On CBC’s Fresh Air yesterday I mentioned some of my favourite shade perennials. Here’s the list:

Forthergilla gardenii great little shrubs with white spring bottlebruch blooms. For some great shade plants, choose from this list of natives:

Woodland poppy (very hard to find but worthwhile);  Aquilegia canadensis; wild ginger (see below); Panax quinquefolius; Sweet Cicely (Osmorhiza longistulis); Podophyllum peltatum the Mayapple and watch how this is identified in the nursery;  Caulophyllum thalictroides; and Gaulthereia procumbens for a ground cover with winter interest.

Watch who you buy this stuff from. Go to a nursery that specializes in native plants and make sure they aren’t ripping them out of the wild.

Asarum canadense is a native groundcover easy to control; there’s also A. europeum which is more elegant, shiny leaves which I happen to like even better.

Non-native beauties:

Pulmonaria ‘Majeste’ has a gorgeous silver  foliage and bright blue flowers in spring

Hostas:   there are so many great cultivars, that you should research them carefully. Take the tag sizes seriously and make a tapestry pattern out of them. Don’t get lumped with 10 all of the same kind in that landscaper look.

I also mentioned Eco-Lawn which is a grass substitute I’m crazy about. It’s easy to apply, grows quickly and stay a soft shaggy presence. You mow once a year.

And I talked about Nematodes. This is a live culture which you can spread around (follow the instructions) when the temperatures are right. They explode the systems of grubs and will keep animals from digging up your garden and lawn.

I’m getting ready to send out my next newsletter so please sign up if you haven’t already.

  • Deenah

    April 27, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Helpful blog, tnx. Could I ask a question regarding hydrangeas. Where I want to move mine to gets full sun in the morning but full shade in the afternoon. The book I have says they prefer partial shade, coupled with full sun.
    Will my move work?


  • Marjorie

    May 2, 2010 at 7:41 am

    Deenah: they will cope very well indeed. Hydrangeas can cope with a lot of shade. This is a situation where it is the best shrub you can use.
    Good luck. M

  • Diane

    June 13, 2010 at 5:41 am

    Hello Marjorie. I have just discovered your blog and think it’s great!!! I live in northern NB. Any suggestion for a shade perennial that would bloom in yellow?


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  • Diane Chenier

    October 3, 2010 at 9:18 am

    Thank you for your info on cbc. Would enjoy having your news letter. Happy Gardening, and Thanksgiving. Grateful for your knowledge.



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