garden choices - Knowledgebase Question

harrisburg, Pe
Question by pdrobnick
April 24, 2010
I have just created a stepped garden with a stairway of 12 steps running thru the middle. I dont know what choices to make for plantings. I love plently of color and dont want to hide the stonework but accent it. It is in a shady area abutted from home on the east side. Was at home depot this am but not much help in garden center. Can you help? I love grasses. I expect 2 use annuals 4 color


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Answer from NGA
April 24, 2010

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Oh my goodness! A blank canvas! What fun! The evergreen groundcover epimedium thrives in shade and is a tidy clumper, good for squeezing into crowded gardens. Its flowers are a combination of purple and white, and the new spring foliage is becomingly flushed with red. Cornus canadensis (unalaschkensis) Bunchberry; Partial to full shade, humus-rich soil. Spring flowers; bright red berries in summer. Grows 2"-10". Gaultheria ovatifolia (Slender Wintergreen); Adaptable, best in moist shade and acid soil. Flowers in late spring to summer. Evergreen. 4?8" tall. Linnaea borealis (Twinflower) Partial to full shade. Late spring flowers. Low (1") evergreen. Spreads readily by stolons. False Lily-of-the-Valley; Moist shade to partial shade. Spring flowers. Plant only where you want it to spread! 3? 12" Oxalis oregona (Wood Sorrel) Wet or dry shade. Spring/summer flowers. 2? 6" Vancouveria hexandra (Inside-out Flower) grows in sun to shade; flowers in spring. 4? 16" Adiantum pedatum (aleuticum), called Maidenhair Fern. Grows best in moist shade. Deciduous. Delicate, lacy fronds. 12?30".

Some great perennials for shade include Aegopodium p. 'Variegatum' (Bishop's Weed) which provides a dense carpet of green and white foliage; Ajuga varieties (Carpet Bugles): a low carpet of leaves, blue flower spikes; Asarum europeaum (European Wild Ginger) with polished, emerald-green leaves; Astilbe which has fluffy flower plumes and ferny leaves; Campanula carpatica (Carpathian Bellflower) has large blue saucer flowers, grows in low mounds; Carex morrowi 'Augeo-Variegata' Mounds of evergreen, yellow-striped leaves; Chrysogonum virginianum (Goldenstar) Long blooming with starry yellow flowers ; Convallaria majalis (Lily of the Valley) White, scented flowers; Dicentra spectabilis (Bleeding Hearts) Arches of heart-shaped flowers; Dicentra x 'Luxurient' (Bleeding Hearts) Low ferny carpet, cherry red flowers; Digitalis (Foxgloves) Tall spikes of spotted flowers; Doronicum cordatum (Leopard's Bane) Clean, yellow daisy flowers; Epimedium X rubrum Red-veined/margined leaves, red flowers; Hardy Ferns of all sorts A great diversity of leaf color and height; Galium odoratum (Sweet Woodruff) Carpets of cartwheel leaves, white flowers; Helleborus orientalis (Hellebore) Large, nodding flowers in early spring; Hosta 'August Moon' Crisp mound of bright yellow leaves; Hosta sieboldiana 'Frances Williams' Huge blue leaves edged in yellow; Hosta undulata 'Variegata' Clumps of wavy green and white leaves; Lamiastrum 'Herman's Pride' Creeping carpet of silver-veined leaves; Lamium maculatum varieties Carpets of white or white striped leaves; Ligularia dentata 'Desdemona' Tall purple-leaved clump, orange flowers; Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea' Creeping mat of bright yellow leaves; Mentha requienii (Corsican mint) Strongly scented flat green mat. Self-seeds; Myosotis varieties (Forget-Me-Nots) Mists of small blue, yellow-eyed flowers; Primula X 'Wanda' Low mats smothered in magenta flowers; Pulmonaria varieties Mounds of silvery leaves, blue flowers. Hope these suggestions are helpful.

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