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.

How is it that the 2 leading common names of Aruncus dioicus are Goat’s Beard and Bride’s Feathers? Apparently plants can be a sort of Rorschach test, reflecting great variations in perception within the human psyche.

American Fringe Trees (Chionanthus virginicus) and Peonies have little in common, except that they are providing some of the most striking blooms in our garden at this moment.  

Suddenly, it’s gone from a cool spring to a warm summer.

Every year I like to give a little push for 2 native Currants that, I believe, could be more widely utilized in home landscapes.

When we moved into our current house, the front foundation planting consisted of clipped Japanese Yews (Taxus cuspidata). One of the first things I did was cut down the Yews and replace them with a planting of Ostrich Ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris) and various shade perennials.