One of the prettiest plants in my shade garden is Brunnera macrophylla, commonly called false forget-me-nots and Siberian bugloss. Named for the Swiss botanist Samuel Brunner, it is native to Siberia and areas in the Mediterranean. It is cold hardy in most of the U.S. but does not perform as well in the deep South, disliking the hot, humid summers.
In my Zone 5b garden, it has spread itself, both by self-seeding and roaming rhizomes, into lovely, weed-choking colonies.
Dark green, heart-shaped, slightly puckered leaves form mounds up to eighteen inches tall and 24 inches wide.
Sprays of diminutive and delicate, intense blue flowers dance over the foliage for several weeks beginning in mid-spring.
Brunnera macrophylla grows best in part to full shade in moist, but well-drained soil amended generously with organic matter. It is reported to be intolerant of dry conditions, but it performs admirably in my shade garden inundated with the roots of silver maples.
Sited in a spot that receives too much sun, the foliage may scorch. If leaves become unattractive in summer, cut them to the ground and fresh new foliage will re-grow.
Brunnera macrophylla is rarely bothered by pests or diseases.
If you have a shady spot in the landscape or a woodland garden, consider planting false forget-me-nots. They are lovely planted alongside ever-blooming bleeding heart (Dicentra ‘Luxuriant’), sedge (Carex spp), Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum spp), and Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium caeruleum). Garden with me!