Shade Loving Plants for the Woodland Garden

The Woodland Garden in the Summer
One of my favorite gardens is the Woodland Garden.  Woodland Gardens appeal to me because they are not formal, take less work to maintain and it is a garden designed to appear the way that nature would have made it.  They are relaxing, slightly unkempt, and lush with plantings. Woodland Gardens are places where you just want to sit down, watch the birds and squirrels and enjoy the life around you. 
If you have a wooded area in your landscape, consider designing a Woodland Garden.  Start with an entrance to the garden, like an arbor or gate.  Add a pathway to lead you into and around the garden.  A path can be river rock, mulch, or just dirt.
This garden can be all native plantings or it can contain selected shade loving perennials, shrubs, trees and bulbs that you like.  In my garden, I prefer a combination of natives and plants that I enjoy. I try to add plantings that add year round color in leaves, flowers and bark.  I also add early blooming shrubs and bulbs to start this garden into bloom after a long cold winter.
Plant selection is important in the Woodland Garden.  Plants need to be shade loving and able to survive in low light conditions. They also must be able to tolerate dry conditions that can occur in the summer and competition from the surrounding trees.  Here are a few of my favorite plants in my garden.
Annabelle Hydrangea
Assorted colors of  Hosta
Ghost Fern

Japanese Painted Fern

Forget- Me- Not
Virginia Bluebell
Assorted Foam Flowers

Oakleaf Hydrangea with fall color
Oakleaf Hydrangea with Ostrich Ferns

Variegated Solomon's Seal and native Solomon's Seal
Yellow Archangel  (AGGRESSIVE)

Assorted colors of  Hellebore for spring color
Wood Poppy
Sweet Woodruff
Marsh Marigold
Prairie Trillium
Grape Hyacinth

A shrub that I like in my garden is Witch Hazel, which can come in shades of yellow or orange for spring color. I also like  Dogwood and Red Bud trees for their spring color.  Look for shrubs and trees that have blooms and variegated leaves for added color that can be placed along the outside edge of your Woodland Garden.  Native plants that I like are Bloodroot, Mayapples, Jack in the Pulpit and Wild Ginger. Do your research on what plants are available in your area or that are native.

Next week, I plan to make a trip to the Indianapolis Home Show to visit their gardens. Check back for some new pictures of spring flowers.  Those of us who live in cold climates are ready for Spring to arrive!

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Happy Gardening!



Brooke Kroeger said…
What a lovely selection. I only have a bit of shade, so I make the very best of it. I love your ghost fern and JPF's. I have several varieties and after several years I can no longer tell them apart, but they are <3'd. I too grow several hydrangeas, but I adore both of my oakleafs. One is Snow queen and the other is Princess? One is much smaller. They are both less than two years in the garden, so still coming into thier own. I am glad you added the trillium to your list. This is an under appreciated plant. I found one three years ago near a creek on our four wheelers one day. I took it home in a sandwitch baggie and planted it under the shade of the porch. Since then that area has really filled in and now I have to look for my little start. But it has come back and I hope to see it again soon.

Yes, several are agressive spreaders, I have many of them in my garden, but I do not use mulch (if I can avoid it) so some green groundcovers are a blessing. I especially like the wood poppy. I had to look it up several years ago when it started blooming in my front border. It was a "freebie" from a garden club sale

Just about 50 days till spring... can't wait!

Thanks for sharing!
God bless....Brooke
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