Dry Shade and more Dry Shade...what to plant?
I have been trying to form a pretty border with shrubs and perennials for a few years now. I have some challenging conditions under silver maples and one Norway Maple. To make matters worse, this area is all you see when you look out every window of the back of the house. This year we have had significant drought making it worse still..lol. We just had about an inch of rain twice in the past week and that is the first rain in a couple of months. After the rain we had, I had to move something in that area and only the top 1/2" of soil was moist and the rest was bone dry. I have been dragging the sprinkler from one side of the yard to the other whenever the watering ban was lifted, but hasn't done much good.
I added a few shrubs to this area 2 years ago but had left some empty space for future decisions. I am already seeing some choices that I could consider mistakes and some successes. Two shrubs that look wonderful right now...the first is a Viburnum Wentworth. What a great shrub. It actually sat out in my yard one winter in a pot unprotected and survived it. I put it in the ground the next spring and it just took off. It bloomed a few blossoms and has a couple of pretty clumps of berries on it and doesn't seem to be bothered by the drought in the least. Is double in size. Six feet away, a Viburnum maresii, is crispy from the drought. I know they prefer more water and I specifically water this one pretty frequently. Still developed brown edges on all the leaves this summer.
The second shrub, someone on this forum, recommended a Gray Dogwood to me and I bought one. It wasn't until this August that I finally decided I liked it. It has grown double it's size too and there is no evidence of any stress on it after all the drought we had while everything around it is covered with dry brown edges on all the foliage.
That's it....nothing else in that dry shade area is happy but these two shrubs. I have a large area to fill..about 80 feet of border. I am thinking I am going to purchase some more Cornus racemosa and maybe even try to find one more Viburnum Wentworth, but I can't fill up that whole border with just those two shrubs...it would be pretty boring.
Does anyone have another shrub to suggest that will do well in dry shade? We also have to screen some ugly views in the neighbors yard and don't have much in the way of evergreens. I would also like to try to add something that might be a focal point and some variegated foliage and/or other textures and colors of foliage. I probably am hoping for too much and would be happy with something that will
grow well and look nice, basically.