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?

7 questions
  • Bobbie Mann
    on Feb 7, 2016

    The Blue Poppies, i have these, tell me how to plant with care?

  • Jean Smooth
    on Apr 27, 2016

    What gardening zone do you live in and what made them difficult to start?

  • A. Ballard
    on Apr 27, 2016

    Ok I have one Q.....and you probably have never encountered, but how can I eliminate toads and frogs from coming into my flowers? I hate them, (phobia). I mow them over, and I carry a spade around the yard with me just in case I run across one. Yes, I chop 'em up.

      on Apr 27, 2016

      That's scary

    • Joyce
      on Apr 27, 2016

      What, the toads and frogs or the spade?

    • Nekko8
      on Apr 27, 2016

      Toads and frogs eat slugs and bugs! Some toads and frogs are becoming extinct which means more slugs and bugs. So which would you rather have?

    • A. Ballard
      on Apr 27, 2016

      I'd rather have the bugs. It would be just fine if the toads n frogs all became extinct. So back to my original can I eliminate them in my flowers?

    • Linda
      on Apr 28, 2016

      poor toads

    • Thebakers47
      on Apr 28, 2016

      Phobias can be cured.

    • A. Ballard
      on Apr 28, 2016

      Sure, if you have buckets of dollars.

    • Linda
      on Apr 29, 2016

      They serve a purpose....killing them is is just plain WRONG!! Can't you find a kind sole to relocate them for you???

    • Mari Cunningham
      on Apr 30, 2016

      What if you built a chicken wire dome over the plants and see if the toads and frogs move on to another garden. I would work on getting their food sources out of the area as well so that means finding a way to reduce flies, slugs, crickets, etc. This may take a few weeks or months, but most will get the idea to move on. Please do not blame the frogs and toads for your phobia - try to work around it to get a solution that saves the lives of the "good pests" around you. Good luck!

    • A. Ballard
      on May 1, 2016

      I don't see how the demise of toads/frogs is any different than setting beer out for slugs to kill them or swatting flies or skeeters. Wrong? I have to laugh at that. The personification of these amphibians in cartoons or cute images has somehow put them on the do not kill list. All creatures serve a purpose....even mosquitos....but no one gasps or has a funeral for them. God gave us dominion over creatures. It's not torture. I don't cast blame for this phobia. I just don't want these critters in close proximity. Only one of you has looked past your shock long enough to offer a solution. Thank you Mari, I will try that. And I suppose shooting Bambi from my back door and filling my freezer is somehow more "wrong" than those packages of meat bought in the grocery. (Rhetorical)

    • Connie
      on May 8, 2016

      Sprinkle cayenne pepper all around. They won't want it in them. Yet if it does get on them it won't kill them or hurt them, but it will make them stay away. They can then be safe & you can enjoy your flowers. Don't use your bare hands & don't get it near your eyes. It pretty much works for anything that would harm gardens. It's natural & causes no harm!

    • A. Ballard
      on May 8, 2016

      Thanks Connie. Don't know why I didn't think of that.....I've done that to keep the neighbor's dogs out of my hosta's.

    • Connie
      on May 8, 2016

      Your so welcome!

    • Carolyn
      on Jun 14, 2016

      The cayenne pepper will also deter dogs from digging in flower beds, I'm told. Giving it a try.

    • Annette
      on Jun 17, 2016

      Soul not sole (fish). Sorry, English teacher.

    • Anne D
      on Jul 6, 2016

      lol @Annette

    • Jaime McBrady
      on Jul 28, 2016

      I definitely like the cayenne pepper method. I also like the idea of spraying Dawn detergent diluted with water on the plants first to activate the pepper and get it to "stick" around after a rain. Sometimes I add chili oil and shake it up in the spray bottle. Sorry for the frogs.

  • Carrie Hawk
    on Apr 27, 2016

    Is the blue poppy a perennial?

  • Carolyn Noyer
    on Apr 28, 2016

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

    • Anne D
      on Jul 6, 2016

      not sure on this ?? I have had good luck with mine in ground..but have lots of seed pods now so I'll give it a try in the spring and see If they do..Sure hope someone can answer your question..Good Luck

    • 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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