Recently I showed you the beginnings of a woodland garden. All I had done was to move some plants from the front yard, which I thought was going to be shady when we moved in in the winter, but it wasn’t. Now I’m looking at plants I want to include in the garden as it grows and evolves.
So far I have hostas and ferns, but that is just the tip of the iceberg for beautiful woodland plants.
One for sure is Tiarella, commonly called foamflower because of its very soft spikes of flowers that look like they are made out of ocean foam. It is actually a native plant here. I fell in love with this plant when I worked at a garden center. I was in charge of ordering all the perennials. I didn’t know much about shade gardens at that point, as I was a sun loving girl. However, over the 2.5 years I worked there I learned that there are plenty of flowering plants that like the shade and have beautiful colorations and interesting shapes to their leaves when they aren’t flowering.
Another will be Heuchera (coralbells), as they now come with all different types of coloration in their leaves from near white, to mottled, to deep purple, to bright lime green with red veins, etc. I knew one nurseryman who wanted to test how much light a heuchera needed. He stuck it in a closet, came bace a few months later and it was blooming it’s little heart out!
Lady’s Mantle (alchemilla mollis) is another I’d like to try. The leaves are really pretty, but absolutely spectacular after a rain when they look like they have 1000 diamonds on them.
Of course it wouldn’t be a woodland garden with bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis) and Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium caeruleum), also I’ll try some native types of columbine (Aquilegia), as I saw them growing deep in a forest when I lived in New Mexico (yes they have true forests in parts of New Mexico, complete with bellowing elk!).
I would like to put a few woody plants in too, including rhododendron and azalea. There’s one other that I truly love, but at the moment my mind is a complete blank. I can see the plant, but it’s name must be filed elsewhere!
So, don’t think that because you have a shady yard you’re doomed to only growing impatiens every year, there are dozens of woodland plants that will bloom at all different times of the year, you just need to know what you’re looking for.
What’s your favorite woodland plant? Would you share a picture of it growing in your yard with us? I love to get ideas from what other people have done.