Inspiring Flora

When a specimen is chosen as Perennial Plant  of the year, you know it’ll be a great addition to your backyard oasis – or for an oasis in the making. The PC Connoisseur Collection Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ features bright silvery-green foliage three seasons and sprouts clusters of delicate brilliant-blue flowers in spring. This hardy perennial thrives in the shade, in the ground or in containers, throughout a wide range of climate conditions, plus it’s relatively pest- and disease-resistant. The rough leaf texture makes it less palatable to browsing deer. In a word – perfect! $15, at selected President’s Choice grocery stores and garden centres.

And for an annual, Judy Shirriff of Canadian Tire, suggests Wasabi coleus, new to Canadian Tire garden centres this year to fill in the blanks that can sometimes appear in the garden after early bloomers are on the wane, but the heat of the summer is ahead of us. “With its textured edges and crisp lime colour, Wasabi is a great addition to the garden,” she says. “I love this plant in beds and containers. It can stand alone, but in a mix it is sensational – it really makes adjacent colours pop.” The chartreuse leaves stay radiant all summer, and coleus are fast-growing and low-maintenance, sun or shade.  $5, at selected Canadian Tire Garden Centres.

For tips on placement and almost anything else you need to know to grow as many as 230 garden varieties, refer to the PlantSwatch. The handy fan-out reference is arranged by foliage or flower colour and includes Plant Hardiness Zone classification, optimal sun, soil and water requirements as well as height, spread and season expectations.  For a chance to win a PlantSwatch, click here. $20, at Lee Valley Tools or