shady plants -- advice and suggestions
For those who saw my previous post about the pots, this is part II! I just had our porch redone and am about to re-landscape my front yard. I've gone from an almost entirely shady front section to quite a mix of sun and shade (the stairs go down the front of the yard from nearly full shade to nearly full sun).
The house faces north, and all the plants in the bed closest to the house need to tolerate mostly shady conditions. I had a great garden going with some ilex glabra shamrock for evergreens, hostas, ferns, jacobs ladder, and other smaller shade perennials. I'm interested in changing things up now that the porch is worth looking at and using :-). (I lost a lot of what I had there, and what I moved that is actually doing well may stay where it is, as I have quite a bit of yard still to plant in!)
One thing I got interested in after pouring through my Bluestone catalog is the Castle Wall and Castle Spire hollies. Anyone tried these in Zone 6 (my front yard is the colder/slower to wake up part of my yard)? I'd love to have that sort of pyramidal holly look for winter interest....
I'd also like some heavy fragrance, again, since we might actually use the porch now!! I have a small narrow section that is east facing that is between the side of the porch and the driveway. It is shaded both by the porch structure (so no morning sun) and some trees in my neighbors yard. Its hard to tell how much sun it actually gets - some dappled during the day, and probably some evening sun. I'd like to put in a fragrant vine... I've read that sweet autumn clematis can take that little sun. What are folks opinions? Is it invasive? Will it pull down the porch (LOL)? Any other suggestions? If not a fragrant vine, any other ideas that can take that little sun and which take little space -- there's only about 3 feet of ground there between the porch and the driveway, and I don't want anything wide b/c we'll need to be able to walk by there.
Anyone grow a rose called Darwin's Enigma? I read that it can take fairly little direct sun, too. I was thinking of that mostly for the western exposure, which is below some oaks, but gets good dappled sun (and isn't so close to a walkway, so the thorns are less of an issue!)
My other shade fragrance ideas were the fragrant hostas....
I'm having such trouble narrowing down my options for the sunnier sections, but I guess that's the fun part :-). Definitely aiming for fragrance and staggered blooms there. I was thinking Daphne, maybe a dwarf clethra (since it can take the shade too), and/or a dwarf viburnum (I have carlesii compacta in the backyard blooming and making things smell oh so sweet!).
One last question -- what is the very very blue hydrangea that is blooming in the last part of summer? Is it a Nikko? I noticed them a lot in early fall last year as I knew I'd suddenly be able to consider one in my front yard, but of course failed to actually ask anyone what it was when I saw it!