Gardening in the shade presents some challenges but you don’t have to default to hostas, hostas, hostas. There are many beautiful options which are made for the shade. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE hostas, but it’s nice to try something different. In a shady garden, we have to rely more on leaf colour and texture and less on flowers. Many shade plants are spring bloomers. These plants evolved to flower early before the tree canopy leafed out and created shade. By choosing plants with different leaf colours, you can keep your garden looking bright even if nothing is in bloom. Flower colour selection makes a difference too. Pale colours such as white, mauve and lime green glow in a shade garden (especially in the evening or at night under garden lighting). Even if they are not your favourite daytime colours, opting for the pastels will make your shade garden pop!
Early spring bloomers include lungwort (Pulmonaria) , periwinkle (Vinca minor) , Siberian bugloss (Brunneral macrophylla), violets (Violas),Pigsqueek (Berigia cordifolia), lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis) and primroses (Primula).
For summer colour try: Astilbe (A. chinensis or A. japonica), Ligularia,
For texture and foliage colour try: Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra), ferns, Coral bells (Heuchera)
For fall blooms try: Turtlehead (Chelone obliqua), snakeroot (Eupatorium) and black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa)