Shady areas in a garden are typically considered an issue, however this need not hold true so long as suitable plants are chosen for these areas. Simply consider the variety of wildflowers you discover growing in woods and you will see that there are lots of plants that prosper in these conditions. This list of ten easy-to-grow perennial plants is discussed in a short article which I discovered on the Longfield Gardens site.
In shady gardens, foliage colors, shapes and textures are just as important as flowers. When the light is soft and the air is cool, these more subtle design elements are easier to see and appreciate.
There’s another advantage to considering foliage as well as flowers. In most cases you get a garden that looks as good in September as does in May.
Not all plants thrive in shade and some plants will take more shade than others. Generally, most shade-tolerant plants need only 4 to 6 hours of sunlight each day. Ideally, they should be protected from hot, midday sun. Morning or afternoon sun is best, or the dappled light beneath shade trees.
The pleated leaves of Alchemilla, better known as Lady’s mantle, are lime green with a fuzzy surface. When the leaves are wet, water beads up into dazzling jewels. Alchemilla blooms in early summer. Its long-lasting flowers have a lacy texture and their yellow-green color is an excellent filler for bouquets. This low-growing, long-lived perennial is ideal for the front of a border or along a path.
Bleeding heart is a long-lived, trouble-free plant with fernlike foliage and dangling, heart-shaped flowers that may be white, pink or red. Dicentra spectablis (old-fashioned bleeding heart) grows three feet tall and wide. After it flowers, the foliage dies back until the following spring. All other types of Dicentra are shorter, flower in summer, and retain their foliage throughout the season.