Spring is the showiest time of the year in a shade garden. The perennials that bloom early paint the garden with flowers, then subside modestly to green or go dormant while waiting for the next spring. Light shade is the key to flowering. In too much shade, you can grow only moss and pachysandra. By removing the lowest branches on your trees it allows sunlight to penetrate in the morning and evening.
There are many plants we recommend for gardening in the shade. Start with the ones that are going to fill in. For ground covers, look to pachysandra ("grows in full shade"), vinca ("easy to control"), and two natives, creeping phlox and foamflower ("really does well in shade"). For shrubs, a couple good choices include azaleas and rhododendrons. For trees, try dogwood and shadbush, which blooms when the woods are bare.
The delicate Iris gracilipes is rare.
Three mottled leaves and a flower top each stalk.
Seeds sown by nature presented this surprise.
This hardy native makes an eye-catching show.
Early-blooming azaleas glow with color.
A spring bloomer, this ground cover spreads fast.
Continued on page 2: Unsmothered by Leaves