Planning Your Shady Garden
Not all shade is equal.
Shade can vary from light to dense shade. If shade is dappled from shadows cast by deciduous trees, you can plant a colorful spring garden of sun-loving flowers. (Such as early spring bulbs, crocus, early daffodils, and Spanish Bluebells; and early-blooming perennials, astilbe, American columbine, Virginia bluebells and primroses.)
When planning to use bushes and plants, remember, most large leaf plants like hydrangeas, rhododendrons, and hostas, require less sun than plants with small leaves.
Grow ground cover in shady places especially in dense shade. I planted ivy in my shade garden. Ivy can take a bit of maintenance to keep it in check, but there is almost an endless variety of ground covers that are less demanding.
Color in shade?
Shade beds don't have to be just green and white. Many shade plants have pink or white flowers. Yellow ligularias, pink astilbes and purple-spotted white toad lilies add color over a long season in the summer. For spring color add yellow daffodils and red tulips.
Adding blue slate stepping stones with a mulch-filled path through the area will give added color as well as being delightful to walk along the wooded garden. For a color there are clay pots with geraniums in the areas where the sun until the filters through the trees. If the flowers start to fade perk them up by moving them into another part of the garden where there is more sun.
Large trees in a shady woodland garden can take a lot of water and rob the flowers and bushes near by. Put soaker hoses around the bushes when there is not enough rain.
Take a look at the pictures of my front yard showing how I solved some of the problems with shade.
Check out the plant chart below for some great planting ideas. You don't need to have all the plants for a great shade garden. Just pick four or five to start out, and keep building from there. Also, check out the video at the bottom of the page on " Easy to Grow Flowers In the Shade Garden."