Turns out that Long-Beaked Sedge (Carex sprengelii) has all the qualities I am looking for in a grass-like plant for the shade garden. Some may ask, how is a sedge different from a grass? The short answer is that sedges are like grasses, but different. A longer answer is that Sedges belong to a different …

It’s easy to love the woodland spring ephemeral flowers – the Bluebells, Bloodroots, Bluets, and Trilliums. But what about plants that persist in the shade after the ephemerals are gone?

How can you not love Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)? They are coming into their own in our garden right now. The clusters of soft blue tubular flowers are fantastic, especially combined with the pink and purple buds.

So I thought I was doing a good thing when I planted a purple-leaved Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana ‘Schubert’) in the back garden, and another along the east side of the house. Chokecherry is a small North American tree with great wildlife value. I was looking forward to the flowers, the fruits (small and very sour, …

The most recent issue of Fine Gardening magazine had an interesting article by Toronto gardener Mary Gore entitled “Continuous Color in the Shade.” There’s a lot to commend in this article, not least the marvelous photos, but among other things it got me thinking about color schemes for shade. In most shady gardens, color in …

It has been my ambition to have red fruits adding to our garden’s fall and winter appeal, particularly in the shade garden in back. My main plant for achieving this goal was supposed to be Cranberrybush Viburnum (Viburnum trilobum). On this score, the effort was a complete failure, mainly because squirrels eat all the fruit …

When I saw Late Figwort (Scrophularia marilandica) listed in one of my favorite native-plant catalogs, I was immediately intrigued.

Flowers for shade, especially perennials, are usually associated with springtime, before the leaf canopy fills in and blocks most of the sunlight.  We do have a few summer blooms in our shady back garden, though.

So let’s take a look at our containers in the shady back garden, shall we?

Last fall I purchased 2 Bowman’s Root (Porteranthus trifoliatus or Gillenia trifoliata, depending on who  you ask), after seeing them massed beautifully outside Lurie Garden. Though it’s been less than a year, I’ve made up my mind: I definitely want more.