Shade

New Hellebore Flowers Hold Their Heads High

April 17, 2012 4 comments
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I’m a big fan of hellebores, since in my rainy climate so many flowers are dashed to the ground at the first rough rain shower. Plus, some types of flower and color just don’t stand out boldly enough to be visible from a window. Hellebores are tough as nails and shine brightly in the winter […]

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What’s Wrong With My Fern? Brown Leaves on Ferns

November 1, 2011 4 comments
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Does your fern have shriveled, brown fronds or a bleached, discolored appearance? We know that people are susceptible to sunburn, but we don’t think of plants as being able to get sunburned as well. It’s a common problem. When shade-loving plants like ferns are put into a sunny situation, their fronds shrivel around the edges, […]

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Plants for Damp or Wet Shade

June 28, 2011 16 comments
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(Click any photo to view larger.) 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 […]

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Variegated Rhododendrons Liven Up the Shade

June 11, 2011 2 comments
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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 […]

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

May 5, 2011 25 comments
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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 […]

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Ferns for Every Garden

February 1, 2011 11 comments
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As we settle more deeply into winter, I’ve been really noticing the beauty of all the ferns in the landscapes I care for. They’re low-care, often have great winter interest, and seem to go with just about every type of plant or style of planting. The neat thing about ferns is they look great both […]

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

September 10, 2010 2 comments
Rainbow Leucothoe

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 […]

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Plants to Love: Autumn Fern (Dryopteris erythrosora)

July 21, 2010 2 comments
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I LOVE the Autumn Fern. Orangey foliage in spring and summer? Cinnamon-colored spores on the underside of the plant? A neat habit and a plant that’s simple to prune down in winter? It’s got it all.

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Plants to Love: Fragrant Sweet Box (Sarcococca ruscifolia)

July 14, 2010 17 comments
Sarcococca ruscifolia

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 […]

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Coastal Gardening: Shade-Loving Plants for the Sea Coast

May 1, 2010 6 comments
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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 […]

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