Wildflowers forum: A Shady Spot

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Name: Kim
Iowa (Zone 5a)
I kill ornamentals... on purpose.
Enjoys or suffers cold winters Spiders! Critters Allowed Birds Houseplants I helped beta test the first seed swap
Region: Nebraska Keeper of Poultry Rabbit Keeper Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Procrastinator Garden Ideas: Level 2
Chillybean
Aug 16, 2015 6:11 PM CST
This corner by the house does not like plants. Some years ago, I was desperate enough to buy wildflowers in a can. None of those remain... thankfully. Other failures include some type of exotic lily, and columbine. We had the soil tested and it is mildly alkaline. Not any different than the other areas tested, so not sure what is up.

Last year, I put in some Wild Ginger. Only about half came back up. I also planted Sweet Joe Pye, that came back. Yay! A couple of Mountain Mint were put in that spot, but they look sluggish. On a whim, I ordered Lion's Foot from a bare root sale this spring. It actually grew and just now it is blooming. The flowers did not look amazing in the photos, so I didn't really remember them. But that is neat!
Here is the Lion's Foot (Prenanthes alba)
Thumb of 2015-08-17/Chillybean/ffdf00

I would like this area to be full, but it may take time. I am not quite ready to resort to ferns. We had those in Omaha, and though they are interesting, I would really like flowers, if possible.

If you have suggestions, I'll take any. A friend told me the Wild Ginger may take a couple of years to establish, then I may have too many. Oh, I also have Virginia Bluebells near by, but they haven't bloomed yet and I planted them the spring of last year.
Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Region: Mid-Atlantic Butterflies Forum moderator Native Plants and Wildflowers Bee Lover Echinacea
Region: Maryland Garden Photography Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 The WITWIT Badge
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Catmint20906
Aug 16, 2015 6:43 PM CST
How much sun does it get? What's the soil and moisture like?
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Aug 17, 2015 7:54 AM CST
I was wondering how much moisture that corner gets. The roof overhang can keep an area next to the house pretty dry. There might be more sand near the foundation of the house. Obviously, one does like to keep the house foundation dry but it might not be great for plants. Maybe a good place for a soaker hose and mulch?
Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Region: Mid-Atlantic Butterflies Forum moderator Native Plants and Wildflowers Bee Lover Echinacea
Region: Maryland Garden Photography Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 The WITWIT Badge
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Catmint20906
Aug 17, 2015 7:57 AM CST
Maybe. Or maybe look for a plant that likes dryish shade? Shrug!
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
Name: Kim
Iowa (Zone 5a)
I kill ornamentals... on purpose.
Enjoys or suffers cold winters Spiders! Critters Allowed Birds Houseplants I helped beta test the first seed swap
Region: Nebraska Keeper of Poultry Rabbit Keeper Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Procrastinator Garden Ideas: Level 2
Chillybean
Aug 17, 2015 9:03 AM CST
Thank you for the comments. I think at best the spot gets 2-3 hours of sun a day. When we have good rains, somehow the water drips heavily in this spot off the gutter. This is where the original house and the addition joins.
I have a picture; it can do better than I at describing the spot. Smiling As you can see, even the weeds are not thick. There is free growing Violets, which I leave alone for the most part, some English Plantain and chickweed. Grass...

Thumb of 2015-08-17/Chillybean/9e83ab

I forgot to mention the Clematis virginiana, as you can see it is out a little further. This spot gets more sun.

The soil next to the house is not clay like we have elsewhere, but there are lots of little rocks. I suspect it might have been from earlier landscaping before we moved here. Not much sand to speak of. It seems a nice dark moist soil. There used to be hosta on the north side of the house, but never in this corner.
Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Region: Mid-Atlantic Butterflies Forum moderator Native Plants and Wildflowers Bee Lover Echinacea
Region: Maryland Garden Photography Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 The WITWIT Badge
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Catmint20906
Aug 17, 2015 9:32 AM CST
So it is a shady wet area?
I have a similar area under the eaves of my shed where it is shady and wet from runoff from the roof.
1 plant that thrives for me there is persicaria odorata or Vietnamese coriander. It loves the wetness and shade. An annual unfortunately but have not found any other plant that does as well there. I also have some ferns there, a sedge, monarda, Laurel, and sweet flag grass.
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
[Last edited by Catmint20906 - Aug 17, 2015 11:21 AM (+)]
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Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Aug 17, 2015 10:34 AM CST
What do you think about Epimediums? Once established, they can take possible moisture swings. Flowers in the spring and some have colorful foliage the rest of the year.
Name: Kim
Iowa (Zone 5a)
I kill ornamentals... on purpose.
Enjoys or suffers cold winters Spiders! Critters Allowed Birds Houseplants I helped beta test the first seed swap
Region: Nebraska Keeper of Poultry Rabbit Keeper Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Procrastinator Garden Ideas: Level 2
Chillybean
Aug 17, 2015 4:48 PM CST
Catmint20906 said:So it is a shady wet area?


It stays wetter than most other places in our yard. When it gets dry, that spot gets watered since I walk by there every day to take care of the bird feeders. I am hoping to stick with native to Iowa for the most part, but at least native to the region. Maybe I'll look into some sedges or if there are any Laurels in the area. Catmint, if I am thinking the same ones, these are in the Heath family? I have enough Monarda fistulosa; I had no idea that got so big. But if they can tolerate that much shade, it is an idea, if nothing else works.

Thank you all again. :)
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Aug 17, 2015 4:53 PM CST
Of course I realized that you were probably wanting native after I hit the "finished" button.
Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Region: Mid-Atlantic Butterflies Forum moderator Native Plants and Wildflowers Bee Lover Echinacea
Region: Maryland Garden Photography Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 The WITWIT Badge
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Catmint20906
Aug 17, 2015 4:53 PM CST
I have mountain laurel in my shady damp area under the eaves:
Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia 'Elf')

I also have Monarda didyma 'Coral Reef' growing there happily. My monarda fistulosa is in more of a part sun spot.

Good luck! Thumbs up
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
Name: Kim
Iowa (Zone 5a)
I kill ornamentals... on purpose.
Enjoys or suffers cold winters Spiders! Critters Allowed Birds Houseplants I helped beta test the first seed swap
Region: Nebraska Keeper of Poultry Rabbit Keeper Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Procrastinator Garden Ideas: Level 2
Chillybean
Aug 20, 2015 11:13 AM CST
I'll look into the Mountain laurel (Elf), Catmint. I do not want anything real tall growing there. So far, I've avoided cultivars, but that one seems really nice.

Here's another spot I would like some help with. This time I went through Prairie Moon's Plant Finder to get some ideas, but I am not sure I can envision how this will end up.

Here are two more Clematis virginiana. This is its first year's growth. I plan on trying to train this as to fill out more of the bottom. There is dappled light in the morning, but bright sun for an hour or two in the middle of the day, before being shaded from the house. So likely part shade.
Thumb of 2015-08-20/Chillybean/875277

After having such vivid purple from the Jackman variety of clematis before it was dug up, this looks pathetic! These clematis flowers are white and bloom in August, so I would really like some color in front of this earlier in the season. Height between about 6 inches in height to no more than 3 feet. I've got enough tallgrass prairie plants around the house. :)

Here are some ideas:
Geum triflorum (Prairie Smoke) 8 inches They are cool flowers, but I think it would be funny to have this growing in front of the "Prairie Smoke on a Rope". Hilarious!
Mimulus ringens (Monkey Flower) 2 feet The flowers are small, but site says the plant will become bushy.
Polemonium reptans (Jacob's Ladder) or Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-in-the-Pulpit)
Aquilegia canadensis (Columbine) I've started yanking out the hybrids we got from the nursery. I had planted them for hummingbirds, but never saw any go to them. Maybe they'll like the red??
Phlox pilosa (Prairie Phlox) 2 feet I have some of this in our prairie area. Do phloxes hybrid easily? There is creeping phlox in the front yard near this spot.
Rosa arkansana (Prairie Wild Rose) Someone mowed over my rose near the garage. Angry This place will help me guard it better.

I know everyone has different experiences, but I am looking for input before I take the plunge. I do not know that I will go with all of these. In my head I am thinking maybe a mix of Prairie Smoke, Columbine and one of the others. These all are known to be found naturally in Iowa.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Aug 20, 2015 11:29 AM CST
I grow several different shade-loving phlox - stolonifera and divaricata - but they're all named varieties. You'd have to search for some native varieties. I do like the flowers in the spring but you might want more height in that area. While I like the stately Jack in the pulpits, they don't offer a lot of color until late summer with the seeds. I like bloodroot for early spring but don't know if that's a native for you. Are the wild geraniums native?
Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Region: Mid-Atlantic Butterflies Forum moderator Native Plants and Wildflowers Bee Lover Echinacea
Region: Maryland Garden Photography Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 The WITWIT Badge
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Catmint20906
Aug 20, 2015 11:38 AM CST
Those are great ideas you've got there! I guess it depends on what will grow well in whatever spot you've selected, and what you really love. :-)
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
Name: Kim
Iowa (Zone 5a)
I kill ornamentals... on purpose.
Enjoys or suffers cold winters Spiders! Critters Allowed Birds Houseplants I helped beta test the first seed swap
Region: Nebraska Keeper of Poultry Rabbit Keeper Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Procrastinator Garden Ideas: Level 2
Chillybean
Aug 20, 2015 11:50 AM CST
Thank you both for the replies.

I've been afraid of getting plants too tall. I've bought plants that say 3-4 feet, but they end up towering over me, thus being more prone to flop. Most of the time it doesn't bother me but in the front I am trying to avoid the jungle look too much.

Yes, Wild Geranium is native and I have patches around here and there. So far, they are rather low to the ground, but it was only their first year. Some put out more leaves, even after blooming. Bloodroot also grows here. I find this stage of the plant interesting.


Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Aug 20, 2015 12:19 PM CST
The wild geraniums in my garden don't get very tall either. I have seen them roadside and they seem much taller - maybe the competition with other wild things keeps them reaching more for the sun? As for the JIP, some that I gave to a friend are huge - about 2 1/2 ft tall with enormous leaves. Growing along the north side of her house, they may get some morning sun but that's about it. They're twice the size of my original plants. Wind and rain can cause them to lean more than I'd like. Is Virginia waterleaf a native for you? It grows wild here, has very interesting almost silver-spotted leaves with a pretty pale lavender flower in early summer.
Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Region: Mid-Atlantic Butterflies Forum moderator Native Plants and Wildflowers Bee Lover Echinacea
Region: Maryland Garden Photography Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 The WITWIT Badge
Image
Catmint20906
Aug 20, 2015 2:45 PM CST
Bloodroot is nice. It blooms earlier than the geraniums will and is supposed to be good for early emerging bees
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Aug 20, 2015 3:44 PM CST
Yep - one of the first bloomers here and a real treat.
What about penstemon or lobelia? I think there's a white lobelia floating around the midwest. And I have native penstemon here that bloom the palest pink - almost white - but those would be later in the season. Uvularia bloom early-ish.
Name: Kim
Iowa (Zone 5a)
I kill ornamentals... on purpose.
Enjoys or suffers cold winters Spiders! Critters Allowed Birds Houseplants I helped beta test the first seed swap
Region: Nebraska Keeper of Poultry Rabbit Keeper Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Procrastinator Garden Ideas: Level 2
Chillybean
Aug 24, 2015 6:31 PM CST
The mention of sedge in one of the posts above got me thinking... Look at this beauty!
http://www.prairiemoon.com/seeds/grasses-sedges-rushes/carex...

The seeds are food for the birds, it can tolerate shade and mesic conditions. Ooo... I am excited about this one. Hurray!

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