There’s nothing like seeing plants in the wild…

There’s nothing like seeing plants in the wild to give you an idea of how to grow them. It’s worth taking seriously the dictum ‘right plant, right place’ though of course there are always surprises. Everyone knows Heuchera villosa ‘Palace Purple’, that unappealing burgundy-leaved stalwart of the perennial border (okay, I grudgingly admit that it’s a good foil to the zingy Tradescantia in the pic below), but the species is lovely, with sprays of delicate green-white flowers above neat hummocks of hairy fresh green foliage. In the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina I only saw it in extremely wet seeps but in south east EnglandĀ it is surprisingly happy in dry part-shade under birch and oak trees. It rapidly makes quite large (easily controlled) colonies and provides long-lasting mid- to late-summer interest.

Heucheras in the border

Heucheras in the border at Chanticleer, one of Delaware’s famous gardens

Heuchera villosa in the wild

Heuchera villosa – the wild parent of the border stalwart, on a seep cliff in the Appalachians

I’m a trustee of the Merlin Trust, which gives grants to young professional horticulturists so that they can travel, either to visit gardens or to see plants in the wild. I wrote about the organisation for the Alpine Gardener (the journal of the Alpine Garden Society) and you can read the piece here.


About Katherine Price

My creative non-fiction has been published by Litro, Caught by the River, The Clearing and Earthlines. My short fiction by the Lampeter Review and Worcester Literary Festival's Flashes of Fiction. I wrote 'Kew Guide' (2014) for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. I wrote 'Get Plants: how to bring green into your life' (2017) for Kew Publishing and my writing about plants and gardens has been published in The Plantsman, The Alpine Gardener and the English Garden. I worked as a gardener at Kew for ten years and I am currently writing a novel. I live in Twickenham, a suburb of south west London. @wildsuburban
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