We just moved into a cute house with a horrible yard, the house faces north, and I would like to plant a flower garden against the wall, any suggestions?
try michigan bulb. They have a lot of planned gardens including shade gardens. You can also click your zone. It's a great place to get ideas.
impatients, hostas, ferns
Hydrangea is a beautiful option. If you have a trellis, consider oak leaf hydrangea.
Where are you in zone 9? I'm in coastal Northern CA and shade is definitely my friend! We grow wonderful flowers and colorful foliage all year long, but I don't want to suggest anything unless you're in a similar zone, since we're mostly frost-free.
One tip - okay, two: improve your soil, and lay soaker hoses. Most, altho not all, shade plants like moisture, and with increasing costs/restrictions on watering, planning carefully will save you and the planet considerable water. I water maybe 2x monthly, and $15/mo in the summer months waters 15 garden beds totaling over 2000 sq. ft.
I just completed a slideshow highlighting variegated plantings in shaded beds for another Net forum I belong to (I don't usually frequent this one, I'm normally on the Cottage Gardening forum). It's got 30 photos of various shade plants in mixed beds, so maybe you can find some ideas here. But remember, where I live there's only on average 7 frost days per year, no zero temps at all. Good luck as you begin your new garden!
Here is a link that might be useful: Photobucket slideshow: Variegated in the Shade