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Shade Gardens Offer Lots of Lovely Possibilities

Shade Gardens Offer Lots of Lovely Possibilities

Many people believe that patches of shade in their gardens are doomed to dullness, but that’s not true at all. There are many plants that love to grow in a shade garden. Here are just a few possibilities to consider for those shady spots.

Perennials Can Thrive In a Shade Garden

Over the years I’ve started a number of shade perennials from seed. One of my favourites is symphyandra hoffmanii. It grows to 60 cm in height and width, has lovely white bell-shaped flowers and simply blooms its little brains out. In fact, the plant may act like a biennial and die at the end of the second year, but fear not – there will be a tonne of seed that you can let fall, or share with friends.

Symphyandra grows in either sun or shade and also can handle very dry and hot weather without looking the least bit wilted. It is almost annual-like in its period of bloom – once it starts at the end of June. I have blossoms often right into September. It’s an easy germinator and will reward you with lots of flowers with hardly any effort at all – what could be better?

If you are looking for a pretty, low care plant for the shade – Fuchsia ‘Gartenmeister Bonstedt’ is the one for you. It takes all sorts of abuse – dry, wet, dark (in my basement right now!) – and for the most part really holds onto its lovely orange/red flowers. The leaves are a lovely dark green tinged with maroon and as a bonus, the stems are the same dark maroon colour as well.

While it is classified as a hardy fuchsia – I beg to differ! Those left in the garden to overwinter had absolutely no pulse the following spring. So, each year, I drag one plant in, pay very little attention to it over the worst of the winter and then in February take cuttings. I’d classify it as an easy plant to propagate – my success rate is about 90% with these cuttings.

Blossoms Under Big Shade Trees

I’ve got a wonderful patch of shade that has three large trees – an Eastern White Pine, an ancient Beech in my neighbour’s yard that is wrapped in ivy, and a poor old Ash tree that I fear will be nailed by the Emerald Ash Tree Borer, just as soon as they find it.

I have about a hundred different types of plants growing back here. When I designed the garden five years ago, I decided to choose plant material that had either flowers or leaves in combinations of white, yellow and blue – fortunately these are colours that are easy to find in plants that enjoy shade. Eventually I added more clematis in colours of purple and pink just because I love the way they look on the fence, and am always pleased to have more bloom to mix with all the lovely leafy shady plants.

So if your garden has lots of shade, don’t despair. With a bit of imagination, and some guidance like the ideas I’ve given you here, you can easily brighten up the shade with bright splashes of colour.