The name Diva-rellas came out of a conversation between Sinclair and I (usually via email…) where he mentioned the Latin meaning of the word tiarella. Aparently, it means a small crown, from the Greek tiara. I also found that tiarella is Latin meaning little tiara, referring to the form of the pistil. This and his genuine want to name the plants in this new series after “divas”, led me to Diva-rellas, which I think is a great name for a series named after such super-significant ladies. And what super-significant, lady DIVA doesn’t want a tiara? Especially a foamflower tiara!
The delightful aspect of this series of foamflowers is that they are named for diva’s of horticulture and the environment. These are ladies who have had a hand in promoting and developing this exquisite native american plant (Tiarella cordifolia), and it’s use in home landscapes as well as in ecology. The term diva, today, is used in myriad applications….BUT the actual correct definition is “a singer of renown” . The 3 ladies who have been selected are not actual musicians, but rather figures of impact in our field who have “sung” their message through the (printed and spoken) word, and through their good works benefiting plants and people. They are indeed diva’s for the environment and for horticulture.
AND THE DIVA’S ARE: Stephanie Cohen world recognized speaker, author, and educator on gardening and horticulture. Dr. Sherry Kitto, world class plant science researcher and professor at the University of Delaware. Sherry researched and published the tissue culture protocols for native plants, including Tiarella, which enables the large scale production of foamflowers possible today. (Sherry has distinctly advanced the maxim “conservation through propagation”). FM Mooberry, who founded the Brandywine Conservancy’s plant program, started the Native Plants Conference at Millersville University ( which is almost 20 years old now), and has tirelessly promoted (and popularized) native plants, and their many applications. Some portion of the income from the commercial sales of these Diva-rellas will go to education in the form of a scholarship, as all of these ladies have been so involved in that aspect of our field.
More will be added, and it is our hope that we can attract some other renowned divas who are also interested in the environment.
The first to be named was seedling #9 – with it’s intricately cut, extremely glossy leaves and bubbleicious, bubblegum-pink buds – after our very own “Perennial Diva”, the self proclaimed “vertically challenged gardener”, Stephanie Cohen, who named her own perennial place Shortwood Gardens in a tongue-in-cheek nod to nearby Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA.
As you can see from the images above, this is a pretty plant. The winter foliage is deep purple-red and still glossy, making it a wonderful winter accent. The buds emerge pink and open to unveil loads of creamy white blooms on deep red stems for an overall “pink” effect that lasts through Spring and into early Summer. I must admit, I don’t have this one in my garden…YET! I have, although seen it in Sinclair and Kirsten’s garden in Coatsville, PA and it was lovely – a sight to behold on a very cold, rainy May day. And…this is the one Stephanie chose for herself, so it must be good!
The second to be chosen and named was seedling # 126 – with its intricately cut leaves and it’s enormous quantity of cerise pink and white blooms – after Dr. Sherry Kitto, Professor of Plant & Soil Science and native plant propagation “diva” at the University of Delaware (my alma matter…go Blue Hens!).
This selection takes the diva tiara to new heights with the amazing number of blooms that appear at once and continue to open throughout Spring and into early Summer. I can’t imagine anyone walking past this selection without drooling! The leaves are maple-like and have deep maroon markings in the center. I planted this selection in my garden along with Heuchera ‘Citronelle’ and various Japanese painted ferns. what a lovely, traffic stopping combination.
The third to be chosen and named was seedling #1 – with it’s softly lobed leaves and deep, egglant-purple markings and layers, upon layers of white blooms – after FM Mooberry, native plant pioneer of the Brandywine Conservancy and the Delaware Valley, not to mention – founder of the Millersville Native Plants in the Landscape Conference (that I now run…my unpaid job).
This plant performed fantastically well for me in my garden and it looks quite nice with my other dry shade favorites, Heuchera ‘Mocha’ and Hakonechloa ‘All Gold’. I love the leaves of this selection. The other thing I really like about this one is, although it is a true clumper, it spills over the edge of the pot and continues to bloom as it spills. It grows and blooms and grows and blooms on a long cycle from mid April to about mid June.
We will have sample jumbo quarts and 72 cells available late this spring for anyone interested in trialing these. I expect to have a tissue culture lab up and running with plenty of plants for Spring 2010 orders. Please let me know if you are interested in trialing these. I hope to keep Sinclair really busy this March propagating!