Brunnera (Siberian Bugloss/False Forget-Me-Not)
With so many bright blooms, sunny spring gardens get a lot of the attention, however, there is so much possibility and excitement to be had in shadier gardens as well, popping with unique foliage and bright blooms in an eruption of spring beauty all their own. Brunnera macrophylla (BROO-nair-uh mak-roh-FIL-uh), in the borage family, Boraginaceae, also known as False Forget-Me-Not or Siberian Bugloss, in reference to its coarse leaf texture resembling that of an ox tongue, is an excellent plant to liven up shadier spaces with early season color and persistent foliage interest.
Brunnera prefers part-sun to shade conditions in moist, well-drained soil, and will tolerate heavy clay soil. Native to woodlands of eastern Europe and northwestern Asia, Siberian Bugloss grows to form mounded clumps 12-24" tall by 24-36" wide of striking variegated silver foliage with green venation. A slow grower, Brunnera spread gently by underground rhizomes, serving as a gorgeous and manageable shady groundcover.
Blooming from mid-spring to early summer, Brunnera produce airy sprays of delicate five-petaled light blue flowers on wiry stems that usher in the warmer months to come. After their blooms fade, the showy variegated foliage persists, providing bright interest all season long. Many excellent cultivars are available including the massive silvery leaves of ‘Alexander’s Great,’ the nearly pure silver foliage of ‘Silver Heart,’ and the classic look of ‘Jack Frost.’ Brunnera are an excellent choice for planting in shady perennial borders, stream and pond margins, and woodland gardens, and are a wonderful shady groundcover when massed. In addition to their beauty, the coarse textured leaves of Siberian Bugloss will also be left alone by deer and rabbits as well.