Recently I went to see a big garden—seven acres to be exact. It was located on some of the priciest real estate anywhere, and it was gorgeous. It took a big crew to maintain it and a big chipper shredder machine to keep it in wood chips. Needless to say, it was bankrolled by someone with a big pocketbook. It also took a lot of big-leaf plants to cover the ground. Small and delicate plants have their charms, but when you have acreage to cover, eyesores to hide, or lots to do other than gardening, big plants are the ticket.
Lots of people have hostas, but when you want really big hosta, Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’ is the ticket. It has big blue-green seersucker-like leaves and an immense spread of 2-3 feet across. A sport of Hosta sieboldiana, ‘Frances Williams’ has the same blue-green coloration with lighter green variegation to add sparkle. A small number of plants of either variety can fill a fairly large space and provide a lot of visual impact. As everyone knows, hostas tolerate shade, even fairly dry shade, and manage to look quite respectable while doing it.
But what if you’re tired of hostas or never liked them to begin with? Rodgersia aesculifolia may be just the thing to restore your faith in big-leaf plants. This species is distinguished by large palmate foliage that will remind you of the leaves on horse chestnut trees. Though Rodgersia is grown mostly for its leaves, it also sprouts tall stalks of white flowers in the spring. The plants like shade, though dryness is taboo.
Then there is Brunnera macrophylla, sometimes called perennial forget-me-not (Whenever you see the species name “macrophylla”, you know you are dealing with something that has big leaves). Brunnera, which comes in plain and variegated, isRead more on backyardgardener.com