Native to North America, Coral Bells (Heuchera ‘Paris’) is a hardy, evergreen perennial forming an attractive, dense mound, measuring about 50 centimetres high and wide.
From spring to autumn, clusters of dainty, rose pink flowers are suspended on fine stalks above scalloped, silvery-green foliage highlighted with dark green veins.
Coral Bells prefers a shady position in organic-enriched, well-draining soil. It looks stunning in rockeries and small gardens or mass planted edging a pathway or as an ornamental groundcover in large spaces.
On a balcony or courtyard, planted in premium grade potting mix in a decorative container, Coral Bells brings year-round appeal with its beautiful foliage.
This perennial is easy to maintain. No pruning is required but to improve its appearance, simply remove older foliage and spent flower stems in late winter and apply some slow release fertilizer.
Top gardening tips for January
• Water plants well on scorching hot days. To retain soil moisture, top up mulch on all garden beds to a depth of five centimetres, keeping it slightly away from plant stems.
• Wear a dust mask when using potting mix to avoid inhaling any particles, wear suitable gloves and wash your hands thoroughly after gardening.
• Raise the height of the lawnmower cutting blade so the grass is a little longer. The extra length of the leaf blade shades the soil and stops it from drying out in hot weather.
• Install a birdbath to attract native birds into your garden and make your outdoor area feel cooler. Refresh the water daily and plant some nectar-rich, flowering native shrubs, such as banksia, grevillea and bottlebrush nearby.
Backyard Beekeeping Workshop: Would you like to harvest your own honey? It’s easy to have a few hives and then let the bees do most of the work for you. Learn everything you need to know about bees, the equipment needed and how much honey you can expect. Find out what other products you can make such as beer, candles, soap and cosmetic creams. Honey tasting and comprehensive notes are provided and places are limited. 10am to 4pm, Sunday, 16 February, Northern Beaches Community College (9970 1000).
Plant PropagationWorkshop: Take home at least 20 free plants from this workshop. Learn the many methods of propagating plants, including cuttings, division, layering, grafting and more. Grow your own perennials, shrubs and trees, including fuchsias, frangipanis, hydrangeas, lavenders, roses, camellias, orchids, maples and more. Comprehensive notes are provided and bookings are essential. 10am to 4pm, Sunday, 1 March, Northern Beaches Community College (9970 000).
Judith Sleijpen is an experienced horticulturist, columnist and garden designer, advising clients on all aspects of their gardens. For more information, phone 9907 6460.