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GARDENS BY THE BAY


Anemone blanda

SHADE PERENNIALS & THEIR COMPANIONS - 1

Consider yourself fortunate if you have areas of shade in which to garden. Wonderful choices of shade-tolerant perennials are available today. What to plant with those shade-lovers may be more difficult to determine. Keep in mind there are different types and degrees of shade. Browse through the suggestions below to find companions that will complement perennials already in your gardens.


* Watch for the animated hummingbird and butterfly with the plants that attract them. *
The deer icon indicates plants that deer are not usually attracted to.

The best time and method to propagate plants can be found on our image-intensive PROPAGATION page.

To help your plants grow their best, check out our FERTILIZATION page.

To create your own plant partnerships based on tried and true color theory, check out our GARDEN COLOR page.

To see if a particular plant is on this page press Ctrl+F, type in the name, then click the Find button.


AEGOPODIUM

Goutweed, Goat's Foot and Snow-On-The-Mountain are all common names for a lovely green and white foliaged perennial. If you don't believe it is invasive, just mention any of these names to gardeners and watch them shiver. We've all tried it and come to regret it. If you absolutely must give it a try, plant it in a pot or somewhere its rapid spread can be controlled.

Aegopodium podagraria 'Variegatum':  Goutweed, an invasive ground cover, 12-18" tall

    Aegopodium podagraria
    where:  under trees, shrubs, in shaded corners
      with:  Hemerocallis, Ivy, Pachysandra
    For more about this lovely but fast-spreading plant, follow the link below.

  • Aegopodium with variegated foliage

  • AJUGA

    Bugleweed, which grows in sun or part shade, can be used as a spreading groundcover. Flower spikes are showy in late spring. Select forms with attractive foliage, there are many such, for a prolonged effect.

    Ajuga reptans:  Common Bugleweed, 4-10"x12-18"

    Ajuga reptans 'Burgundy Glow':  bright blue flowers;  bronze, green, white and pink variegated foliage
      with:  Crocus goulimyi (lavender-blue) for August bloom
    Ajuga 'Silver Beauty'
      with:  wildflowers, ferns
    If blue is your colour, you may wish to check out the forms of this genus at the link below.

  • blue-flowered Ajuga
  • Ajuga with silver foliage
  • Ajuga with variegated foliage

  • ANEMONE

    The Windflower family has members that bloom in every season. Not all do well in shade, but those below will lighten up your shady corners.

    Anemone:  spring-blooming types

      where:  shade under shrubs and trees
        with:  low-growing woodland wildflowers, bulbs & ferns
      Anemone blanda:  Grecian Windflower, 6-8"x6"
        Anemone blanda
        this wonderful plant can be seen in the border around this page and in the photos at the top of the page and just above
          under:  shade trees;  sow sweet alyssum on top to hide dying foliage
            among:  other colours, i.e. blue, white, pink of other Anemone blanda
              with spring bulbs:  early Tulipa and miniature Narcissus
                with:  Tulipa praestans 'Fusilier', Tulipa tarda, Muscari
                  with:  woodland wildflowers, bulbs & ferns
                    with:  smaller Hosta forms
                      with:  Crocus, Scilla
                        with:  Aquilegia, Dicentra eximia, Pulmonaria, Tiarella cordifolia
                          planted in drifts under:  shrubs
                            to follow:  Iris (dwarf beardless types from bulbs)
                          Anemone blanda 'White Splendor':  pure white with yellow centres
                            where :  rock gardens, shady bowers
                              with :  Trillium cuneatum (maroon flowers & mottled foliage)
                            Anemone nemerosa:  Wood Anemone, 4-10"x6"
                              where:  shaded deciduous woodsy areas
                                with :  early Narcissus
                                  with :  delicate ferns or Hosta to disguise bare spots left during dormancy
                                    under :  Vinca minor
                                  Anemone nemerosa 'Robinsoniana':  bright lavender-blue
                                    with :  Helleborus
                                  Anemone sylvestris:  Snowdrop Anemone, spring and fall blooms
                                    Anemone sylvestris
                                    where:  bright woodlands, sunny wild gardens
                                      with:  ferns, Phlox, Dicentra spectabilis, Campanula spp.
                                        to co-bloom with:  Iris cristata & Mertensia virginica
                                          over:  spring bulbs
                                            combined with:  Dianthus deltoides (red) & Myosotis alpestris 'Victoria Dark Blue'
                                          Many more Anemone choices and their preferred partners can be found below.

                                        • blue Anemones
                                        • pink Anemones
                                        • white Anemones

                                        • AQUILEGIA

                                          No garden is complete without Columbines, in their variety of sizes and colours. If Columbine Leaf Miner spoils the appearance of the foliage, and it will, just cut the plant back and fresh, pest-free growth will appear and persist throughout the remainder of the gardening season.

                                          Aquilegia canadensis:  Wild Columbine, Canadian Columbine, 24-30"x12"

                                          Aquilegia flabellata var. nana alba:  Fan Columbine, 8-10"x8"
                                            Aquilegia flabellata 'Blue Angel' - Japanese Fan Columbine
                                            note:  the form in the image above is the lovely blue Aquilegia flabellata 'Blue Angel'
                                              with :  Adiantum pedatum
                                            Aquilegia vulgaris
                                              Aquilegia vulgaris
                                              seen in the photo above between Hosta fortunei 'Aureo-marginata' and Hosta 'Carnival'
                                                where:  light to moderate shade, against shrubs, perfect in a Hosta garden
                                                  note:  will attract hummingbirds
                                                Get information on growing and using Columbines to good effect at the pages below.

                                              • pink Columbines
                                              • red Columbines
                                              • white Columbines
                                              • Columbines to attract Hummingbirds

                                              • ARISAEMA

                                                If your shade is deep, try Jack-In-The-Pulpit, one of our earliest wildflowers. Flowers are followed by bright red berries.

                                                Arisaema triphyllum:  Jack-In-The-Pulpit, 12-24"x12-18"

                                                  Arisaema triphyllum - Jack in the Pulpit Arisaema triphyllum - Jack in the Pulpit
                                                  where:  among low wildflowers, groundcovers, under shrubs, flowering trees
                                                    with:  ferns, Dicentra eximia, Sanguinaria canadensis, Hosta


                                                  ARUM

                                                  Arum, another excellent woodland plant, is a spring bloomer whose white flowers appear in May, followed by orange berries in summer. It is not until fall however that its exotic, arrow-shaped foliage puts in an appearance.

                                                  Arum italicum 'Pictum':  Painted Arum, 12-18"x12"

                                                    Arum italicum 'Pictum'
                                                    with:  a winter-dormant fern to fill the gap during dormancy
                                                  Follow the link below for more information about this plant.

                                                • Arum with variegated foliage

                                                • ARUNCUS

                                                  Goatsbeard, a moisture-loving perennial, has a choice of tall or short forms, all with creamy-white flowers in summer. Foliage is often called "handsome".

                                                  Aruncus aethusifolius:  Korean Goatsbeard, Dwarf Goatsbeard

                                                    with:  Asarum europaeum
                                                  Aruncus dioicus:  Goatsbeard, 4-6'x3'
                                                    Aruncus dioicus
                                                    where:  lightly shaded woodlands, accent with flowering shrubs, rear of perennial borders
                                                      with:  groundcovers, wildflowers
                                                        behind:  Iris sibirica (esp. purple forms), Allium giganteum, ferns
                                                          with:  Campanula lactiflora (lavender)
                                                            behind:  Campanula latifolia (deep purple-violet)
                                                          Aruncus dioicus 'Kneiffii':  3'
                                                            where:  smaller gardens, pondside
                                                              behind:  Geranium x 'Johnson's Blue'
                                                            More Goatsbeard information is to be found below.

                                                          • white Goatsbeard

                                                          • ASARUM

                                                            The Gingers, both native and European, are choice woodland plants, grown for their foliage. I much prefer the European form with its dark green, shiny leaves. The fact that it seeds itself around my dry shady areas is a wonderful bonus.

                                                            Asarum canadense:  Canada Wild Ginger, 6-12"

                                                              where:  as a groundcover, along pathways, in shaded rock gardens
                                                                with:  wildflowers, Hosta, ferns, Trillium, Tiarella
                                                                  over miniature bulbs:   Crocus, Scilla
                                                                Asarum europaeum:  European Wild Ginger, 6-8"x12"
                                                                  Asarum europaeum
                                                                  where:  alongside a path, groundcover in shade, shaded rock gardens or woodlands
                                                                    with:  ferns (esp. lacy types), wildflowers, Phlox divaricata 'Laphamii', dwarf Narcissus, Aruncus aesthusifolius
                                                                      with:  Polygonatum humile (rare & choice)


                                                                    ASTER

                                                                    Most of the asters we grow prefer full sun, but there are some that put on their best performance when given shady woodland conditions.

                                                                    Aster:  shade-loving types

                                                                      with foliage plants:   Hosta, Bergenia, Pulmonaria
                                                                    Aster dumosus:  from 12-24"x12"
                                                                      with:  Molinia caerulea spp. arundinacea
                                                                    Want to get into the sun with your Asters? Try some of numerous available forms at the links below.

                                                                  • numerous Asters
                                                                  • blue Asters
                                                                  • pink Asters
                                                                  • purple Asters
                                                                  • white Asters

                                                                  • ASTILBE

                                                                    The shady conditions these plants prefer can be described as light shade to filtered sun. If you also give them the moisture they crave, they will amaze you with the wonderful show they provide during late spring and summer.

                                                                    Astilbe:  Astilbe, False Spirea

                                                                      beside:  pond or stream in evenly moist soil
                                                                        with other moisture-lovers:   Hosta, ferns, Alchemilla mollis, Pulmonaria, Dicentra
                                                                          with:  blue, purple or lilac shades, esp. Phlox paniculata
                                                                            with:  Hosta (broad-leaved, untoothed, for foliage combination)
                                                                              with:  fine ferns
                                                                                offset in front of:  Hosta & ferns with Alchemilla mollis in front of all
                                                                                  with:  Aquilegia, Bergenia, Cimicifuga, Hemerocallis (esp. yellow), Japanese Iris
                                                                                    with:  Lilium, Lythrum, Phlox arendsii (white and pink), Tricyrtis hirta
                                                                                      interplanted with:  Tulipa spp. & other hardy spring bulbs (to hide their fading foliage)
                                                                                        combined with:  flowers (white and lilac) of Hosta
                                                                                          foliage as foil for:  perennials with large, undivided leaves
                                                                                            as contrast, offset in front of:  tall, upright-to-arching Ornamental Grasses
                                                                                              to soften:  strap-like leaves of Hemerocallis
                                                                                                echo with:  red emerging Astilbe foliage to complement the rose or white early flowers of Bergenia
                                                                                              Astilbe:  pink
                                                                                                Astilbe - an unnamed pink form
                                                                                                with:  same combos as for Astilbe above
                                                                                              Astilbe:  red
                                                                                                with:  Lythrum
                                                                                              Astilbe:  white
                                                                                                Astilbe - an unnamed white form
                                                                                                with:  Astilbe (other colours), Allium 'Globemaster'
                                                                                              Astilbe x arendsii:  Astilbe, 2-4'x24-30"
                                                                                                with:  Pulmonaria, Hosta, wildflowers, ferns, Iris, Polygonatum, Alchemilla mollis, Iris sibirica
                                                                                              Astilbe x arendsii 'Bridal Veil':  white Mid-season Astilbe, 2' tall
                                                                                                with:  early-flowering Oriental Lilies
                                                                                              Astilbe x arendsii 'Fire':  coral-red Midseason Astilbe
                                                                                                with:  Astilbe (white varieties)
                                                                                              Astilbe chinensis 'Pumila':  dwarf pink Astilbe, 10" tall
                                                                                                where:  front of border position
                                                                                                  combined with:  Asarum europaeum, Athyrium goeringianum 'Pictum', Hosta sieboldiana 'Elegans',
                                                                                                    Polygonatum odoratum 'Variegatum' & Convallaris majalis
                                                                                                Astilbe thunbergii 'Ostrich Plume':  Thunberg's Astilbe 'Ostrich Plume':  coral-pink, 30-36"x24"
                                                                                                  Astilbe 'Ostrich Plume'
                                                                                                  uses:  borders, cutting, drying
                                                                                                    arching plumes are a wonderful accent in a shady spot
                                                                                                  Are your gardens alluring? You might be able to add some dazzle with the use of the complementary partners found at the links below.

                                                                                                • Astilbe as edgers
                                                                                                • pink Astilbe
                                                                                                • white Astilbe

                                                                                                • ATHYRIUM

                                                                                                  The Lady Ferns are both vigorous and attractive, forming clumps with almost feathery looking fronds. In part shade with evenly moist soil they can quickly provide a ground cover effect.

                                                                                                  Athyrium filix-femina:  Lady Fern

                                                                                                    Athyrium filix-femina - Lady Fern
                                                                                                    where:  full sun or shade with medium moisture

                                                                                                  Athyrium nipponicum 'Pictum':  Japanese Painted Fern, 12- 24"x12"

                                                                                                    Athyrium nipponicum 'Pictum' - Japanese Painted Fern
                                                                                                    synonym:  Athyrium goeringianum 'Pictum'
                                                                                                      where :  partial shade, moist soil
                                                                                                        with :  early spring bulbs
                                                                                                          combined with :  Convallaria majalis, Asarum europeum, Astilbe chinensis 'Pumila', Hosta sieboldiana 'Elegans'
                                                                                                            & Polygonatum odoratum 'Variegatum'
                                                                                                          with :  Ajuga 'Catlin's Giant'
                                                                                                        There is more information and companionship ideas at the link below.

                                                                                                      • Athyrium with silver foliage
                                                                                                      • Athyrium with variegated foliage

                                                                                                      • BEGONIA

                                                                                                        The name Begonia normally calls to mind only annual forms. The Hardy Begonia, however, is hardy to Zone 6 (Zone 5 with protection) and has both lovely foliage and delicate pink flowers.

                                                                                                        Begonia grandis:  Hardy Begonia, Zone 6, 1-2'x12"

                                                                                                          in front of:  fine-textured, tall ferns
                                                                                                            in front of:  dark-leaved plants i.e. Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red'
                                                                                                          Begonia grandis spp. evansiana
                                                                                                            where:  in rich, moist, well-drained soil in shade
                                                                                                              with:  Hosta, ferns, woodland plants
                                                                                                            Follow the link below for more information on this genus.

                                                                                                          • pink hardy Begonia

                                                                                                          • BRUNNERA

                                                                                                            Siberian Bugloss will thrive in light to full shade, where it delights with its forget-me-not type flowers and bold foliage, which can sometimes be variegated. Without sufficient moisture, these plants may go dormant so keep well watered in dry periods. Some variegated forms revert to solid green. There are those which do not revert so choose your variegated plants well.

                                                                                                            Brunnera macrophylla:  Siberian Bugloss, 12-18"x18"

                                                                                                              where:  groundcover under trees/shrubs
                                                                                                                with:  bright yellow Narcissus, other spring bulbs
                                                                                                                  with:  Dicentra, Doronicum orientale
                                                                                                                    with shade-loving foliage plants:  Epimedium, Geranium x cantabrigiense 'Biokovo', Pulmonaria, Hosta
                                                                                                                      with:  ferns, wildflowers
                                                                                                                    Brunnera macrophylla:  sky-blue
                                                                                                                      with:  Dicentra eximia
                                                                                                                        with:  Tulipa (pink & white) beside Dicentra spectabilis (pink), all backed by Allium aflatunense 'Purple Sensation',
                                                                                                                          all behind an edging of Stachys byzantina 'Silver Carpet' & in front of Syringa vulgaris shrubs
                                                                                                                      Brunnera macrophylla 'Variegata':  
                                                                                                                        Brunnera macrophylla 'Variegata'
                                                                                                                        this form has gradually produced more solid green leaves although a touch of variegation can still be seen in the lower
                                                                                                                          and upper left of the image above
                                                                                                                        the spring-blooming forget-me-not flowers continue to be a delight
                                                                                                                          many self-sown seedlings have appeared despite the dry shade location and it will be interesting to see whether
                                                                                                                            they have any variegation at all in subsequent summers
                                                                                                                        You will find more information by following the link below.

                                                                                                                      • Brunnera with silvery foliage
                                                                                                                      • Brunnera with variegated foliage

                                                                                                                      • CIMICIFUGA

                                                                                                                        Bugbane, also known as Black Cohosh and Snakeroot, is a superb plant for the rear of a shady border. Its tall branching spikes of flowers tower over handsome foliage that will remain effective until the first frosts. Reclassification has changed the name of this genus to Actaea.

                                                                                                                        Cimicifuga spp.:  Bugbane, Black Cohosh, Snakeroot

                                                                                                                          now:  Actaea
                                                                                                                            shape contrast behind:  fanning Hosta
                                                                                                                          Cimicifuga racemosa:  Black Snakeroot, 3-5'x2'
                                                                                                                            Cimicifuga racemosa
                                                                                                                            where:  rear-border position, in woodland gardens
                                                                                                                              with rounded plants:  Phlox paniculata, Geranium
                                                                                                                                with:  Hemerocallis, Phlox paniculata (esp. pink forms), medium-height ferns, Hemerocallis, Lythrum (rose),
                                                                                                                                  Astilbe (crimson), wildflowers
                                                                                                                                behind:  Lobelia cardinalis, Filipendula rubra 'Venusta'
                                                                                                                                  combined with:   hardy Lilium (white) & Phlox paniculata (pink)
                                                                                                                                    behind:  Hosta (esp. broad-leaved forms), Hosta (blue-leaved forms)
                                                                                                                                  Cimicifuga simplex ramosa:  3-6', very late-blooming (October in my Zone 5 gardens)
                                                                                                                                    with rounded plants for contrast:  Phlox, Geranium
                                                                                                                                      with:  pink Phlox, medium height ferns, taller Lilium i.e. Trumpets and Orientals, blue-leaved Hosta, rose Lythrum,
                                                                                                                                        Hemerocallis, crimson Astilbe, Filipendula rubra 'Venusta', Iris, Papaver
                                                                                                                                      with:  Achillea, Ornamental Grasses, Aster 'Crimson Brocade' (tall, pink)
                                                                                                                                        behind:  Lobelia cardinalis
                                                                                                                                      Need more information about growing these perennials? Try the link below.

                                                                                                                                    • white Black Snakeroot

                                                                                                                                    • CONVALLARIA

                                                                                                                                      Just mention the name Lily-of-the-Valley and you can almost catch the scent of the nodding bell-shaped flowers of this quick-spreading groundcover plant.

                                                                                                                                      Convallaria majalis:  Lily-of-the-Valley, 6-8"x12"

                                                                                                                                        Convallaria majalis - Lily of the Valley
                                                                                                                                        where:  edging in shrub border, ground cover under trees & shrubs
                                                                                                                                          with:  early bulbs
                                                                                                                                            with:  May-blooming blue Phlox i.e. Phlox borealis, Phlox x chatahoochee, Phlox divaricata, Phlox douglasii,
                                                                                                                                              Phlox maculata, Phlox stolonifera, Phlox subulata
                                                                                                                                          If you want to try something different, follow the link below and see what's available.

                                                                                                                                        • Lily-of-the-Valley with variegated foliage

                                                                                                                                        • CORYDALIS

                                                                                                                                          Corydalis, pronounced koh-RIDD-uh-liss, has tubular flowers that grow in clusters on upright stems over ferny foliage. Not all are yellow as evidenced by the first cultivar mentioned below.

                                                                                                                                          Corydalis flexuosa 'Blue Panda':  sky-coloured Blue Corydalis, 8-12"x12"

                                                                                                                                            where:  shaded rockery
                                                                                                                                          Corydalis lutea:  Golden Corydalis, 8-12"x12"
                                                                                                                                            Corydalis lutea - Golden Corydalis
                                                                                                                                            where:  woodland edge, with cool, moisture-retentive, well-drained soil, in a rock wall or on a slope
                                                                                                                                              in front of:  Polemonium caeruleum
                                                                                                                                            If you love this genus and want to know more, use the following links for additional information.

                                                                                                                                          • yellow Corydalis

                                                                                                                                          • DENNSTAEDTIA

                                                                                                                                            This may be one form that you plant only after careful consideration for it is not intended for small gardens. It has spreading tendencies so would be best limited to use in large areas that need to be filled quickly.

                                                                                                                                            Dennstaedtia punctilobula:  Hayscented Fern

                                                                                                                                              where:  ground cover in sun or shade (may be invasive)
                                                                                                                                                with:  naturalized Lilium or Narcissus


                                                                                                                                              DICENTRA

                                                                                                                                              Bleeding Heart is a wonderful plant for somewhat shaded conditions, although it will tolerate full sun with adequate moisture. And surprisingly, it is a good candidate for cutting.

                                                                                                                                              Dicentra:  Bleeding Heart

                                                                                                                                                where:  shade gardens with ample moisture
                                                                                                                                                  with:  Tricyrtis hirta, Aquilegia, Epimedium, Phlox divaricata, Tiarella cordifolia
                                                                                                                                                    interplanted with spring bulbs:  Tulipa spp., dwarf Narcissus forms
                                                                                                                                                      massed among:  ferns, Hosta, Mertensia virginica, Polygonatum odoratum

                                                                                                                                                    Dicentra eximia:  dwarf Fringed Bleeding Heart, 10-18"

                                                                                                                                                      where:  shaded border or woodland garden
                                                                                                                                                        in front of:  Pulmonaria and Hosta
                                                                                                                                                          with:  wildflowers, late season Tulipa, Narcissus, ferns
                                                                                                                                                            with:  Brunnera macrophylla (sometimes called Anchusa myosotidiflora)
                                                                                                                                                              over:  Endymion hispanicus (Scilla campanulata)

                                                                                                                                                            Dicentra eximia:  soft pinks

                                                                                                                                                              with:  Phlox stolonifera

                                                                                                                                                            Dicentra eximia 'Alba':  white Fringed Bleeding Heart, 12"x12"

                                                                                                                                                              where:  woodland gardens in bright shade, moist soil
                                                                                                                                                                with:  Athyrium niponicum (Japanese Painted Fern), Rhododendron 'Scintillation'
                                                                                                                                                              Dicentra x 'Luxuriant':  reddish-pink hybrid Fringed Bleeding Heart, 12-16"x12"
                                                                                                                                                                where:  partly shaded, moist sites, as an edger, in containers
                                                                                                                                                                  note:   blooms best with some direct sun
                                                                                                                                                                    with:  see Dicentra eximia 'Alba'
                                                                                                                                                                  Dicentra spectabilis:  Old-Fashioned Bleeding Heart, 24-30"x24"
                                                                                                                                                                    where:  in woodland setting
                                                                                                                                                                      with:  early dwarf perennials, ferns, wildflowers, groundcovers
                                                                                                                                                                        with:  spring bulbs, late season Tulipa, Primula, Hosta
                                                                                                                                                                          with:  Coreopsis, Iris, Primula, Phlox divaricata, Aquilegia, hardy Geranium spp.
                                                                                                                                                                            with:  Astilbe chinensis 'Pumila' (dwarf), Astilbe chinensis 'Sprite' (dwarf)
                                                                                                                                                                              with bulbs:  Narcissus, Tulipa (esp. pink cultivars 'Esther', 'Rosy Wings' or 'Smiling Queen')
                                                                                                                                                                                to follow:  spring Crocus
                                                                                                                                                                                  above:  Polemonium, Brunnera macrophylla
                                                                                                                                                                                    in front of:  Gypsophila paniculata (to cover space during mid-summer dormancy)
                                                                                                                                                                                      behind:  Veronica 'Crater Lake Blue'
                                                                                                                                                                                        beside:  Mertensia virginica, Phlox divaricata 'Alba', Paeonia, Dicentra spectabilis (white-flowered)
                                                                                                                                                                                      Dicentra spectabilis 'Alba':  white Old-Fashioned Bleeding Heart
                                                                                                                                                                                        Dicentra spectabilis 'Alba' - white Bleeding Heart
                                                                                                                                                                                        behind:  white or other-coloured Tulipa
                                                                                                                                                                                          with:  pink-flowered Dicentra spectabilis
                                                                                                                                                                                        There is more information on this genus at the links below.

                                                                                                                                                                                      • pink Bleeding Heart
                                                                                                                                                                                      • white Bleeding Heart

                                                                                                                                                                                      • DISPORUM

                                                                                                                                                                                        Fairy Bells or Mandarin are both common names for this rhizomatous perennial that prefers moist conditions and part to full shade.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Disporum sessile:  Japanese Fairy Bells, white, 12-24"

                                                                                                                                                                                          where:  partial to full shade
                                                                                                                                                                                            with:  Hosta, Astilbe, ferns
                                                                                                                                                                                              with wildflowers:  Phlox divaricata, Polemonium reptans, Tiarella cordifolia


                                                                                                                                                                                            DODECATHEON

                                                                                                                                                                                            Left to spread out in either sun or shade, the basal rosettes of attractive foliage of Shooting Star will be topped by flowers with reflexed petals behind front points that look like tiny darts. Try them - you will not be disappointed. They do go dormant after blooming so plant them among other leafy perennials that will spread into the space they vacate.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Dodecatheon meadia:  Shooting Star, rose-pink/yellow band, 12-24"x6"

                                                                                                                                                                                              Dodecatheon meadia
                                                                                                                                                                                              where:  woodland gardens
                                                                                                                                                                                                in shade with:  dwarf Hosta, woodland Phlox, Primula, Polemonium reptans, Asarum, ferns, Aquilegia spp,
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Epimedium spp. (in rock gardens)
                                                                                                                                                                                                generally with:  mounding plants i.e. Filipendula rubra, ferns
                                                                                                                                                                                                  among:  leafy plants to hide bare spots during dormancy
                                                                                                                                                                                                    with:  roses, Iris, Hemerocallis, Phlox, daisies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      with:  Monarda, Campanula, Echinacea purpurea, Ornamental Grasses
                                                                                                                                                                                                        with:  blue Delphinium, Perovskia atriplicifolia, Tanacetum, Valeriana officianalis
                                                                                                                                                                                                          combined with:  Achillea, Geranium 'Ann Folkard', Ophiopogon planiscapus (black mondo grass),
                                                                                                                                                                                                            yellow-flowered Salvia glutinosa, Heuchera americana 'Velvet Knight' & Miscanthus sinensis 'Tiger Cub' (dwarf zebra grass)
                                                                                                                                                                                                        You will love this perennial with its cyclamen-like flowers. Follow the link below for more ideas and information.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • pink Shooting Star

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • ENDYMION

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Spring would not be complete without the late spring bloom of the Wood Hyacinths. They will bring colour to your shady borders with their nodding bell-shaped flowers, generally in blue, white or pink, growing on graceful stems above the strappy foliage. Also known as Scilla campanulata, formerly called Scilla hispanica, the correct and current name is Hyacinthoides hispanicus. In my garden this is the last of the spring bulbs to bloom.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Endymion hispanicus:  Spanish Bluebells, Spanish Squill

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Endymion hispanicus - a purple form
                                                                                                                                                                                                          with:  ferns, late Narcissus, tall, late Tulipa (any colour), Iris (cream or yellow) intermediate
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Endymion hispanicus:  a white form
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Endymion hispanicus - a purple form
                                                                                                                                                                                                          with:  ferns, Primula, Trillium


                                                                                                                                                                                                        EPIMEDIUM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Barrenwort bears starry flowers in spring, but is valued for its semi-evergreen foliage which appears when bloom is finished. The attractive leaves turn bronze in cold weather thus providing a show in more than one season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Epimedium:  Barrenwort - some forms "clump", some "spread"

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Epimedium
                                                                                                                                                                                                          where:  groundcover in (dry) shade or woodland gardens
                                                                                                                                                                                                            with:  Astilbe, Hosta, Primula, Anemone, Helleborus
                                                                                                                                                                                                              with:  wildflowers, bulbs, ferns
                                                                                                                                                                                                                interplanted with spring bulbs:  Narcissus, Tulipa, Muscari, Hyacinthoides hispanica
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  (synonyms - Endymion hispanicus, Scilla campanulata)
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Epimedium x versicolor:  Persian Epimedium, 10-12"x12"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                with:  Hosta, wildflowers, ferns, spring bulbs, Helleborus, Primula


                                                                                                                                                                                                              ERANTHIS

                                                                                                                                                                                                              The Aconite bears masses of yellow blooms that can make a woodland area come alive for a brief time in early spring. Don't wait until tulip or daffodil planting time to get these bulbs into the ground however. They need to be planted in late August at the latest to perform their best.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Eranthis hyemalis:  Winter Aconite

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Eranthis hyemalis - Winter Aconite
                                                                                                                                                                                                                where:  shade, woodland banks, as a carpeter in shrub borders
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  under:  Cornus
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    with:  Iris reticulata
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      combined with:  Scilla sibirica, Scilla tubergeniana, Chionodoxa luciliae & Crocus
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        complementary bloom time:  Galanthus nivalis, Scilla bifolia (the earliest-blooming squill)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The perfect bulb for shade, Eranthis has wonderful partners that prefer the same conditions. Check them out below.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Eranthis bulbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • ERYTHRONIUM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Another woodlander, the Dogtooth Violet, has nodding blooms in late spring to early summer. Foliage is mottled and provides an element of interest in dappled shade even when the plant is out of bloom.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Erythronium:  Trout Lily, Avalanche Lily

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        where:  part shade, in woodsy, constantly moist soil
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          under shrubs:  Philadelphus or Kolkwitzia
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            with:  spring bulbs, wildflowers, early perennials, ferns
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              among:  foliage plants (to hide gaps they leave in mid-summer) i.e. Hosta, Pulmonaria spp., Dicentra eximia,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Dicentra formosa
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Erythronium dens-canis:  Dogtooth Violet, 4-6"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              where:  light to moderately-deep shade
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                with:  Anemone blanda 'White Splendor'
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  among:  Hosta, ferns (to cover spaces during dormancy)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Erythronium x 'Pagoda':  canary-gold
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  in front of:  Narcissus 'Las Vegas'
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                For more about this plant, you might want to try the link below.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Trout Lily with variegated foliage

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • FOR MORE PERENNIALS THAT PREFER SHADY SPOTS IN YOUR GARDEN, FOLLOW THE LINKS BELOW.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                All of our own Gardens By The Bay pages can be accessed by clicking on the links below.


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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                PLANT PARTNERSHIPS

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                BLUE PERENNIALS    Aconitum - Geranium  |  Iris - Vinca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                BULBS    Allium - Hyacinthus  |  Narcissus only  |  Tulipa only  |  Minor Bulbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                BUTTERFLY MAGNETS    Anaphalis - Hemerocallis  |  Liatris - Veronicastrum
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DAYLILIES      Spider & Unusual Form

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                EDGERS    Arabis - Iris  |  Nepeta - Veronica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                FOLIAGE PERENNIALS     Alchemilla - Tanacetum

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                HOSTA    Hosta - all

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                HUMMINGBIRD-FRIENDLY PERENNIALS    Alcea - Salvia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ORANGE PERENNIALS    Achillea - Tulipa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ORNAMENTAL GRASSES    Acorus - Imperata |  Miscanthus - Spodiopogon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                PINK PERENNIALS    Achillea - Lilium  |  Lychnis - Veronica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                PURPLE PERENNIALS    Aconitum - Liatris  |  Polemonium - Veronica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                RED PERENNIALS    Achillea - Veronica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                SHADE PERENNIALS    Aegopodium - Erythronium  |  Ferns - Polemonium  |  Polygonatum - Vinca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                SILVER FOLIAGE PERENNIALS    Achillea - Cerastium    |    Cornus - Limonium    |    Lunaria - Veronica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                SIMPLY SPECIAL PERENNIALS    Acanthus - Saxifraga

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                WHITE PERENNIALS    Achillea - Iris  |  Kalimeris - Yucca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                YELLOW PERENNIALS    Achillea - Hypericum  |  Inula - Verbascum

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                VARIEGATED-FOLIAGE PERENNIALS    Acorus - Erythronium  |  Hakonechloa - Lysimachia  |  Miscanthus - Yucca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                PLANT PROFILES

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Dianthus 'Tiny Rubies'  |  Geranium  |  Geum coccineum  |  Kerria japonica  |  Knautia macedonica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Paeonia tenuifolia  |  Papaver somniferum  |  Rudbeckia  |  Salvia 'East Friesland'

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Trollius  |  Veronica 'Sunny Border Blue'

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                PROPAGATION

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DIVISION - SPRING ONLY  |   DIVISION - FALL ONLY  |   DIVISION - SPRING OR FALL  |   DO NOT DIVIDE

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                FERTILIZATION

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