What to plant in a very small shade garden.
I have a small area for a shade garden. I have bleeding hearts (2) that are about 30 inches high and a hydrangea that is approx. 36 inches high behind th e bleeding hearts. I also have 2 astilbe on one side of them and a very small astilbe on the other side of them. In the front I have a coral bell and another huchera. I started out the garden with hosta around the boundary of the shade garden but I am getting tired of dividing them and battling the slugs. What else could I plant that would grow to be 30-36 inches high and last through the summer? Thanks for your help. Joan Mesaris
Here are a few suggestions: barrenwort, Epimedium; turtlehead, Clelone; cardinal flower, Lobelia cardinalis; and cinnamon or royal fern. Most of these require moist soil; barrenwort does fine in dry shade. If you decide on a fern, make sure it is a clump-forming and not a spreading one. Shade is a challenge for the gardener. Some stores and nurseries sell plants rated for shade that are best left on the shelf: they can be invasive. Examples are periwinkle, ivy and yellow archangel. If you can determine the degree of shade, this helps to choose wisely. There is deep, dark shade, shade that receives dappled light through trees and areas that receive morning sun only.