Filled with easy-care shade plants such as redtwig dogwood, hosta, and astilbe, this design is perfect for a spot under a tree's canopy.


The space under big trees can be ideal for growing shade-loving plants with colorful flowers and foliage. This bold woodland garden plan will look gorgeous from spring until frost, starting with the unfolding leaves of a variegated redtwig dogwood. In late spring and summer, astilbe bursts on the scene with its red, feathery flowers and bronze foliage. A showy lily adds its fragrance and long-lasting blooms to the display. Black mondo grass provides blackish-purple leaves and white, bell-shape flowers in the summer. Three varieties of hosta create pleasing contrast with the surrounding lacy foliage of ostrich fern. And finally, you'll enjoy nonstop blooms from the impatiens in this beautiful textured border.

Bold Woodland Garden Plan
Credit: Illustration by Mavis Augustine Torke

Plants for Creating the Bold Woodland Garden Plan

  • 3 Black mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’): Zones 6-10
  • 1 Variegated redtwig dogwood (Cornus alba 'Elegantissima'): Zones 3-8
  • 1 Lily (Lilium hybrids): Zones 3-9
  • 6 Astilbe (Astilbe × arendsii ‘Fanal’): Zones 4-8
  • 1 Hosta ‘Frances Williams’: Zones 3-8
  • 1 Siebold hosta (Hosta sieboldiana var. elegans): Zones 3-10
  • 1 Hosta ‘Halcyon’: Zones 3-10
  • 1 Ostrich fern (Matteuccia pennsylvanica): Zones 2-9
  • 5 Impatiens walleriana: Annual

If you aren't able to find the exact cultivars listed above, substitute with others that have similar colors, shapes, and sizes. And because some plants can become overly aggressive and spread out of control in certain climates, always check which species are considered invasive in your area before planting.

Get the Free Bold Woodland Garden Plan

The garden plan for this design includes an illustrated version of the planted garden, a detailed layout diagram, a list of plants for the garden as shown, and complete instructions for installing the garden. Free, one-time registration allows unlimited access to all garden plans, available as printable PDFs.


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June 1, 2020
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