Posted: 09/04/2013 at 15:23
Where to start?
Spring bulbs - anaemones, chinodoxa, species crocus, smaller daffs, bluebells, muscari, erythroniums, frittillary- if moist enough.
Plants - heucheras, japanese anemones, hardy geraniums- lots to chose from, Vinca minor, Solomons seal, epimediums- if dry shade, ajugas for ground cover, yes various ivies, lamiums.
Grasses - I've got an evergreen yellow grass, a carex I think, growing really well in a dry shade similar situation.
It does depend on why it's shade/what's causing it. Under deciduous trees lots of the spring bulbs pop up, flower then die back as the tree canopy above closes up. The soil beneath trees is invariably dry too, because of the tree's roots, so you need to plant in 'pockets' to get things established.
Fences/house walls however are permanent so the shade is almost 'deeper'. Usually just as dry, because of the rain shadow.
Hope some of these suggestions help. J.