deep shade garden, Vancouver BC

Discussion in 'Garden Design and Plant Suggestions' started by schraminvan, Apr 10, 2007.

  1. schraminvan

    schraminvan Member

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    Hi
    I'm planning a garden for the (north) front of the house. It gets some serious shade. The plot will be about 6' x 7'. I'm fairly new to non-vegetable gardening so I'm looking for suggestions. I'm thinking a small tree or shrub as the focal point with other shade loving plants (ferns?) around it. If I could use native species that would be great but it is not an absolute. Got any suggestions

    Thanks
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years of Activity

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    Vine maple could get a lot bigger but often used in small spaces, including foundation beds. Easy to grow and easy to find in outlets, each one has its own shape - good for specimen use. Sword ferns are also easy to grow and find. If bigger than you want, try deer fern instead.
     
  3. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years of Activity

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    Yews would work if you want a conifer. Another fairly rare evergreen shrub that actually thrives in shade is Ruscus, which is prickly but quite interesting, and I just saw some for sale at Dykhof in N. Van. It also suckers a little; I grow it in a container. I also grow a (deciduous) Sambucus nigra 'Variegata' (I know that's not right, Ron, but I can't remember what is) on the north side but mine is tall enough that it gets a little morning sun.

    Containers and statuary, or rocks or other hardscape, can go a long way to making a dark garden work.

    Ferns... so many, where to start? In deepest shade I grow Royal ferns (Osmunda regalis) which does marvellously. But they'd all do well there. Local nurseries are carrying a good selection nowadays, or check out the Fraser's Thimble Farm catalogue
    http://www.thimblefarms.com/ if you really want to go crazy. Trilliums and hellebores are good too. So are hostas, some of the very dark ones look spectacular in deep shade (ventricosa for instance).
     
  4. chimera

    chimera Well-Known Member 10 Years of Activity

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    Dwarf hemlocks do well in shade. As KarinL mentioned, variegated leaved plants can be quite interesting.
     
  5. victoriarose

    victoriarose Member

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    Aucuba japonica is a great shade plant that brightens up the area with green and gold foliage.
     
  6. levilyla

    levilyla Active Member

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    Pieris Japonica..Sarcoccoca..Skimmia japonica...Cornus florida...Cercis canadensis..Halsia....Oakleaf Hydrangeas....and many perennials.
     
  7. Gursk

    Gursk Active Member

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    I also have a full shade garden; it can be really hard finding things that will grow. Here are some suggestions for perennials I've had good luck with, to go around your shrubs:

    Solomon's Seal
    Hostas (of course)
    Wild Ginger (especially Asarum arifolium, beautiful mottled silver leaves - evergreen)
    Holly & wood ferns
    Epimedium (versilcolour have nice reddish leaves)

    Plus, I notice you're in Vancouver. The Home Depot on Terminal had a few Tasmanian tree ferns. Very reasonably priced & shade-loving. I got one a few weeks ago and put it in a large container; it seems very happy.

    HTH
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years of Activity

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    Beware of plants that have been allowed to wilt and collapse or shrivel, then brought back with too-late watering when shopping at big box plant departments.
     
  9. GildedLily

    GildedLily Member

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    I see a lot of great suggestions, may I also suggest dicentra (bleeding hearts) cornus canadensis, vaccinnium species for shrub structure, (there are several natives that thrive in deep shade, they can be ordered from wholesalers Peel's or Linnea through your local nursery.) Ferns can be fantastic and Hostas, though not native, enjoy those conditions. try Rainforest nursery out in Langley for shade perennials-they have lots.
     
  10. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years of Activity

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    Actually everyone carries a good selection of shade perennials these days; no reason to travel to Langley unless you are looking for really specialized stuff, in which case Rainforest is one of several places worth looking.
     
  11. Maggie76

    Maggie76 Member

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    I too have a shade garden and have found many of the plants already listed work well in my yard. I'd like to add that a larger bush you might find helpful is Sarcococca otherwise known as a Sweet Box. There are several varieties including hookerana which is low and spreading or ruscifolia and confusa which reach approximately 4 feet high. This plant is mainly for architecture as its flowers and berries are not highly visible but it provides wonderful greenery and an amazing scent early in the spring.
     

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