I recently bought some new shade plants for an expansion to the shade garden, Athyrium filix-femina ‘Lady In Red’ (lady in red lady fern), Pulmonaria ‘Samourai’ (Samourai lungwort) and Asarum europaeum ( European ginger). This area is under a maple tree and behind the area is a Philadelphus virginalis (mockorange) that is about 2 metres tall (6 feet). Last year I had some double flowering impatiens in front of the shrub, but there was a big jump between the two in height. This year I’m digging it out a little wider and adding some woodland perennials. These are still in their pots. You can see more woodland flowers in my garden here, as well as Sanguinaria canadensis.
I’m planting this Athyrium filix-femina ‘Lady In Red’ (lady in red lady fern) in front of the P. virginalis. You can see how it got the variety name by the striking red stems. They make a rich contrast to the lush green fronds. I find my other regular lady ferns, which volunteered in the cracks of my old patio, to be very hardy. Last year I was moving them in the spring and they accidentally landed upside down, breaking many of their fronds. While they were upside down, I just whacked them in half with the shovel and replanted both mangled pieces. By the middle of summer they were lush and full. You have to love a plant that thrives in the shade, survives a severely cold winter, and bounces back from mishaps.
I also bought some Pulmonaria ‘Samourai’ (Samourai lungwort), which is a cross between P. ‘Majeste’ (Majeste lungwort) and another Pulmonaria. I was actually looking for P. ‘Majeste’, when I saw these. They are very similar, except the ‘Samourai’ leaves are longer and thinner, which I found appealing. These have a stronger silver colour to the leaves than this photo shows. You can see how the new baby leaves and leaves on the flower stalk have the typical spotted pattern of Pulmonaria, before developing the silver cast of the mature leaves. They also have the typical pretty blue flowers of Pulmonaria, but start off pinkish.
I have been waiting to get some Asarum europaeum ( European ginger) for awhile. I have seen A. canadensis (wild ginger) around, but I was looking for A. europaeum, because the leaves are much glossier, as you can see in this photo of one of my new ones. The dark green, shiny, heart shaped leaves of this perennial should contrast nicely with the matte, elongated silver leaves of the Pulmonaria.
I’ll need to dig and reshape the bed in order to plant these perennials. I’ll post pictures later of how the new plantings looks. I think they should do well under the maple shade, and the foliage should look interesting together. You can see some other shade perennials in my garden in this post.