The Q&A Archives: Shady Cottage Garden

Question: I have just moved into a new house and am planning a cottage style garden. The front yard gets some sun throughout the day but probably does not come close to qualifying for "full sun" plants. One corner especially probably comes closer to "full shade". I will need both tall and shorter plants and though I prefer perennials I am willing to use some annuals. Are there any plants you would recommend for my garden? My favorites are foxglove, salvia, bleeding hearts, columbines, coneflower and lambs ear, but am open to all suggestions.

Answer: Except for the coneflowers, lamb's ear and salvia, the plants you named should do well in partial sun. Additional plants to consider include assorted hostas and ferns, tuberous begonia, wildflowers such as aruncus, cimicifuga, Jacob's Ladder, Virginia Bluebells, and Solomon's Seal, pulmonaria and tricyrtis. In the sunnier portions, try Japanese anemones, herbs such as chives, and spring flowering bulbs. Astilbes thrive in partial shade and moist soil. Clematis enjoy growing in an area where their roots are in the shade and the tops are in the sun. Have fun and go ahead and experiment, remembering that nearly all plants can be transplanted.

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