Ask a Question forum→Shade garden thoughts/ideas/opinions

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Sewickley, PA
gross4160
Jun 6, 2021 8:51 AM CST
Below are pictures of a new shade garden that we are designing. The plants/perennials are as follows;

Fern LeafBleeding Heart - Dicentra formosa "Luxuriant"-front
Sterling Silver Heartless Brunnera-middle
Lenten Rose- Penny's pink- front
Pulmonaria- Lungwort- "Raspberry Splash"-middle
Aruncus dioicus- "Goats Beard"- very back

The shrubs on the back right are Silverblotch Dogwood- Cornus Alba Elegantissima

What do you think about plant selection/design?

I would like to something in the center to add interest or height; A dwarf Evergeen? Large rock? Any other thoughts?

Thanks!
Thumb of 2021-06-06/gross4160/dbc031
Thumb of 2021-06-06/gross4160/4ab3c5

Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
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BigBill
Jun 6, 2021 8:58 AM CST
I love to plant things in threes, fives or sevens etc. Odd numbers and I often start out with a triangular grouping. I allow enough room for expansion. For example, this year I might plant three of this. Next year I decide, "You know I really like those so I buy two more or four more. Next year, I can add to the clump with two more or add four more and kind of plant those additional plants in a swath or comma shape. When you use odd numbers, planting in curves or slashes or swashes, it adds a dynamic look to the garden. It adds a lot of interest rather then plop three here, two there and three more over there!!
Work with a crude garden sketch so you can get a feel of what I am talking about.

When you plop things here and there, it reminds me more of a doggies restroom!! He piled it here, then he piled some there. Look to create flow!
You are off to a good start!!!
πŸΆπŸ˜πŸ˜›πŸ˜‹
When you grow orchids, it is all about the ROOTS!!!
[Last edited by BigBill - Jun 6, 2021 9:02 AM (+)]
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Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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crawgarden
Jun 6, 2021 9:14 AM CST
I would also consider some hostas for the planting, with over 8000 varieties, I'm sure you could find some that would work. Rodgersia would also be a nice selection to add some large bold leaves to the mix, Astilboides tabularis is another nice choice. Actaea simplex would give you some vertical element which you may need. Toad lilys Tricyrtis a great choice with beautiful fall flowers.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
Johnson City, Tennessee Zone 7
Shortia
Jun 6, 2021 12:12 PM CST
I like your plant choices, it looks like you have the start of a beautiful garden. I agree with Big Bill, esthetically gardens work well when flowers are planted in groups. It's best to have odd numbers, and especially for pollinators they are more likely to be attracted to drifts rather than one each of many plants. You may want to consider seasonal interest, and throw in a few natives. I'm in northeast TN so not too different than you in climate, and have found native foamflower performs well and provides very early seasonal flowers, always welcome after our winters. Other pretty spring shade flowers include bloodroot and rue anemone which are low growing and delicate, along with taller plants like Solomon's seal for more height, which progress here from early spring into early summer. This would get you a longer bloom season with your lenten rose flowering in winter and at least here in my woods Aruncus flowering in summer. A lot depends on personal taste, but a small evergreen could provide height, and in my yard they are preferred nesting sites for a variety of birds. Keep us posted on your progress!
Sewickley, PA
gross4160
Jun 6, 2021 4:08 PM CST
Thanks to all!!

My response to all of your excellent recommendations are as follows;

1. Everything is going to be planted in groups of 3

2. Deer eat all of our Hostas

3. Shortia- I like you idea of having blooms at all times of the growing season. The garden is pretty full as is.

What do you suggest that I remove and then add to achieve this?

Thanks!
Name: Vera
ON CA (Zone 5b)
Birds Butterflies Cat Lover Frogs and Toads Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Serpent
Jun 6, 2021 4:28 PM CST
I hope you post some pictures in the Landscape design forum when it's finished. There doesn't seem to be much traffic over there. It's a topic that interests me, but to which I can't contribute, as my own environs are completely unplanned.
Behind every opportunity is a disaster in waiting.
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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crawgarden
Jun 6, 2021 9:01 PM CST
https://extension.psu.edu/plan...
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
Johnson City, Tennessee Zone 7
Shortia
Jun 7, 2021 7:38 PM CST
I replied to your message but thought I'd post my further ideas here in case anyone else has suggestions on a good evergreen for height. And in line with my suggestion to have a long flowering season, Tricyrtis as recommended by crawgarden has beautiful fall flowers. Anyway, here is my response to you earlier today-

The plants I suggested don't take up much room, especially rue anemone, a charming and delicate early spring ephemeral. I was thinking you could aim for a constant display of blooms, but if you look at a natural forest where they grow, spring flowers appear and then disappear in a few weeks. Bloodroot does retain its leaves, but I find them very attractive and not too big. Rue anemone have tiny leaves and they are gone within a month or two of the time they flower. Foamflower do retain their leaves also, but again they aren't too large. Many foamflower have been developed with an assortment of leaves and flowers, so you could choose one you especially like versus just going with the wild form.

A lot of your choices depend on personal taste, but I think where possible it's good to include at least some natives, and also consider having a long bloom period. The lenten rose for me starts flowering in January, with snow on it, so that would start your year off with color and since it keeps its leaves give some structure. If you search for bloom times, you should be able to have a succession of blooms through much of the year, which I always try to do in my garden. Your choices seem good and appropriate for your climate and space so for now I wouldn't remove anything. Realistically, some plants will remove themselves, since it's rare to have 100% gardening success.

In terms of evergreens, I'm not too familiar with the non-natives, but there are some shade tolerant dwarf rhododendrons that might be appealing, depending on your taste. I know some evergreens like yews and Canadian hemlocks do well in shade, but am not sure if there are dwarf forms, and if they would be available at your nursery.
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