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GROWING GREEN: Perennial favourites

Of the many perennials residing in my garden, five stand out as definite keepers. These favourites have been returning reliably year after year and grow trouble-free with little interference or effort on my part. Plus, they look great all season, require no staking and, touch wood, appear to be bunny-proof.
1. Dictamus albus ‘Rosea’ (Gas Plant): From its showy spikes of star shaped pink flowers with burgundy veins followed by interesting seed heads, it’s a winner. Dictamus has glossy, dark green foliage and grows to to three feet high. It forms a neat clump which grows best in full sun and well-drained soil. Note: Some people may react to the oil in the foliage, so wear gloves when handling the plant, especially on sunny days.
2. Kirengeshoma palmata (Yellow.Waxbells): This plant has exotic-looking, maple-shaped leaves and grows 36 to 48 inches on sturdy stalks. The tubular yellow flowers brighten up a woodland setting in late summer. It grows well in semi shade and a rich, moist woodland soil.
3. Aruncus aethusifolius (Dwarf Goat’s Beard): This little gem is a great addition to the front of a border or rockery. It forms a low mound of ferny foliage with creamy white astilbe-like spikes in June. Aruncus prefers rich, moist soil in shade or semi shade.
4. Anthyrium niponicum ‘Pictum’ (Japanese Painted Fern): This loveliest of ferns grows in sturdy low clumps of arching fronds. Its olive-green foliage, highlighted with silver, sparkles in the semi-shade settings it prefers.
5. Hosta ‘Halcyon’: The thick blue green leaves of this hosta are slug resistant and over time form a dense mound in the garden. Mine are thriving in a bed they share with blueberry bushes, a dwarf fothergilla, hydrangeas, bleeding hearts and columbines.
So, if you have a bare spot here or there in the garden one of my favourites might be worth a try.
Growing Green is a regular feature prepared by the  Mount Hamilton Horticultural Society ( Helen MacPherson, vice-president, wrote this report.

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