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The Flower Show

Perennials: Shade Gardening

April 29, 2020

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Perennials:  Shade Gardens

Take a walk in the woods with PHS's Jenny Rose Carey, Senior Fellow in Horticulture, and learn how to plant a gorgeous shade garden in an area dominated by tree cover.  

Jenny shares two crucial aspects that make shade gardening ideal in our region, both related to tree cover from native deciduous trees. First, since these trees will not grow out their leaves until later in the spring, this ‘shaded’ area receives more sun in the early spring, making now the ideal time to divide and re-plant spreading perennials.  

Secondly, when the trees drop their leaves at the end of the growing season, they should be left alone so they can rest and decompose in the soil (rather than clearing them away). They will add important soil nutrients and moisture that will encourage growth in the next spring—as a natural layer of compost.  

Jenny shares a few of her favorite shade-friendly plants, including the ever-popular hostas, deer-resistant forget-me-nots and a patch of Virginia Bluebells, a favorite spring native plant on the East Coast featuring beautiful spring blooms. 

Perennials: Shade Gardens

Perennials Series: Shade Gardens

Have questions about shade gardens? Visit AskPHS, our forum for your plant and gardening questions.