Grows in shade, even under a giant evergreen

June 2, 2009 at 6:37 pm 2 comments

front yard_shade

A giant pine tree is the dominant feature on the northwest side of our small front yard. I really love this tree. It reaches up as tall as our house and provides us with a really private space on the balcony off our bedroom. It’s also home to many birds and squirrels, something I thought about a lot after recently finding a tiny blue robin’s egg crushed and fallen to the ground following a very vocal tussle among the robins and magpies.

When we landscaped our front yard last year, I wasn’t sure what to put underneath this tree. It is very shady and I’ve also noticed that this spot is quite dry with the big roots of the tree sucking up all the groundwater. I settled on two small hostas, columbines, violets and a tall fern-like plant; later in the year I also added some daisies transplanted from my parents’ yard. Because of the dryness and all that I’d heard about how hard it is to grow plants under shady evergreens, I didn’t have high hopes of seeing any of them again after the winter. But the columbines were the first sign of life in the front yard, which is about a month behind our warmer, south-facing backyard. And the fern (I have no idea what it is, unfortunately) sprung up almost entirely overnight, going from nothing to the 2′ high plant in this image. The hostas and daisies are poking up now, and tiny violets seedlings are everywhere. I’m so impressed with the hardiness of all of these plants and very glad we’ll be free of any ‘dead zone’ under our lovely evergreen tree.


Entry filed under: Gardening, Home, Perennial flowers. Tags: , , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Northern Shade  |  June 6, 2009 at 6:19 am

    The tall plant in your picture looks like Polygonatum (Solomon’s Seal). They thrive in the shade. Isn’t if fun watching all the new plants emerge now?

  • 2. Blue Fox  |  June 16, 2009 at 5:46 am

    I’ve had good success with these plants in dry shade, even though mine is under giant douglas fir, maybe they’re something to try – Heuchera, many kinds to choose from, but I like the veined leaf types like Pewter Veil, and the chartreuse Lime Rickey; any of the hardy Geranium, such as the one known as Mourning Bride and the ilk; and lots of Campanula don’t mind dry shade once established, and (would it be hardy in your zone?) Gallium odoratum, sweet woodruff. Also, I use mulch that the squirrels make for me, finding the heaps of pine or fir cones demolished as they search for the seeds inside, and I’ve also been known to sprinkle some dolomite lime around to relieve some of the acidity. Good luck with your garden!

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