Thursday, 31 March 2016

10 Shade Loving Plants for a Woodland Garden

Here are ten plants that love shade. They are ideal for planting under large trees where they will get dappled sunshine in summer, and in a woodland garden. 

1. Heuchera have colourful patterned leaves and delicate flowers. Available with leaves in a wide range of rusty reds, bright oranges, yellows purples and browns.

Dicentra spectabilis
2. Dicentra spectabilis (Bleeding heart) has very peculiar flowers in spring, which live up to its common name. Available in white or various shades of pink.

3. Drimys Lanceolata is a potentially large bushy shrub with fine leaves, that likes a semi shady position.

4. Ferns add a really authentic woodland feel to a garden. Most die back in winter and need damp conditions but Dryopteris erythrosora will tolerate dryer ground as long as it is shady, and will stay leafy through most winters.

5. Polystichum polyblepharum is another hardy fern that remains through the winter.

6. Mahonia is a tall spiky shrub with yellow flower spikes that provide great winter fragrance.

7. Primroses are one of the first flowers to appear at the end of winter and will spread through a semi shady area if left to their own devices.

8. Foxgloves. The elegant upright flower spikes of Digitalis are the epitome of a woodland flower. They thrive on the edges of woods where they get a bit more sun and will seed themselves all over the place without you having to do anything. The most common varieties are shades of pink and purple but white foxgloves are available and will really pierce through the shade under the trees, making a dramatic impact.  They flower for months, and the bees really love them too!

Cyclamen coum
9. Cyclamen coum are delicate looking autumn flowers that emerge from the ground on curly stems that unfurl before the leaves appear, adding a splash of colour to the base of larger plants.

10. Bluebells are a renowned native woodland plant but you are just as likely to find their Spanish rivals. En masse in a natural woodland they can look amazing, but even a few will lend your garden a woodland atmosphere in Spring. They can spread wildly though so keep an eye on them if you haven't got a lot of room. 

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