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Barrenwort is a rare plant -- one that thrives in the dry shade beneath shallow-rooted trees! It spreads at a moderate rate, forming a graceful, dense groundcover. Almost as a bonus, it also produces dainty flowers shaped like a bishop's miter -- prompting another common name, bishop's cap. Its colorful foliage dangles on slender stalks, providing yet another moniker: fairy wings.
Hellebore is another tough shade plant with early bloom and attractive foliage.Columbine
The spurred blooms of columbine echo the form of barrenwort blooms but on a grander scale. Use smaller columbines to maintain a pleasing proportion in size.Perennial geranium
The purple, blue, and magenta blooms of perennial geranium peak along with barrenwort, but by choosing long-blooming varieties such as 'Rozanne' or 'Jolly Bee' you can have color in the shade nearly all summer.