Made in the Shade
August 13, 2012
I have a lot of trees around my yard, so I have a lot of shade. Unfortunately, many of my favorite plants want full sun. Landscaping is a challenge, to say the least. One can only grow so many hostas and ferns before one gets bored. I have noticed that in recent years, there have been many new plant introductions for shady areas, so apparently I’m not the only one with this particular problem.
I have the required hostas and ferns in great abundance in my yard, and while I like them just fine, I yearn for more color. Flowers, blooms, and blossoms are what I want. Fortunately for me, there are a growing number of blooming plants for the shady areas of my yard. Pulmonarias (lungworts), heucheras, and columbines all bloom in the shade, as do astilbe, brunnera, and helleborus. And, more and more varieties and species are becoming available all the time.
Texture and color are also important parts of shade gardening. By combining plants with different leaf shapes and colors, you can achieve interesting visual displays. The lacy foliage of ferns pair well with the more solid hostas. You can also use the colors of the foliage to create interest. Hostas work very well in this aspect since they come in all shades of green, with and without variegated leaves, and all sizes, too. Heucheras are also a hit with their leaves ranging from purple to gold to shades of green.
There are so many books on shade plants and gardening available at MCPL that I don’t have room to list them all. But here are a couple of title for you to peruse: Shade: Ideas and Inspiration for Shady Gardens by Keith Wiley and Making the Most of Shade by Larry Hodgson. Books on specific shade plants like hostas and ferns also offer a lot of information and inspiration for your shade gardens. Check out The New Encyclopedia of Hostas by Diana Grenfell and Encyclopedia of Garden Ferns by Sue Olsen for more on these shade lovers.
Lee's Summit Branch