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***Advice needed***

My garden is a funny design, I have one side which gets sun all day and gets bone dry in the summer and to be honest were all the colour is in the garden, the other side is in complete shade and gets no sunlight mainly because of the fence dividing my garden and next doors, i have put in ferns, foxgloves, (busy lizzies in the summer) and the odd rhododendron bush there as well, however i would like a bit more colour down this side of the garden so its balanced out, the soil becomes quite wet after a downpour as the garden is on a slope and is were all the rain water runs off too, im not in a position to improve drainage so this isnt an option, when its been warm for some time it drys out completely, anyone suggest any plants with lots of colour that i can add which will tollerate these conditions?

Hi Daniel 2323

I have a plot North facing in shade located in N.E.After much experimenting I successfully grow Begonia,s ( plenty of colour ) fuschsia,s nocotiana and senecio

Good luck

Mike W



How about corydalis flowers in spring? Hellebores? or white flowers on silvery foliage? Heucheras...colour from foliage (from red to yellow to silver)....that have loads of flowers in summer? I find that aster frikartii monch flowers well in flowers galore from mid summer to autumn. Brunneras? Many geraniums like shade....phaem Margaret Wilson, for example, with whitish foliage and pinkish flowers? I could list many more but the new guinea impatiens love shade and provide masses of summer colour long with foliage interest. Pulmonarias, Aconitums, primulas, and how about Japanese anemones.....esp the new Wild Swan?

Damp shade - astilbe

When will any of these be available in the GC?



It sounds as if your soil has some clay in/under it with it staying wet & then drying out hard. If Rhodos cope then it's on the acidic side.

If that side is completely in shade all day, then colour will be in short supply. However most 'shade' areas do get some sort of light sometimes, unless North facing & surrounded by high walls/fences. A lot of shade tolerant plants are spring flowering, but not all. Think about what grows under trees in a dense wood.

You could try painting the fence a pale colour to lighten up the background behind your plants.

Further away from the fence there will be more light, so by widening the border you could have more plants there that will cope better.

Shrubs- Azaleas, rhododendrons, ribes, pieris, sarcococcca, skimmias, some viburnums- deciduous/evergreen, chanomeles, cornus- they will love the moisture, hydrangeas, including the climbing one which could eventually cover the fence, ivies too- lots of small leaved varigated types, euonymous- the varigated emerald & gold will climb, no flowers though, fuschias- lots of hardy ones, usually the less showy flower types.

Plants- heucheras, bergenias, small spring flowering bulbs- before any overhead tree canopy closes in, vincas- minor less invasive, solomons' seals, hardy geraniums, some campanulas, foxgloves, hellebores, japanese anemones, winter flowering jasmine- yellow flowers, some honeysuckles,campanulas, lysimachia, aquilegias, forget-me-nots, cyclamen, dicentras,

I could carry on walking around my garden, but think you've now got the idea. Shade gardens are challenging, but can be just as good, but in a different way to those in full sun. BTW there are lots of shades of green too! J.




Hiya danielm2323. Get some catalogues from Woottens, paddock plants, hardys, heucheroholics etc.....sure others will give you names. Many nurseries supply smallish plants you can pot up now to make good sized plants for summer. Garden centres will soon have perennials in small pots too to pot up now. Be discerning and check out the varieties you really want that prob cannot be got from your local garden centre. For example, Heucheroholics supply a wide range of,Heucheras, heucherellas, and tiarellas to give different flower and,foliage colour and they aren't really,too expensive. There are loads of nurseries online that offer fantastic value. Have fun checking them out!

Lots of good choices there Danielm. Bright colours don't come naturally in the shade and the more subdued light doesn't show them off well.

hellebores and lots of spring bulbs for early colour


I agree with nutcutlet - I have a shady northfacing border and whites and pale colours show up much better in the lower light levels.  There are plenty of clematis that will cope well with those conditions, both the alpinas and the larger flowered varieties.

I have a garden where 40% of it is in shade for 6 months of year, reducing to around 5% even in the height of summer (ie no sun ever). However, I still grow sun loving and semi-shade plants there and they still get on -the only difference is that they do tend to grow a bit taller no doubt reaching up for the light. I have relatively sandy soil so it doesn't get too damp and wet. Might be an issue if your ground is shade and wet, for sun lovers. One plant I do grow very well in shade is aconitum or Monks Hood. That is a woodland plant anyway, so it is bound to do well. Just be aware that everything about it is toxic, but so are most garden plants!

Hello,here also some ideas, maybe: Spotted Deadnettle, Hydrangea, Caladium, Impatiens, Coral Bells, Bleeding Hear, Jacob's Ladder and False Spirea.Greetings, ThaiGer.

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