The Perennial Plant Association (PPA) has named Brunner macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ the 2012 Perennial plant of the year. Known by many common names – Siberian bugloss, brunnera, heartleaf brunnera, and false forget-me-not – this hardy beauty for North Dakota and surrounding prairies will be put to good use in many shade gardens this upcoming growing season. While this perennial will thrive in shady locations, it can be used in eastern exposures – morning sun – providing the soil can be kept moist. With that qualification of consistent moisture, the soil ‘Jack Frost’ will be planted in should be high in organic matter and dressed with a generous covering of peat or compost.
Growing to a height of 12 to 15 inches with a spread of 20 inches, this hardy perennial will give multi-season character to the garden and landscape setting. The forget-me-not flowers show up in mid-to –late spring, and are held in clusters several inches above the frosty silver foliage. Because of the rough texture of the foliage, it will be less palatable to browsing deer.
This handsome, mound-forming plant will mix/blend well with other shade garden favorites like hosta, bleeding heart, and ferns. Propagated mostly by tissue culture, ‘Jack Frost’ is a sport of Brunnera macrophylla ‘Langtrees’ and was discovered in a flat of ‘Langtrees’ at Walters Gardens, Inc.in Zeeland, Michigan. From a practical standpoint, the expanding foliage does a pretty good job of hiding ripening bulb foliage.
Ron Smith, Ph.D.
Photo Credit: Walters Gardens, Zeeland, Michigan