Need Shady Plant Suggestions...

Discussion in 'Garden Design and Plant Suggestions' started by Paulina, May 28, 2007.

  1. Paulina

    Paulina Active Member

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    Location:
    Upper Fraser Valley, Beautiful British Columbia!
    Now that all my tulips are done and gone, my shady garden is looking kinda bare... Anyone have any suggestions for tall, flowering full shade plants? I've got some Astilbe in there... it's a start.

    Also, if you have any suggestions as to what to plant around the pond??
     

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  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    If all those sun-loving flowers are getting enough light - and getting it early in the year - you probably can continue to plant outside of the range of shade plants. The contrast in weight between the conifer hedge and the herbaceous plants is bit stark. You might want to flesh things out more with additional shrubs. Maybe plant deciduous shrubs between the flowers and the hedge, these are intermediate in bulk and make a good transition between evergreens and flowers. Planting some that flower with the spring flowers and some that come on later would be a good plan.
     
  3. *N*E*R*D*

    *N*E*R*D* Member

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    Hey Paulina
    You might want to give some ornamental grasses a try. They have wonderful movement, especially around water. Not to mention they have all season interest (until early spring, when they need to be pruned). Maybe some Hakone grass, Hakonechloa macra , and you could even plant some Miscanthus sinesis, in groups near the backdrop. Just some ideas for you.
     
  4. lauraf

    lauraf Member

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    Hi Paulina,

    for a bold statement, you might want to try Rodgersia - there are several different varieties, but they all like shady and moist locations (I'm told - I just planted mine, so I'll let you know how it goes!), so they would be perfect near your pond. If you plant one of the dark leaved varieties, put a lighter, taller plant with contrasting foliage texture in between it and the hedge (for instance meadow rue), to make the leaves stand out. It also combines well with Hakonechloa macra Aureola, which has very golden leaves and can take shade. Other suggestions are variegated Solomon's Seal and of course any Hosta (the huge "Sum and Substance" would really stand out against your hedge) or fern.

    Cheers,
    Laura
     
  5. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    I'll second the hostas, and you may want to look into bleeding hearts for around the pond edge. These weep just a bit and look fantastic when they're just trailing the surface of a pond.
     
  6. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    coral bells are nice as well as the hosta - they start off with beautiful leaves and bloom mid to late summer. and japanese painted ferns would be perfect for that area!
     
  7. unther

    unther Active Member

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    Smilacina racemosa, Aruncus dioica, Aquilegia formosa, Lupinus polyphyllus, Cimicifuga elata, Collomia grandiflora, Campanula rotundifolia, Penstemon serrulatus would all be good choices.

    You might also consider ferns, such as Adiantum aleuticum, Cystopteris fragilis, Dryopteris expansa, Polypodium glycyrriza, Woodsia oregana and Woodwardia fimbriata.

    For around the pond, I'd think about Iris missouriensis, Camassia leitchlinii and C. quamash. Sedum and Sempervivum would be interesting set against the gravel, but the juxtaposition with the pond might look a bit off.

    A potted Sarracenia would look really dramatic IN the pond.

    -Nathan Miller
    Newberg, OR
     
  8. chuckrkc

    chuckrkc Active Member

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    Cimicifuga elata sounds wonderful. It has a 3-6 foot flowering stem that look like bottle brushes. Its leaves are large, ternately divided. And it is native to your region, it looks llke.

    A bit of info: http://64.233.169.104/search?q=cach...ta&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=12&gl=us&client=firefox-a

    I get confused, but aren't Cimicifugas (bugbanes) mostly Actea now? (This is one of these things that separates the duffers from the experts, perhaps.)

    ANOTHER BUGBANE: Actaea matsumurae 'White Pearl.' This cultivar seems to have giant flower racemes.

    http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/Plant.asp?code=C160

    I am really interested in this one because I like my willowy Cimicifuga/Actea racemosa. Mine wish I had a creek in my yard, but they do OK with only a river in the form a hose.
    (http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/Plant.asp?code=J790)

    These add a strong vertical element and also a kinetic element to the garden when the flowers dance in the breeze.
     
  9. unther

    unther Active Member

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    >I get confused, but aren't Cimicifugas (bugbanes) mostly Actea now? (This is one of these things that separates the duffers from the experts, perhaps.)

    Yeah, the taxonomists keep moving stuff back and forth. It's so frequent between genera such as Montia and Claytonia, that some people have resorted to writing, for example, "Montia/Claytonia sibirica." Although I understand, to a point, why species are reassigned, I often become frustrated and wish that they'd just pick a taxon and go with it!
     
  10. unther

    unther Active Member

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    I thought of a few more suggestions:

    Sisyrinchium californicum, Delphinium trollifolium.

    Darmera peltata. This will grow nicely as a potted plant in the pond.
     
  11. chuckrkc

    chuckrkc Active Member

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    It seems around man-made ponds the area around them is usually drier than the areas around natural streams and wet areas, so that might be a consideration (though the wonderful, luscious weather of the PNW may make that a moot point).

    Ron B.'s idea of a shrub transition seems like a good one. A ninebark cultivar, Coppertina, has beautiful coppery-red leaves that make the shrub seem always in bloom. Another part of this forum might have a suggestion or two for a Japanese maple.
     
  12. handyman

    handyman Member

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  13. unther

    unther Active Member

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    >It seems around man-made ponds the area around them is usually drier than the areas around natural streams and wet areas, so that might be a consideration

    That's one of the things I'm attempting to solve. I always find it wholely unsatisfactory when I see a landscape featuring a pond surrounded by sparse and obviously non-riparian plantings. This is usually because the rest of the landscape is totally disconnected from what would otherwise be pond's or stream's water table. While I've seen plenty of examples in nature where a water feature is surrounded by non-riparian vegetation, most of these have been up in the high mountains of the Sierra-Cascades where the hydrology is radically different from what most of us observe in the lowlands. Still, when I design and install a water feature in my own garden one of these days, I'd like the surrounding plantings to be hydrologically connected to the pond/stream. I just have to figure out how to do this without losing too much water and without having too much detritis washing into the water and clogging up the works.

    >(though the wonderful, luscious weather of the PNW may make that a moot point).

    Contrary to pouplar belief, the PNW is not constantly wet, although many of us are content to let everyone else believe that. For the most part, summer is warm and dry.
     
  14. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    Would Hydrangeas work. We have our usual christmas flowering (down under) happening at the moment and they are beautiful. Mine are under apple trees and because I don't always get the pruning done one of them is way up in the branches and looks really lovely. My pond is sourrounded by our native ferns (many shapes). The grass idea sounds good and I may incorperate that along with some long strappy iris that I have growing around my bathtub pond sunk into a bank with garden built around it. We have a lovely thing here that looks like a moss but needs full sun to grow. It colonises rocks logs and looks like big cushions.

    http://www.anbg.gov.au/gnp/gnp11/scleranthus-biflorus.html
    http://www.ausgarden.com.au/v/mcsee/aus/Scleranthus+biflorus+-+Twin+Flower+Knawel.jpg.html

    If the stones around your pond are loose could you sink some ground cover plants at random with some of the grasses. Just remebered have you thought of Mondo grass. some pics at this site

    http://hellohello.com.au/Mondo.html
    http://www.burkesbackyard.com.au/20.../grasses,_ground_covers_and_lawns/mondo_grass

    Liz
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2007
  15. unther

    unther Active Member

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    >Would Hydrangeas work. We have our usual christmas flowering (down under) happening at the moment and they are beautiful. Mine are under apple trees and because I don't always get the pruning done one of them is way up in the branches and looks really lovely.

    They would indeed. They grow very well here in the PNW. They are not, however, native here.

    >We have a lovely thing here that looks like a moss but needs full sun to grow. It colonises rocks logs and looks like big cushions.

    Scleranthus may be a bit of a challenge here in the PNW. They'll grow okay here in the northern Willamette Valley and I had one going for a couple of seasons once before it rotted. In SW BC, however, you may need to give extra attention to site preparation and maybe even provide shelter from the rain, of which SW BC received noticably more than does northern OR.

    >If the stones around your pond are loose could you sink some ground cover plants at random with some of the grasses. Just remebered have you thought of Mondo grass. some pics at this site

    I keep forgetting about grasses. I have to fight the exotic ones so much (especially that &*%^(_*&_ rhizomatous one), I usually can't bring myself to plant even the native ones. Try Deschampsia caespitosa. It's a well-behaved clumping species.
     

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