The Q&A Archives: Shady Garden Suggestions

Question: I have a narrrow walkway on the west side of my house. It gets about 3-4 hours of direct sunlight in the summer and less in the winter. There are a couple of rose bushes that have grown successfully but I would like to make a tranquil garden to walk through, kind of cottage style. The rose bushes are climbers and I have been able to get them to grow upward and lean towards the roof of the house so that you walk under them. What can you recommend growing that would be colorful and fill up the long empty space along the wall of the house? What can grown in shady conditions?

Answer: One really important consideration is that the companion plants have the same moisture requirements as your roses. There are a number of shade-loving perennials to chose from - Columbine, Astilbe, Begonia, Campanula, Dicentra (Bleeding Heart), Daylily, Ferns, Hosta, Hellebore, Heuchera (Coral Bells), Pansy, Senecio, and Gentian are high on my list of desireable plants. The plants listed above will grow nicely in the area, but water-lovers might not fare as well. (Avoid planting Calla and Lily-of-the-Valley, because of their high soil moisture requirements.)

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