Beyond seasonal weather and pesky deer, New England gardens may also struggle to survive shady conditions. Many of you ask us about what to do with shaded areas of your yard. Between tree coverings, your house and fencing, shade can happen from so many directions.
A planting bed that receives three hours or less of sun per day is considered shaded. Often these areas retain moisture as they are less ventilated and do not dry out easily after rain. While these areas don’t require the same frequent watering and the high maintenance needs of full sun locations, they do need specific plants that are well-suited to thrive in these conditions.
Pachysandra or Myrtle are typical solutions to shady areas in our region. We at Bolton Landscape like to think beyond those common ground coverings and have our own favorites that add texture and color to your perennial shade garden. There are so many options. These are some we recommend:
Hostas come in a variety of sizes from dwarfs to plants that can reach 4 feet wide and high. Be sure to arrange larger ones towards the back of your garden. They are beautiful and great to plant as focal points when laying out your garden. Hostas flower and come in all shades of greens, blues, with and without variegated leaves. Many are also resistant to deer.
Hakonechloa grass is a tough, rugged ornamental grass that we like to suggest. It comes in yellow and yellow/green variegated and holds its color throughout the summer. The grass is elegant with its long and thin arching blades that look especially eye-catching when blowing in the breeze. It also comes in various sizes depending on the one you select.
A large heart shaped leaf plant, Brunnera will contrast with the other greenery in your garden. The veins and edges on the leaves are unique and add interest, plus this plant grows sky blue flowers in the spring.
Astilbe is a hardy plant that come in many varieties. They blossom with white, pink or red spiked flowers that definitely add a punch of color to complement any other plants in your shade garden.
Fern are a solid addition to any shady area. They come in many shapes, shades of colors and textures. Ferns range in variety from dwarfs to three foot tall Ostrich Ferns. Our favorites are the Painted and Ghost Ferns. It should be easy to find the right fern for your space. Know the height they will reach so that you put smaller ones in middle and largest ones in the back.
Lirope is a green or variegated flowering plant that can server to fill in as groundcover that thrives in shady areas. The lirope purple flowers spike above the green grass-like leaves.
Pulmonaria is a vigorous plant that stands up all season, featuring variegated leaves and flowers for about 5-6 weeks with flowers from white, pinks to blues.
You will be thrilled to have your shaded area vibrant and lush with these plantings. Next we will talk about shrubs and trees for the shade to use alongside your perennials. In the meantime, happy gardening!
With over 40 years of serving customers in the Wilton, CT and surrounding area, Bolton Landscape Design & Masonry gives homeowners a new landscape they can enjoy for many years to come. More than a landscaper, Bolton creates outdoor environments that include walkways, patios, fireplaces, waterfalls, ponds, stone walls, fencing, and landscape lighting. All installations are expertly installed by our team. Contact us today for a free estimate for all of your landscape design needs. We look forward to dreaming up a one-of-a-kind new yard for you.