Friday, February 19, 2010

Fun in the Shade

Often clients ask me, “Does anything colorful grow in the shade?” and my response is a litany of shade loving genus: “Leucothoe, Clethra, Epimedium, Acetea (formerly Cimicifuga), Heuchera, Tiarella, Bergenia" and so on. Although, it may be encouraging to hear that the list of available plants is long, pictures are often needed to illustrate the point. And I understand, I too am a VERY visual person.In this Patio garden, we have a tapestry colorful perennials ranging from part shade to full shade. Since the beds are small and human proximity is so close, we have jammed the beds full and rely heavily on texture and colored foliage to keep your eye excited and interested as you view the garden.

A close up in this bed shows the layering of plants, and notice how the dark purple red of the Actaea is picked up in the veining of the Athyrium? A happy accident, which I have since repeated, and repeated. Shown:
Epimedium, Athyriu
m and Actaea (formerly Cimicifuga).

Another close up, this in one of the shadiest areas of this garden, small details are used in this
space, because it is seen from a stationary spot so your eye has time to drink in the details. Shown: Hosta, Asarum, Dicentra, Athyrium and

When viewed from a distance, masses of shrubs and large perennials may be needed, but even in the shade many species have great foliage and blooms to brighten up dark corners.
Shown: Anemone, Itea, Cornus, Nepeta and Clethra.

Small irregularly shaped stepping-stones require
one to look
down, rewarding your eyes with this delicate spring display. Shown: Galium, Stachys and Veronica.

Even in this tough spot, east side of the house, very narrow bed and under the shade of this Cherry Tree (Prunus) these hard working plants put up a great display. Shown: Hakonechloa, Tiarella and Bergenia.

“When your work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt.”
- Henry J. Kaiser