Mid Atlantic Gardening forum: Looking for Plant Suggestions: Asian Shade Garden

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Name: Mike
Baltimore, MD (Zone 7b)
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EvergreenMike
Dec 19, 2016 10:15 PM CST
With winter in full swing, I've turned my attention to researching and planning my next project, the backyard. The area is rather small, about 60'x100'. It's almost entirely shaded by very tall trees and backs up to a small stream. My goal is to create an exotic world away from the world using exclusively evergreens. I have two main inspirations and therefore different garden sections. The first is a formal Japanese style garden; picture manicured conifers, bamboo, and maybe even a bonsai section! The second came to me while watching a documentary on the Himalayan Cloud Forests. I saw verdant jungle-like scenes with tall broad leaved trees covered in moss, vines, and epiphytes, beautiful vast subcanopies of rhododendrons, and forest floors covered in tropical looking palms and ferns. Not a single drop of sunlight was unutilized. Come to find out these cloud forests can experience subfreezing temperatures during the cold season, which makes sense considering they're in the mountains. It was surreal seeing what appeared to be a tropical jungle covered in snow... And the plants even retained their leaves!! Lovey dubby Anyway... I decided I wanted to create a similar aesthetic in my own back yard. Many of the same plants should be hardy here, if they have some heat tolerance.

If you have any plant suggestions or ideas for features, structures, ect feel free to share!! I'll be updating regularly as I research.
Name: Terri
Lucketts, VA (Zone 7a)
Region: Mid-Atlantic Region: Virginia Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Deer Ponds
Foliage Fan Ferns Hellebores Irises Peonies Amaryllis
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aspenhill
Dec 20, 2016 12:11 PM CST
Mike, what another cool project! I am very familiar with shade plants, but not with evergreen shade plants Sighing! The only thing that comes to mind is Hakone grass - it would look good in a Japanese style garden, does well in shade, and is evergreen. I'll be curious to see what your research turns up Thumbs up
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Critters Allowed Region: Arizona Xeriscape Greenhouse Annuals
Cactus and Succulents Bromeliad Adeniums Orchids Tropicals Plumerias
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plantmanager
Dec 20, 2016 12:17 PM CST
What a wonderful idea, and I know you will create a beautiful area! I'm sure you've searched images for Japanese gardens. There are some beautiful ideas and maybe you can find more plants from them.
https://www.bing.com/images/se...
Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!
Name: Mike
Baltimore, MD (Zone 7b)
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EvergreenMike
Dec 20, 2016 2:00 PM CST
Evergreen climbing hydrangea:

H.Integrifolia
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H. Seemannii
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Both are zone 7 aerial root climbers to 30'+. They produce white lace cap flowers like most hydrangea. Thrive in full shade.


Name: Mike
Baltimore, MD (Zone 7b)
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EvergreenMike
Dec 20, 2016 2:07 PM CST
Honey Bush (Melianthus Major)

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Only marginally hardy in zone 7. This one prefers a bit more sun but will tolerate part shade. If given a sheltered position and a relatively mild winter it will remain evergreen. May die back in extreme winters, but will return in spring.
Name: Mike
Baltimore, MD (Zone 7b)
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EvergreenMike
Dec 20, 2016 2:16 PM CST
Wood Spurge (Euphorbia sp.)

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Very hardy and tolerant of just about any conditions. There are too many hybrids and varieties to count, with a wide range of colors and foliage.

Name: Mike
Baltimore, MD (Zone 7b)
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EvergreenMike
Dec 20, 2016 2:22 PM CST
Hellebores/Lenten Rose (Hellebores sp.)

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Incredibly hardy and absolutely wonderful in shade. Too many species, hybrids, and varieties to count, but mostly the same conditions. So many color and foliage possibilities!!

Name: Mike
Baltimore, MD (Zone 7b)
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EvergreenMike
Dec 20, 2016 2:27 PM CST
Banana Shrub (Magnolia/Michelia Figo)

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Marginally hardy in zone 7, but should do fine in a sheltered spot in part shade. The fragrance makes this one with the effort. A large shrub to 12'-15'
Name: Mike
Baltimore, MD (Zone 7b)
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EvergreenMike
Dec 20, 2016 2:35 PM CST
Japanese Aralia (Fatsia Japonica)

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Marginally hardy in zone 7, but do fine with a good shady spot. Grows as a medium-large shrub. With such large exotic looking foliage you'd think this would be a goner in our winters... But Fatsia is evergreen to single digits and even more root hardy. For best hardiness choose a variety with finely cut foliage (less transpiration)

Name: Mike
Baltimore, MD (Zone 7b)
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EvergreenMike
Dec 20, 2016 3:28 PM CST
Lily of the Valley (Pieria Japonica)

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A beautiful shrub that thrives is shade. Hardy to zone 5 or 6. New foliage emerges in vibrant red. Flower buds emerge in fall and are decorative by themselves, but then bloom in late winter/early spring, providing a very long showy period. Flowers are white to red and often very sweetly fragrant.
Name: Mike
Baltimore, MD (Zone 7b)
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EvergreenMike
Dec 20, 2016 3:33 PM CST
Leucothoe sp.

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A shade loving small shrub with lovely drooping/cascading form. Hardy to zone 5.



[Last edited by EvergreenMike - Dec 20, 2016 3:34 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1337816 (11)
Name: Mike
Baltimore, MD (Zone 7b)
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EvergreenMike
Dec 20, 2016 3:51 PM CST
Sausage Vine (Holboellia sp.)

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There are a few different species with very similar form and requirements including H. Coriacea, H. Latifolia, and H. Fargesii. These are marginally hardy tall vines that prefer shade. Leaves are palmate Flowers are very fragrant and occasionally produce bizarre sausage like fruit.
Name: Mike
Baltimore, MD (Zone 7b)
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EvergreenMike
Dec 20, 2016 3:56 PM CST
Mountain Laurel (Kalmia Latifolia)

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A very hardy shrub for shade. Produces white to red clusters of unique cup shaped flowers in spring.
Name: Mike
Baltimore, MD (Zone 7b)
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EvergreenMike
Dec 20, 2016 4:01 PM CST
Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior)

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This strappy plant, known for its resilience, was once thought to be an indoor exclusive. It has been discovered to be hardy and evergreen all the way down to zone 6!
Name: Mike
Baltimore, MD (Zone 7b)
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EvergreenMike
Dec 20, 2016 4:04 PM CST
Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon sp.)

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A relatively large genus of evergreen plants with thin strappy foliage.

Name: Judy
Mid Atlantic Coastal Plain USA (Zone 7b)
Butterflies
MariposaMaid
Dec 20, 2016 5:35 PM CST
Aucuba japonica

This article on "Himalayan Cloud Forest Garden' in a park in Washington has some great suggestions and lots of pictures. Rhododendrons!!!
Name: Mike
Baltimore, MD (Zone 7b)
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EvergreenMike
Dec 20, 2016 5:43 PM CST
Great suggestions @MariposaMaid! Thumbs up Fortunately the yard came with some mature Aucuba that I'm going to keep and some Japanese Spurge (Pachysandra Terminalis) as well.
Name: Judy
Mid Atlantic Coastal Plain USA (Zone 7b)
Butterflies
MariposaMaid
Dec 20, 2016 5:43 PM CST
How about ribes larafolium, evergreen currant?
http://plantlust.com/plants/26...

"Evergreen low mounding shrub, racemes of bright chartreuse flowers in winter. Red stems with green leaves. Blooms on previous seasons growth Zone 7-8, 3', China, part shade, moist, humus rich soil.
Name: Judy
Mid Atlantic Coastal Plain USA (Zone 7b)
Butterflies
MariposaMaid
Dec 20, 2016 5:50 PM CST
Oops, forgot to post link to Himalayian Cloud Forest Garden article
https://gardenriots.com/2015/0...

Allegheny Spurge is quite nice and the leaves are silver mottled. Did I mention it is native?
http://www.northcreeknurseries...
Name: Mike
Baltimore, MD (Zone 7b)
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EvergreenMike
Dec 20, 2016 8:32 PM CST
Ribes Laurifolium came up in my research for the front garden as well! It's in the same genus as gooseberries and currants. It's fruit is edible and most resembles a black currant. It would be perfect as a transition plant from the front to the back. It's growth habit would be perfect up against the side of the house.
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