heaving heuchera

Not gonna lean into stress and distress tonight.

Ooooooo, mmmmm, nor am I going to fall down the rabbit hole of researching the difference between stress and distress esp because my quick search introduced a new word, eustress, which sounds like something related to Brexit but I guess is the peppy, motivating counterpart to distress.

Instead I am going to spend some time on the garden which is actually maybe an example of eustress but I’m not going there. Must. Resist. Digressions.

I love heuchera, also known as coral bells and alumroot. Wait a second… h*eu*chera?? OK, there goes my willpower.

Pop quiz. I think “eu” means something like true, whole, essence. I looked it up earlier this year when my kid was learning about eukaryotes and prokaryotes.

heuchera near a front door. green/burgundy leaves with spires of milky white flowers

Just checked. Its primary meaning is good/pleasant. True works too. So I’ll give myself a B.

What’s the eu doing in heuchera?* Maybe because it is a really good plant, at least for me.  Thrives in most conditions, including neglect.  Foliage holds up nearly all year. Spreads but will not take over. Native to North America. Due to hybridization, comes in many colors, including my fave: burgundy (does

The only issue I have is winter heaving. Something about the freeze/thaw cycle pushes the crown of the  plants up so the root is exposed. Every fall, I add a little extra soil around their bases, tuck them in nice and snug, and every spring I find some crawling out of bed.

Erm, I wrote this before googling heuchera heaving. Heidi’s blog gives a thorough, expert overview. Notice how she can fit her hand under the crown. Heidihorticulture.com.

I am about as rule following and disciplined with gardening as I am with anything else… which means the other day I took a chance and replanted one of my favorite heuchera patches.

It’s too early in the season for messing around and it had recently rained, but the day was warm, the soil friable (by clay-ey Chicago standards), and the forecast showing rain for days. If I didn’t act right then, the next window for digging might not be for weeks (April showers). Plus, my spirits really needed some dirt under the nails.

I had to be careful due to last fall’s haphazard bulb planting. I’m forever  trying to arrange plants  so the vanguard of early ephemerals falls into the shadows of the next wave of blooms. (I am not going to get derailed by continuing to fiddle with that sentence.)

purple , yellow, blue spring bulbs (crocuses and lillies)
Ms. Teti’s Owl Bed is the first burst of color so far.

I don’t know why I planted bulbs in the heuchera seeing as it’s almost an evergreen (ever purple? ) and leafs out rather early.**  Maybe it’s just my squirrel tendencies.

Regardless. I managed to dig, divide, and replant with minimal disruption to the bulbs. And it’s been raining since! Sweet dreams.

*Turns out the plant is named for Johann Heinrich von Heucher, an 18th century German physician. Thanks, internet!

**Something about this winter battered the foliage into a slimy brown muck so I am not regretting my bulb planting zeal.

small garden bed with pink echinacea and chartreuse and burgundy heuchera
Our first major garden  project was in 2006, the summer before our child was born. The amazing Laurie Tanenbaum was our guide. I  am pretty sure the purple heuchera in the far right corner is the Eve of the 20 plus scattered around the building.

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