Northern Shade Gardening

Shade Bed Plantings

Sunday, July 26, 2009 Category: Garden Design

Here are some further additions to the shade bed between the evergreens. I wrote about starting this shady garden bed two weeks ago. There is an hour or two of light hitting different sections of the garden, and some dappled light falling at different times during the day. I’ve been planting more perennials on either side, curving around the tall conifers.

Aruncus aethusifolius with cone droppings

Aruncus aethusifolius with cone droppings

On the left I’ve added a group of Aruncus aethusifolius (dwarf goatsbeard). With its delicate texture, this perennial looks good next to the large, solid textured Brunnera leaves. In this photo you can see the reddish colour of the newer stems, which is very attractive. The new small leaves in the middle are a light green, but the other leaves keep a fresh look. With these neat mounds of attractive foliage, this plant is looking good even before the cream coloured flower plumes decorate the top.

In the upper left corner of the dwarf goatsbeard picture you can see the recent cone scales that are getting dropped as a squirrel works its way through the cones. This squirrel frequently sits on a horizontal branch of the pine above when snacking. These ones are new since I planted the bed, so with enough of these leftover scales, this bed will be self mulching. :)

Epimedium 'Lilafee' nice red tinged foliage

Epimedium 'Lilafee' nice red tinged foliage

On the right I’ve enlarged the group of Epimedium grandiflorum ‘Lilafee’ (lilac fairy barrenwort). This perennial should do well in the drier section of this shade bed. The new leaves on ‘Lilafee’ are tinged with red, which looks especially nice with the other foliage plants.

Epimedium 'Lilafee' nice red tinged foliage 2

Epimedium 'Lilafee' nice red tinged foliage 2

As the leaves mature, they become a more solid green. Here they are a few days later, with the red tinge fading to the edges, and new red leaves emerging.  There are flashes of red on them off and on as they send up new growth.

Hosta 'Ginko Craig' nice foliage

Hosta 'Ginko Craig' nice foliage

To the right of the Epimedium, I’ve added some Hosta ‘Ginko Craig’. It was Shady Gardener who suggested this low growing Hosta for this garden bed, and I quite like the way it looks here. This Hosta has medium green foliage with a narrow white margin around each leaf. The little flashes of white add some spark to this extra shady side of the garden bed. This Hosta is similar to ‘Francee’ in colouring, but it is lower growing, with narrower leaves.

Hosta 'Ginko Craig' flowers

Hosta 'Ginko Craig' flowers

The flowers on ‘Ginko Craig’ are similar to ‘Francee’, except they are a light to medium purple, instead of lavender. They have faint stripes on the inside, which are only noticeable close up. I added this Hosta just for the leaves, but the flowers are actually pretty, and don’t detract from the foliage display of the plant. The flower stems of Ginko Craig are short enough to fit under the lower evergreen branches, so this perennial fits the space well.

I plan on planting more perennials in this shade bed, as the garden wraps around the trees. The section on the far left gets more sun, so I might add some Campanula (bellflower), which should do well in the part shade there. I’d like to add some Polygonatum (solomon’s seal) behind the Hosta, for its elegant shape and variegated leaves. The shade plantings are working out so far, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it looks next year. Here is a followup post, showing some more shade plantings under the conifers.

7 Responses to “Shade Bed Plantings” »

  1. Joanne :
    July 26, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    You have a lovely way with your shade plants they all look so happy in their environment and you have a good eye for detail which you bring to us with your photography.

  2. Northern Shade :
    July 26, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    Joanne, I’m having fun planting this shade bed. I’m going to continue back between the two trees to the side behind the conifers. Thank goodness the grass hasn’t grown well here for the past few years, so it’s easy to dig the bed.

    Outlooker, I’d like to add a variegated solomon’s seal, but I haven’t seen any around recently. I might have to wait until next season, or go with a green foliage one. Either way, they should provide a nice frame behind the Hosta with their arching stems.

  3. Outlooker :
    July 26, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Your choices for the shady garden looks great and I think the solomon’s seal would do great together with the hosta. Nice with an overseas blog contact too!

  4. Rebecca :
    July 27, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    More beautiful choices, the elongated leaves on the new hosta are very elegant, and I love the red tinge on the barrenwort. :)

  5. Northern Shade :
    July 27, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Rebecca, I like the look of ‘Ginko Craig’ under the conifer branches. We’ll see if it likes the location. The barrenworts continue to put out new growth, so the topmost leaves have some red on them.

  6. Shady Gardener :
    August 3, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Hi Northern Shade! :-)
    Thanks for your e-mail. It makes me so happy to think you like little “Ginko Craig!” He looks just like mine! If he acts like mine, you’ll have divisions to place elsewhere and/or share within 2 to 3 years! Your Lilofee has red tinges. I planted one this Spring, but it doesn’t carry the red. Perhaps later? (I hope.) It’s fun to see how we can inspire each other! Carry on! ;-)

  7. Northern Shade :
    August 3, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    Shady Gardener, I’ve been having fun with my new plantings. ‘Ginko Craig’ looks great in the shade under the trees. I was really just thinking of the leaves when I got it, but I’m enjoying the flowers too. The flower stalks don’t tower as much as ‘Francee’, so it fits under the branches well in its space. There is more room behind, so if I can get divisions that will be a good thing. Thanks for the suggestion.

    ‘Lilafee’ had the most red when it came up in spring, but they keep sending up a few new leaves, and those have red tinges. I’ve read that it is supposed to be slow to grow, but mine are growing very quickly. They must like their different shady beds.

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