Starlette's of the Shade Garden

Think those sunny gardens have all the fun? That big drama can only be accomplished in full sun? Not true! Here are a few of the Drama Queens kicking up a fuss in my shade/pt shade garden.
Meconopsis Grandis or Blue Asiatic Poppy can be difficult to site, It needs loose, well drained fertile soil in part shade. Once established it will bloom like gangbusters for you every June/July.
Hellebore are a wonderful winter/early spring perennial in the shade garden. This one is particularly beautiful. I ran across it at VanDusen Botanical gardens and have been unable to identify the variety of this double bloom.
Tricyrtus Toad Lily is a unique perennial in the shade garden. It blooms from late summer to fall with spectacular orchid like blooms.
Epimedium sulphureum pink is a fab clump forming semi evergreen perennial that does well in dry shade. Yes, I said it! DRY SHADE! You're welcome.
Hosta's are a staple of our West Coast shade gardens. There are so many varieties, you can literally pick your favorite flavor. I'm partial to Proven Winners Hudson Bay, with its tri coloured leaves. They look fab in summer bouquets.
Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost' grows excellently in my shade garden. Like a hosta it has beautifully detailed foliage. It also send out shoot of wonderful blue flowers in spring that remind me of forget-me-not's.
White cyclamen prefer cool shade. Although often sold as a houseplant this woodland perennial does nicely in the garden as well.
Trillium Flexipes has large white flowers that bloom in mid spring. They're only visible for a short time before their stalks bend and the flower disappears behind the foliage, hence their common name Bent Trillium or Drooping Trillium.
This annual Coleus from Proven Winners grows from sun to part shade, and bring fantastic colour and texture into the shade garden.
Hellebores Onyx Odyssey another stunning double hellebores for late spring and into summer in the shade garden. Pair this beauty with light or bright coloured blooms for added drama.

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Laura Thomas

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 7 questions
  • Carolyn Noyer
    on Apr 28, 2016

    Can the blue Asia tic poppies be kept in pots or do they have to be planted?

    • 1less project
      on Jul 31, 2016

      it depends on what zone you're in. I'm in the prairie region and they will not survive in pots. Mine does beautifully in a highly acidic shade area

  • Cristy Ballou
    on Jun 11, 2016

    Can you tell me where I can get these gorgeous poppies? Cristy

  • Luc3195298
    on Jun 15, 2016

    What zone are they for?

    • Angela Bahling
      on Jun 15, 2016

      If you copy the species in which you are interested and paste it into Google search along with the words "hardiness zone" you will be able to find out. Most of these are hardy from zones 3 - 8 but it may depend on what variety of each species.

Join the conversation

3 of 84 comments
  • Susan N
    on Feb 6, 2017

    I live in an area that gets really hot in the summer. Maybe Zone 10. My backyard has a number of areas that are mottled shade to full shade. In the summer, one shady area is in full sun but in complete shade fall to spring. I love the possibilities of plants to put in the spots that never see the sun but do I have any options for the hot sun/cold shade places? It's been plain dirt for the 15 years I've lived here because I don't know what to do and would hate to see my money wasted on numerous experiments. Thank you all for any input you have to share...

    • Susan Smallwood
      on Mar 28, 2019

      I live in Texas and our summers are scorching. I have found that lillies do really well in areas that are shaded in the spring. They die off in the summer heat but the foliage returns in the winter and they bloom all spring. I have the area as a rock garden with a bench to give it some interest during the summer and fall, and its a nice place to sit surrounded by fowers in the spring.

  • Jamie Garlock
    on Jul 13, 2017

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