The Q&A Archives: Easy Care Plants Under Black Walnut

Question: I live next door to large black walnut trees. What sort of ornamental shrubs, grasses, etc, work well with this problem and the great shade they provide? I'm also a lousy gardener, so the easier to maintain the better. I was thinking of bushy, low-maintenance plants that my cats could hide in. The other side of the house will have peonies.

Answer: I'll bet your cats think you're a great gardener! Ajuga (Bugleweed) is easy to grow, and is an eager groundcover (some would say "beware it's enthusiasm"); Dryopteris cristata (Crested Wood Fern), Onoclea sensibilis (Sensitive fern) and Osmunda cinnamomemea (Cinnamon fern) are certainly tall enough to hide your feline friends (unless their of the cougar variety), but they need a woodland-type soil that is at least loose, if not moist. Astilbe enjoys shade and provides color as well ascover. All are low-maintenance, tolerant of black walnut, and easy to establish in the right soil.

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