Perenial advice

kobrinl(6)October 3, 2005

In my back yard I have an area that is 10x18 and each year I have been planting impatiens. They look nice and grow well but I am tired the yearly planting. I was thinking of planting some perenials instead. Can any recommend perenials that grow well in a heavily shaded area?

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Begonia grandis(hardy Begonia), Bugbane, Chelone.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2005 at 11:23PM
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Loretta NJ Z6

What is heavy shade? Pines? Low limbed tree? Wall, house? I have a mostly shady yard but some spots will get direct sun here and there, or the shade is constant but high shade. It makes a difference on what will flower and what won't. I have bee balm, roses, dahlias and coneflowers blooming in shady spots.

Those Steve listed are nice.
Additionally, brunneria, astible, hosta, hellebore, heuchera, foam flower, sweet woodruff, ligularia, toad lilies, variegated false solomon's seal, pulmonaria, columbine, vinca, epimedium, forget me nots, viola, touch me nots (reseeds), to name a few. Early bulbs, bluebells...
Consider designing by foliage instead in shade and punching it out with a few annuals each year like impatiens, coleus, vinca, begonia, cyclamen or whatever specialty you might find. Also, you might consider the subshrub category like hookeria, skimmia etc. Also dwarf shrubs and gingers, groundcovers.
Also some larger plants like kerria japonica, oakleaf hydrangeas and other types, viburnums, kalmia, rhodies, pieris, azalea.

Pick your pallete but it will be a different mood than a bed of annuals that bloom all season. However, now you could have something going on four seasons. Consider persistant berries, evergreens, twig and bark color, seedheads and fall color.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2005 at 9:48AM
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wardw(z6 NJ)

There's hardly a thing to add to Loretta's list. Keep in mind layers and and seasonality in a shade garden. Usually minor bulbs like squill go on sale next month. With them you can plant the tiarellas and ginger and a zillion other woodland plants. In a wild woodland there are also annuals which grow among and often bloom later than the perennials. This means you can still have your impatien garden too as well as other annuals you might like to try. Many woodland perennials are nearly evergreen, pulmonaria and empimedium come to mind along with heuchera and tiarella. So once the impatiens come down they will hold the show through much of the winter. A full season includes fall, so don't forget cyclamen and fall blooming crocus. And don't forget ferns.

Until you grow them you can have no idea how beautiful a late winter early spring woodland garden can be. The first signs of new life often appear shortly after the new year. And through February and March the show unfolds, fresh leaves and the first flowers. The four month show is as long as the summer to follow and sends me out every day in all weather. Check for sale woodland plants now, just plunk them in and see what they do.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2005 at 9:36AM
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Thanks for the advice, the area is covered by two large trees, one on the left and one dead center. On the right side is a small pine tree that I have trimed most of the lower branches. I should probably remove the pine tree. In the last afternoon it might get an hour sunlight. There are many suggestions of plants, is there a good website to find pictures of these?

    Bookmark   October 8, 2005 at 2:15PM
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Loretta NJ Z6

There is nothing like google for this.
pick the images tab and copy clip the names. Its a great winter pass time instead of TV for a garden geek. It can also get expensive!
Also try the hortiplex option on this site and the search option. I don't think the hortiplex database comes up on a google search. Would be interested to hear from others about good places to search images that don't come up in google.
Sometimes the search will lead you to someone's picture album and lead you to even more must have plants.
You won't always get a pic but most of the time you will. Then the library always has picture books on the subject to look through.
Here is a link for variegated solomon seal. This plant doesn't show well in the nursery and is slow to start the first few seasons- an advantage for those who know better and I have found it on sale occasionally in the fall.
Once you know what it looks like, then you can search the web option and get some write ups on the plant. Its not a bad idea to search a plant you don't know with the work invasive next to it, just in case it's a thug.
You will find a plant you like and not find much about it.

My favorite way to find new plants is to visit botanical gardens. The NY Botanical Garden in the Bronx is my favorite of the ones I've visited. The perennial garden near the conservatory has so much beatifully diplayed in one spot. It is worth going in any season including winter.

Here is a link that might be useful: variegated solomon seal

    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 11:24AM
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whats a good way to store dahlia bulbs over winter? would a coffee can with petmoss be okay?

    Bookmark   October 26, 2005 at 6:33PM
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Loretta NJ Z6

This is how I've done it for the past two years. Its a lazier version of the saran wrap method. Actually, this works better for me than the saran wrap method.

1. Wait for the frost to kill the tops.
2. Cut the tops off a few inches from the ground.
3. Dig them up.
4. I wash all the lose dirt off in a bucket then let them air dry on some newspaper.
5. Once they are surface dry like a firm potato - I don't let them shrivel - I pack them in a ziplock bag with little air just like that with nothing else. If the tuber group is too large, I've used zipper bags that linens come in or tied tightly other plastic bags. Those thinner bags, I double pack one bag in another.
6. I label the bags and just place them all in another larger bag. I keep mine in my uninsulated attic where it gets cold during the winter. It gets warm too even in the seventies during the day sometimes but they do OK. A friend did this in her attached garage with the same results. I think she put her bags in a cooler.
7. I check on them every once in a while. White fuzzies on some white roots are not bad. I get a little of that. In the spring, they will start trying to grow. There is some leeway here. You don't have to pot them up right away but once the temps stay near forty, I might pot them up or put them in the ground. My friend forgot hers were in the cooler and didn't put hers into the ground until summer. They lived and bloomed anyway.
8. I feel it is easier to divide in the spring if your going to do that. The stems are softer and easier to cut into plus you can see the tubers better and the eyes. Additionally, I think not having the cut marks during storage lessens the chance for infections.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2005 at 11:33AM
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