Here is a shady garden bed with blue, pink and white flowers that I recently rearranged. It gets some morning sun for a short while, and then some dappled shade. There are perennials in the border, and a pot of annuals on the corner that blends right in. Since I planted the container first, I might have got the colour scheme for the perennial bed from it.
The pink flowers are Heucherella ‘Tapestry’ (foamy bells). This perennial is a cross between Heuchera (coral bells) and Tiarella (foamflower), showing some of the best traits for both. It has beautiful leaf markings, but the flowers are much showier than most Heuchera. The Heucherella like more light than Heuchera. ‘Tapestry’ is new to my garden this year. I’m very taken with these beautiful plants, and hope that they are hardy. I’ll definitely be planting more of them.
Update: These Heucherella overwintered just fine, and still look great.
The leaves of this Heucherella remind me of the foliage of Heuchera ‘Green Spice’ (coral bells), with a green background and dark purple coloured veins. These plants are very attractive. I have some Heuchera with all purple leaves in another part of the garden, and I think ‘Tapestry’ would make a good bridge between them and other green plants if planted next to them.
Here is a closeup of the gorgeous pink flower spikes of ‘Tapestry’. They are thick stalks with very noticeable flowers, in a pretty pink colour. The blooms also last a long time, over six weeks already. You could grow ‘Tapestry’ for the flowers alone, even if they didn’t have decorative leaves. In the background is a Colocasia leaf in the planter with pink and blue flowers.
The little blue flowers in the garden bed are Campanula cochlearifolia ‘Bavaria Blue’ (fairy thimble bellflowers). I also have these perennials in another garden section, and added them here for a little more blue colour. With a multitude of tiny blooms, these dwarf bellflowers are colourful and charming.
Another dwarf bellflower in this garden bed is Campanula portenschlagiana ‘Blue Waterfall’ (Serbian bellflower). The flowers are just opening, but there are lots more buds to bloom soon. The pretty stars of this Campanula bloom in rows all along the flower stems, which mostly radiate out in sprays along the ground. This was already planted at the front corner, and you can see how short it is, by the Heucherella towering over it behind.
The tall plant in the middle is Actaea ramosa ‘Atropurpurea’ (bugbane, used to be Cimcifuga). It will grow two metres (six feet) in height by late summer, and will have beautiful tall spikes of cream coloured flowers, high above the other plants. It coordinates well with the Heucherella, because both of them have purple on their leaves. ‘Tapestry’ has conspicuous purple in a pattern along the veins of the leaf, and this Actaea has subtle purple edges to the leaves, as well as purple stems.
The photo above shows Actaea racemosa (bugbane) with Campanula flowers underneath. This Actaea also has cream flower wands over 2 metres (6 feet) tall, and was already planted here. Bugbanes make great plants for some height in a shady garden. I find the scientific naming of Actaea a little confusing, and it might be that these are actually the same. They were switched from Cimicifuga, which is straightforward, but I see ‘Atropurpurea’ listed as a cultivar for both of these species and they look very much alike. You can see photos of Actaea flowering in my garden.
In between are two Osmunda regalis (royal ferns) in the spotlight above. The fronds of this fern are a light green, which gives them a little glow next to darker leaves. Some lighter coloured foliage show up well in a shady garden. Both of the sections above belong to one plant. The second fern is behind and can’t really be seen in this photo. This one was originally planted in back, because I thought it would grow taller, so I moved it forward to better enjoy the foliage.
Osmunda regalis has a bit of a shrub appearance. These are supposed to grow quite tall, but don’t get beyond 60 cm (2 feet) tall in my garden. They probably need a longer growing season to reach their full height, or perhaps a warmer climate. One thing they really like is water. They make nice garden plants, even if they don’t get to two metres (6 feet) in my garden. Now that I’ve moved this one to the front of the bed, I hope it doesn’t put on a growth spurt after five years.
The planter in the corner has a tall Colocasia esculenta (elephant ear) in the middle. There are Begonia ‘Non-Stop Pink’ putting on a good floral show around it with their double flowers, as well as some pink double Impatiens, and blue Lobelia cascading over the edge.
Here is a closeup of the lovely double begonia flowers. They don’t mind the shade, and seem to thrive in the extra water that the Colocasia gets.
This closeup of the Colocasia esculenta leaf shows the wonderful leaf texture and size. If there is anything better than a nice big leaf, it’s a big wet leaf in the rain. It makes an umbrella for the begonia, one of which is peeking out to see if the rain has stopped.
This garden bed in part shade has pink and blue flowers, and there will be white from the Actaea in late summer. Continuing along, just to the north of this section, is a Philadelphus (mockorange) shrub with white blooms, while to the south are some Lamprocampnos spectabilis ‘Alba’ (bleeding hearts, used to be Dicentra) with white flowers. You can see a few of the bleeding heart flowers still left at the back of the photo above. I used to have some daylilies where the Heucherella are, but it is more shaded now, and they weren’t doing as well. I instantly liked the new arrangement in the shady garden, as soon as it was finished.