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Shade Garden Foliage Perennial Plants

Text by Erica Bowman

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A shade garden necessitates a nuanced collection of foliage-rich plants. Here is an example of a foliage-based shade garden created in Vermont.

Of the foliage plants, the most brilliant seems to be a dwarf chartreuse hosta that offsets the dark glaucous greens of European ginger (Asarumeuropaeum), the silver-speckles of lungwort (Pulmonariasaccharata), the aubergine leaves of bugleweed (Ajuga reptans cultivars), the deeper purple of coral bells (Heuchera micrantha var. diversifolia ‘Palace Purple’) and several contrasting shades of foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia cultivars).

Adding height and interest to the garden’s center are the evergreen Christmas ferns (Polystichumacrostichoides), hay-scented fern (Dennstaedtia punctilobula), dark red Astilbe xarendsii ‘Fanal’, the two-toned ‘Frances Williams’ hosta and umbrella-leaved astilboides (Astilboides tabularis).

As you can see, a mix of exuberant foliage perennials makes a shady corner anything buy dark and dreary.

Image and design: Erica Bowman