The Q&A Archives: Firt time gardening

Question: This is my first time gardening. I live on the first floor and i dont get much sunlight. I wanted to start with a window box and a tall planter. I love herbs and pink flowers. I need something that will last through the summer and hot days. I'd prefer perennials. Could you give me a list, please help.

Answer: Shade has always posed a challenge for gardeners. Trying to find something unique and different, let alone being able to tolerate and perform well in the shade, often leads to the old stand-bys of hosta, fern, and lily-of-the-valley. However there are others you can try in your window box and planter. Here are some suggestions:
Aconitum or monkshood (top) is a stately garden plant for the shade garden. Growing to 24 inches tall, these plants prefer an area where soil moisture is constant but not soggy wet. The violet blue flowers look similar to snapdragons and are produced in August and September.

Bergania or pigsqueak gives a wonderful textural difference to the shaded garden. The large, glossy green foliage looks similar to wax begonia foliage only much larger. The plant likes a well-drained, moist site in light shade. Pink flowers are produced in April. Growing to 12 to 15 inches tall, these plants offer an orange/yellow background for tall spikes of white flowers in August and September. It does best in a moist soil.

Dicentra formosa ?Luxuriant?, is a short plant at 12 inches. It produces fine, blue-green fern-like foliage and flowers from May to August with small red flowers. It continues to provide color all season.

The perennial geranium Geranium endressi ?Wargrave Pink?, does well in shaded areas. Growing to 15 inches tall, it produces salmon pink blooms in May and June and then sporadically through the season.

Polemonium or Jacob?s Ladder produces plants that are 15 to 18 inches tall with fine, fern-like foliage. Depending on the cultivar, the foliage can be green or variegated green and white. As an added bonus, it has stalks of lavender blue flowers in May.

Pulmonaria or lungwort is an outstanding plant for the moist, well-drained shaded garden. These plants form neat mounds of strap-like leaves and are distinctive for the white markings on the leaves that look like paint splatters.

This plant blooms in April and May with flowers ranging from pink to lavender blue. After flowering, remove the old flower stalks and take full benefit of the lovely, variegated foliage.

Hope you'll try them all!

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