Zone 5 shade plants

Alice JohannenJune 18, 2005

I have a garden on the side strip of my house that was completely dug out due to a sewer hook-up last fall. Being dug up was a GOOD thing, by the way, because it was a total, total mess. A jumple of overgrown plants and weeds, it had gone to pot and needed some TLC.

So now, I would like to create a new and wonderful shade garden, perhaps with a path meandering through (so I can get from the front to the back of the house, and ALSO so I can be in there to keep it under control). Here are a couple of pictures:

The whole side (see shade back behind the blooming kousa dogwood):

From the front looking back-

From the back looking front:

I have a few hostas (one Hosta Elegans, others unknown, rescued from a friend), I also have rhodies, mountain laurel, fern, some day lilies that have encroached from the back garden, and a korean azalea. I'm wondering what else to choose, and how to go about planning this garden. My other gardens, mind you, have tons of self-seeding, creeping, otherwise take-over-the-world plants, so I would really like this garden to not do that!

My research shows I could consider astilbe, brunnera, solomon's seal, heuchera, hydrangea, campanula persicifolia (? though some sites say it's a sun-lover) ... I'd prefer plants that grow in clumps instead of "fields" if you know what I mean.

Any suggestions? I do so appreciate your help!

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Heather_81(Z8 BC)

I think your choices sound good - heuchera aside, not one of MY favorites, I don't find it very long lived in my garden - I grow c.persicifolia, but find in deeper shade c.lactifolia does better. Solomon's Seal is beautiful, but will spread even in dry shade, so I keep it in a separate area in my garden to contain it. Very beautiful, though. There are many beautiful dicentra (bleeding heart), Langtrees, Stuart Boothman & King of Hearts do well for me. Pulmonaria is almost the first plant that blooms here in the spring, and flowers for around 2 months or more, also has beautiful foliage the rest of the year. Don't forget hardy geraniums. Here's a link to my website, and you can see pictures of some of these plants from my own garden.

Here is a link that might be useful: Gardening in the Shade

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 3:22PM
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Alice Johannen

Love your site, Heather! And thanks for the advice. I will check it all out, of course.

I should have said that my shade is very wet. VERY wet. Not exactly a bog, but I don't think it ever dries out over there. So I'll need things that can tolerate wet feet. Hopefully some of the suggested plants can!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 9:25PM
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cstaas(z5 MA)

Astilbe I've heard does fantastic in wet shade.. I've read they get much larger and flower well in those conditions. I should try some at work.. similar conditions! I LOVE your spot by the way, Such a nice place for a quiet little shade garden with a path from one end of the house to the other. My shade garden is also on the side of the house, but it's very wide.. really a side yard over there. Hard to fill it up with the lush shady garden I imagine!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2005 at 10:27PM
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