Although this bed looks quite established we only created it 2 years ago.
Beforehand it was "lawn" - struggling to survive underneath a giant purple beech, which stole all the moisture from the ground beneath it.
It's now buzzing with wildlife & didn't cost a fortune to plant, as many are easily grow from seed & then self-seed around or have a creeping habit which spreads to fill in any gaps.
It's all been grown completely organically - without any chemicals or pesticides.
We have given it a thick annual mulch of homemade compost each spring.
Here are some of the perennial & biannual plants & bulbs we used to add spring colour, texture & interest to n area of the garden which was previously struggling.
Lunaria annua Chedglow (The statuesque purple leaved honesty in the centre)
Lunaria Redivia (Perennial honesty with sweetly scented pale lilac flowers)
Tellima Grandiflora (Also know as 'fringe cups - the tiny creamy yellow bells either side of the honesty)
Geranium Macrorrhizum ('big root cranesbill' - the pale pink flowersnodding flowers -middle left of pic)
Arum Italicum Marmoratum('Italian lords & ladies' - arrow shaped dark glossy leaves veined with creamy white followed by orange-red berries - top right of pic)
Allium neopolitanum (short white stary flowers to bottom right of pic)
Allium triquetrum ('3 cornered leek/garlic' - the white bell flowers scattered thoughout the planting - it is extremely invasive so only use if you're prepared to police this plant regularly - white bluebells can be used instead for the same effect)
Lamium (dead nettle - small variegated leaves & tiny pink flowers- great value ground cover)
Myosotis ('forget-me-nots' - these tiny blue flowered annuals are prolific self seeders but not deep rooted so easy to pull out where you don't want them)
If you'd like to visit this garden & see lots of other planting ideas for a shady garden - including a wildlife meadow - it's open to the public on 2nd June:
This great! So these plants are all good for dry shade?
Yes - all these are growing happily in dry shade, with an annual spring mulch to feed & help them. The Allium Neoplitanum prefers it on the edge of the bed - as it also likes sunny conditions.
This website is a very good resource for shade loving plants: https://www.plantsforshade.co.uk/acatalog/Plants_for_Dry_Shade.html
Some gorgeous ideas there too - thanks Jeremy - I hadn't come across this site before.
I love Aster divericatus (wood aster) Brunnera, Epimediums, Gallium (Woodruff) & Tiarellas in particular.
I do use Anemanthele (pheasant grass) sometimes but find it doesn't colour up as well in the shade.
Sadly I've stopped recommending Aquilegia altogether now, as so many beautiful plants have succumbed to the dreadful downey mildew disease over the past couple of years.
I love Woodruff; it’s a great groundcover in the shady areas of my garden. I love it around this time of year. I’m a real fan epimedium, but they can be quite coy with their dainty little flowers. I recently bought a variety with tiny leaves which carries it’s flowers more above the leaves much more. The variety is Youngianum Nivuem (though I love Apple Dictation’s variation of Yummy on Them Live A.M.). I’ll see how it does.
That's such a cute little epimedium Hugh - do hope it does well for you.
Thanks Sally, this is very useful!
Thank you - so glad you'll find it useful.
This is really impressive: It looks amazingly mature after only two years and is well-balanced from low plants at the front rising up in height to the back of the bed. And thanks for reminding me of Honesty. My mother always regarded it as a pestilential weed in her garden but, as a kid, I was always fascinated by its transparent seed pods.
I’m opening my garden as part of the NGS scheme on the May Bank Holiday (Sunday 26th and Monday 27th). It’s going to be looking really good this year. The cold spell and recent rain will ensure that everything is looking fresh and lush. We will have a wide variety of ferns and flowering plants suitable for sun and part-shade on sale, all propagated from plants in the garden. We also run a pop-up cafe where you can enjoy tea and home made cakes, sitting out in the garden, or indoors if wet. And for those who need something a bit stronger than a cup of tea, there’s lashings of home-made ginger beer. Enid Blyton kept very quiet about the alcohol content!
For details of the opening see https://www.ngs.org.uk/find-a-garden/garden/29676/
Your garden looks so lush & beautiful... I will try & pop along. I'm very tempted by the sound of your ferns ..... & homemade ginger beer!
I saw the signs that you open for the NGS last year, as we look after a garden closeby to you at No 45.
I've only recently discovered how useful honesty can be as a border plant.
My friend Jane, whose garden this is, introduced me to Cofu Blue, Chedglow, & the perennial honesty - which has wonderful oval shaped silvery seed cases. All of these don't seed around as freely as other honesty, so are not really a problem in that regard.
Thanks Sally for starting such a great discussion. The border looks fantastic. I think many of us struggle with dry shade, I’d say half my garden falls into this category! I’ve had success with a number of the plants others have mentioned - but one I depend on that hasn’t come up yet is euphorbia amygdaloids (wood spurge). I know it can be a bit of a thug but I love its acid green flowers in early spring and it’s easy enough to pull out if it gets too unruly. Its sap is an irritant though so one to avoid if you’ve kids who might pick things. I’ve also had a lot of luck with hellebores in this same dry patch. I also grow a couple of moisture loving plants in that area, but in pots so that I can control the moisture better.