Native to the United States but now widespread in the UK, Heuchera (or `coral bells') thrive in all climates, even in shade, and produce stunning flowers in pink, coral, red or white. The foliage can be so colourful and ornate that you will be more than happy if they never bloomed. This outstanding plant is only now becoming fully appreciated with the arrival of new cultivars and hybrids, such as `Amber Waves' and `Purple Palace'.
Martha and Charles Oliver live in western Pennsylvania and run The Primrose Path nursery. Charles has been greatly involved in the Heuchera hybridization work, combining garden forms with wild species to create such bronze-leaved forms as 'Palace Purple' and 'Montrose Ruby'. For the introduction of over 60 new plants to the trade, he was given the Marcel LePiniec Award in 1998 by the North American Rock Garden Society. Martha teaches at the Ornamental Horticulture and Landscape Studies at Chatham College. She has written on horticulture for The New York Times, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening Magazine.