrownThumb said...

I've never grown this before! I love the leaf shape and color. I'll have to look out for it this year at the garden centers.

chubskulit said...


B for Broken Plate, come and see.

Gattina said...

I like the little blue flowers, but I am very bad in flower names !
ABC team

Rosemary said...

Shady love these photos Jack Frost is a fav.

Carolyn @ Carolyn's Shade Gardens said...

Brunnera are some of my favorite plants, and they are so tough in my dry shade conditions. Love the ones you highlighted; have you tried 'Dawson's White/Variegata' (I think they are the same plant)? Beautiful cream and green variegated leaves. This year I am going to try 'Diane's Gold' with gold leaves.

Darla said...

it does look very much like the Foret me Knots...very cheery. I"m pulling for an early Spring this year as well..

Kay L. Davies said...

Brunnera - very pretty - I should try that under my big trees. We're Zone 3, also, but the climate is dry, with lots of sun and terribly hot summers.
Thanks for the photos, I enjoyed peeking in!
-- K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

ShySongbird said...

Hi Shady, its good to be visiting you again and enjoying your interesting posts :)

Every year I see Brunnera Jack Frost on blogs and think I really should get some, they are so pretty! Your early mention has prompted me to make a note to definitely plant some this time. I do have Forget-Me-Nots, they pretty well take over the borders in Spring, I love them!

Shady Gardener said...

Hi Joey, I love it too... it seems that I don't have to do anything and it thrives and blooms almost all summer! :-)

MBT, You will definitely have to try this flower. It's a winner.

chubskulit, thank you for your visit today. I'll have to head over to your post!

Gattina, It's definitely okay to use just the common name!

Hi Rosemary, :-)

Carolyn, Are the variegated varieties as hardy? They're very tempting.

Hi Darla, I'm with you! :-)

Hi Kay, Thanks for your visit. It sounds as though you should be able to grow these sweet flowers.

Shy, If you can grow Forget-me-nots, then these sould be very easy for you! Thanks for your visit! :-)

PatioPatch said...

What a treat to revisit one of my all time fave Spring flowers. Have 'Jack Frost' but the plants still not very bushy after 2 years. Longing to see the beautiful blue blooms again.

troutbirder said...

Somehow they vaguely remind me of "Forget Me Nots." In any case my luck with these plants is zilch. Soil? Too shady to dry. I don't know what. Oh well....

Patsi said...

Loving your jackfrost and the forget me not looking little flowers.
Hey, that's what I was missing last year...'forget me nots'.

George said...

I tried to grow forget-me-not several times without success. Then out of nowhere, I had a volunteer!! Since that time, the population has expanded tremendously. It does well in spring and fall, but can die back severely in a hot dry summer. Please stop in to my new blog at: http://fromseedtoscrumptious.blogspot.com Keep growing, George

Shady Gardener said...

Hi Laura, My 'Jack Frost' took longer to get bushy than Heartleaf. It will be very good to see the flowers again. :-)

Hi troutbirder, I cannot tell you what the problem might be. I doubt it's too shady, but mine are located on a downslope... so perhaps that helps them in the moisture area.

Patsi, Do you usually see forget-me-nots? I'm not successful with them and last year was the first time I was able to grow pulmonaria for a second year in a row! ha.

Hi George, welcome to blogging! I did take a quick peek at your new blog... but didn't have time to comment. I'll return. It's fun to see that you have things started beneath cold frames! Zone 7! :-)

shirl said...

Ah Shady... Brunnera is one of my garden favs. I too have a partially shady back garden and have the variety Jack Frost. I love that one and I agree completely about your advice on considering weeds. My plant at the moment is wet, soggy stems and looks a mess... but soon :-D

Shady Gardener said...

Hi Shirl, I remember your shady yard... and I really like that so many of us share the same plants. It makes seeking advice so much easier! :-) You are fortunate to be seeing yours already. Just a couple of months longer, here... (!)