Beguiling Bergenias: 5 Varieties for Dry Shade

BERGENIA PICKS FOR DRY SHADE

While many gardeners find shade challenging enough, add in dry soil and deer, and the list of plants which will perform gets shorter and shorter. Yet Bergenia, an unassuming perennial with leathery evergreen leaves, does admirably under all of these conditions. Though you may have grown Bergenia in the past and been unimpressed by its tendency […]

Plants for Damp or Wet Shade

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Gardening in soggy soil can be tough enough without the added challenge of shade. While the usual suspects in such conditions – ferns, iris, astilbe and hosta – are beautiful, if you’re looking for a more interesting or architectural planting, it can be tough to find varieties that will suit. Here are six under-used plants […]

Variegated Rhododendrons Liven Up the Shade

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My latest post over at the Christian Science Monitor garden blog Diggin’ It is about my favorite types of variegated rhododendrons. I’m lucky enough to have a rhododendron specialty nursery in my community, so in addition to the horrible, boring rhodies seen in parking lots, we also have access to some exotic varieties with glossy […]

Gardening Under Redwoods: Dealing With Dry Shade, Acidic Soil, and Root Competition

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Humboldt County’s known for its majestic redwoods, and many of the gardens that I design and care for have a few towering specimens setting the scene. But lovely though they are, gardening under redwoods presents some serious challenges. Shade For one, redwood trees cast some fairly dense shade. This isn’t such an issue if you […]

Plants to Love: Rainbow Drooping Leucothoe (Leucothoe fontanesiana ‘Rainbow’)

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I know you’re wondering, so let’s get this out of the way: it’s loo-kow-thow-ee. You only have to say the name once though, when you’re looking for it at the nursery, and then you can call it anything you like. “That gorgeous variegated thing” is what most people call it. Andrew of Garden Smackdown suggests […]

Plants to Love: Fragrant Sweet Box (Sarcococca ruscifolia)

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This unassuming little shade shrub is one that people often don’t notice at first. There’s nothing particularly showy about its graceful arching stems, deep green leaves, or the tiny white flowers that hang from its branches in winter. But when those small blooms open, people walk around sniffing all the big, showy flowers in the […]

Coastal Gardening: Shade-Loving Plants for the Sea Coast

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Sea coast gardening is challenging enough in full sun, but choosing wind- and salt-tolerant plants for the shade can be downright daunting. Most shade plants didn’t evolve in unprotected, windy zones – they are used to the shelter of trees. Not to worry – there are a few beautiful plants that can help give your […]