Troublesome shade

Real LIfe Garden SolutionsMarch 23, 2010

No, it's not that I don't like shade, but this particular spot is really giving me a challenge.

It's the foundation planting area north side of house. Concrete foundation, so may leach some lime, but in coastal BC, almost everything is acidic, and I have large cedar trees nearby. So I'm assuming acidic. There are 6 rhodos, various sizes and ages, all doing acceptably well--ie, growing and flowering. The Salal is doing very well, especially since I moved them last month out from behind the rhodos. The convallaria is OK, not taking over, but spreading slowly.

That's the good part. The bad part is that nothing else that's supposed to thrive in shade is doing well. The heuchera especially are just barely surviving. I've just today transplanted them into much more sun. Ajuga not too bad, but much better in more sun.

Tha area is quite damp, but drains well. I've mulched with compost from time to time; there are LOTS of worms. So I think the soil is satisfactory. Lots of rocks!!

My question is (finally--sorry, I'm a bit long-winded) what can I plant there? I need some greenery to underplant the rhodos. Don't need colour, altho' white would be nice. maybe Vinca with white flowers... no, I forgot, tried them already and moved them out when they were failing...

Ideas anyone??

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How about Hosta or Astilbe?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 2:55PM
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I'd look to why some of these shade plants are failing - vinca should do very well under those conditions, although in our climate, heuchera DOES prefer more sun. Other possibilities are Lamium maculatum, ferns, hardy cylamen (although a bit of an ephemeral), hellebores and the two previous suggestions.

Dwarf pieris would make a nice underplanting for rhodies as well, especially the variegated form 'Little Heath'.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 12:32PM
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