The Q&A Archives: What grows well in shady area with water run-off

Question: We have a stream that goes through our property due to water run off. Sometimes it is so loud we can hear it with all the windows closed but in the middle of summer it is sometimes dry. It is in a shady and mossy area, then crosses under the driveway into an area that gets sun throughout the day. It has a little bit of grass growing in it and some trees growing over it. I'd like to make it look more attractive with flowers and maybe stones for a border (I'm not sure if that's a good idea or not). What perrenial flowers can I use around this? I am a complete novice at gardening.

Also, we just had some trees cut down and now have 2 huge piles of chippings. What can we use this for?


Answer: If there is actually rushing water like a streambed, the water will wash away your plants. However along the edge you maybe able to grow plants such as ferns (Osmunda spp especially) in the shady part and possibly Japanese iris in the sunnier area. Shrubs may have a better chance of handling the changes in soil moisture, so you might also consider using shrub dogwoods (there are some with variegated foliage and red or gold stems that can be very decorative), Ilex verticillata (deciduous holly), and Ilex glabra (small leafed evergreen holly) for instance.

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