Shade Flowering Plants

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Woods gardens may or may not include shade flowering plants. Sometimes such gardens are a blanket of elegant and subtle form and texture, unbroken at any season by colorful but discordant bloom. They need be that only if you want them to be. The larger the area of your woods garden, though, the more you might want to think about shade flowering plants and a splash of color against the dappling of sunlight and green.

Options among Shade Flowering Plants

One especially effective woods garden I recall flanked one side of a tennis court. The garden's other side stopped at a curving line of yew hedge. On one end it rolled into a flank of blueberry bushes, and on the other into a line of locust trees and azalea and yew.

The ground was covered partly by periwinkle. Around the clusters of trees were a variety of combinations of shade flowering plants. Some were hosta and azalea. Some were simply hosta. Others were fern and a dark red astilbe. It was lush, it was verdant, it was simple, and it was largely self-sustaining. It looked as if it had arisen on its own.

Magnolia and rhododendron are another way to set the tone of a shade garden. More color might come from columbine, bleeding heart, peony, and daffodil. More texture could come with Japanese painted fern and variegated hosta. Which plants you choose will be a balance, of course, between the gardening style you want to set and the climatic conditions you need to work with rather than against. Whatever nursery you use, don't be afraid to ask for advice. If you'd rather find out on your own, know that there is a wealth of information at online gardening resources.


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