Posted: 25/11/2015 at 19:31
Off the top of my head I can think there are brunnera, primulas, hostas, aquilegia, many different hardy geraniums, hesperis, coreopsis, foxgloves, knautia, nepeta, lavender, californian poppies, several different forms of campanula, nasturtiums, fennel, salvias, various annuals, geums, roses, choisya, philadelphus, fruit trees, raspberries, currants, evergreen and deciduous shrubs and quite a few more!
As you can see I don't make too many allowances for the garden facing north. Some of these plants would, ideally, have a sunnier site but they are all fine. I have a few plants (lupins, pinks, delphiniums and penstemon are some) which I try to plant in the areas with the best drainage and / or the most sun but even some of those stray into the shadiest bits.
Re leaves on gravel. We have a large gravel drive & 2 huge mature trees which produce loads of leaves. A spring tine lawn rake makes short work of raking the leaves into piles. I find it easier than raking them on the lawn.
Enjoy your planting!