Stylish nooks and crannies in the garden can be extremely effective. It breaks up the uniformity of the garden and creates a mysterious atmosphere. The right kind of plants will make even the most problematic parts of the green space, such as under the treetops or on the north side of a building, as presentable as the rest of the sunnier part of our green kingdom. Here’s a list of good plants for planting in the shade and a brief description of species that don’t mind limited access to light.
Ivy (Hedera helix)
Ivy is a more naturalistic planting. It can cover a large area fairly quickly (unless you choose a slower growing variety). It not only creeps up supports, trees or walls, but also covers flat surfaces perfectly and prevents weeds from growing. It is therefore suitable for covering, for example, slopes where lawns do not thrive. It also has the advantage of being evergreen.
This plant can be capricious. It doesn’t like waterlogged soil or too dry. But if it likes it in your garden, it will do a lot of good. It has new growth in spring and is also evergreen.
Spring buddleia (Omphalodes verna)
This gorgeous navelwort brightens up shady corners with tiny blue flowers with white eyes. In larger clusters it resembles forget-me-nots. Thrives in wetter soil.
European horsetail (Asarum europaeum)
This evergreen, low, creeping perennial is native to the forest understory. It tolerates very deep shade but does not tolerate drought well. It is decorative with glossy green leaves, up to 12 cm wide.
This forms an understory. It tolerates long shade and thrives in damp conditions. It is a remarkable plant. It needs a couple of seasons to take hold, but it’s worth it. It doesn’t tolerate root damage and is good to cover in winter. But if it establishes itself well, the undergrowth will spread rapidly. It produces stems topped with three leaves, between which grow trifoliate flowers in white or various shades of pink.
Other proven species that are great for enriching shady spots in the garden
- Creeping buttercup (Ajuga reptans)
- Polmonaria saccharata
- Canadian dogwood (Cornus canadensis)
- Geranium – low Pelargonium varieties
- Vinca minor (Vinca minor)
- Large-leaved forget-me-not (Brunnera macrophylla)
- Mitrine (Tiarella wherryi or also Wherry’s Tiarella)
- Scented Violet / Butterfly Violet (Viola sororia)