Answer: An oak is a good tree under which to create a bed, since they will compete less with your plants than some other deciduous trees. Dry shade is a challenge: it really narrows the field of choice, since there aren't many ornamentals that thrive in such conditions. If you improve the soil so that it will hold moisture better, and perhaps install a soaker hose or drip irrigation line in the bed, you'll have a lot more room to be creative. If you want to stick with plants that tolerate dry shade, here are some to consider: bellflower, nasturtium, sweet woodruff, coral bells, lamb's ears, Vinca minor, barberry, dwarf columbine, thyme and lemon thyme, wooly yarrow, German chamomile, heartleaf bergenia, sundrops, catnip, and rosemary. All of these will need regular, deep watering until they become well established. Mulch helps keep moisture in the soil, and actually creates a more "woodsy" soil condition that many of these plants enjoy. You can start many of these plants from seed, too -- have fun!
Q&A Library Searching Tips