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Used by Native Americans for war paint, the intensely colored yellow sap that flows from this plant when cut gives the plant its name. Bloodroot's pure white cup-shaped flowers are fleeting but charming; double forms last a few days longer. The irregular gray green foliage makes an excellent groundcover through late summer when it dies back. Bloodroot is suitable for shaded rock gardens (especially the double form), wild garden and native plant gardens as well as in light deciduous woodlands where it colonizes in the wild. Provide well-drained humus-rich soil in shade.
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How can such a tiny flower give off such a tremendous scent? Tiny lily-of-the-valley sends up its lovely little sprays of bell-like white or pale pink flowers each spring. Allow it to spread a little (which it does, so much that it can be a problem) and it will perfume the whole area with its distinctive scent. It also makes adorable, tiny bouquets. It makes a good groundcover in small areas.Lily-of-the-valley prefers shade and moist soil. In sunny or dry conditions, its leaves will brown. It can easily become invasive, so it's smart to put it in an area where it will be difficult to spread too far, such as a blocked in by a driveway or sidewalk.
It's easy to see the origin of bleeding heart's common name when you get a look at its heart-shape pink or white blooms with a protruding tip at the base of the heart. They grow best in partial to full shade in moist, well-drained soil. Some types bloom only in spring and others bloom spring, summer, and fall, provided temperatures aren't too high.
One of the most elegant ferns available for your garden, Japanese painted ferns are washed with gorgeous silver and burgundy markings. Lady fern is equally elegant though not quite as showy. Either will add interest and texture to your shady spots. Closely related to each other, Japanese painted fern and lady fern are sometimes crossed with each other to create attractive hybrids.Unlike most ferns, these toughies will tolerate dry soil. And they will tolerate some sun if they have ample water.