Evergreen perennials with foliage which turns bronzy or red in winter have a useful part to play in the herbaceous border, providing colour when all around them everything is dead or bare. Tiarella fulfils this role and has the added advantage of revelling in partial shade. In early summer the spikes of small frothyappear – hence the common name. There is nothing imposing about Tiarella – it is a dainty ground cover or edging plant for the front of the border.
VARIETIES: The most popular species is T. cordifolia – height 8 in., spacing 1.5 ft.
Flowering period: May-June. The tiny flowers are white and star-like, and the large lobedturn bronze in winter. It spreads quite rapidly and so is a good choice if you want a carpeting evergreen. T. wherryi (height 1 ft. Spacing 1 ft.
Flowering period: June-September) grows in tufts and is not invasive like its more widely-grown relative. The flowers are tinged with pink and the leaves turn reddish in winter. T. polyphylla is rather similar but taller, with flowering spikes growing 1-2 ft high.
SITE AND SOIL: Any moisture-retentive garden soil will do – thrives best in partial shade.
PROPAGATION: Divide clumps in autumn or spring – T wherryi should be raised fromsown under glass in March.