Photo by Holly Neel
Shady garden areas are among the most challenging for gardeners. While brightly hued blooms often play second fiddle in a shade garden, the real standouts are perennials, shrubs, and trees with colorful foliage and interesting textures or forms.
For this near-symmetrical shade garden, the designer combined multiple leaf textures to create a cool, calming space meant to flank a walkway or garden path. Plant this 21-by-23-foot shady nook at the front or rear of a home, or next to a patio or deck. All the plants found in this garden require less than four hours of sun per day and are cold-hardy down to minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Emperor I® Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) ‘Wolff ’ (1)
- Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra) ‘All Gold’ (6)
- Emerald Spreader® Japanese yew (Taxus cuspidata) ‘Monloo’ (6)
- Bigleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) ‘All Summer Beauty’ (6)
- Coral bells (Heuchera micrantha var. diversifolia) ‘Palace Purple’ (6)
- Hosta (Hosta) ‘Golden Tiara’ (6)
- Hosta (Hosta) ‘Blue Angel’ (6)
- Japanese painted fern (Athyrium niponicum var. pictum) (12)
- northern Lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina var. angustum) ‘Lady in Red’ (11)
Jessica Walliser co-hosts “The Organic Gardeners,” an award-winning radio program, and is a regular contributor to multiple national gardening magazines. This is an excerpt from her book Gardener’s Guide to Compact Plants (Cool Springs Press).