Shady border planting

A shaded area of the garden doesn’t need to be a problem. On the contrary by using the right plants in the right place, as championed by leading plants women Beth Chatto, and concentrating on contrasting leaf textures and plant form (rather than flowers and flower colour) you can create a lush and exciting planting scheme that gives year round interest and requires less maintenance than a traditional herbaceous border.

We have put together a planting plan using 7 plants perfect for a shady woodland border. The area is 1.5m deep and 2.5m long and uses 19 plants in total.

Buxus sempervirens
A deservedly popular evergreen shrub with small, shiny, dark green foliage that is easily clipped to produce a dense neatly outlined plant. Topiary spheres act as a valuable punctuation in planting schemes giving structure and year round interest.

Digitalis purpurea ‘Alba’
A tall biennial foxglove with beautiful creamy to pure white flowers. Perfect toward the back of a border where it will light up a shady spot and draw bees and butterflies into the garden.

Luzula nivea
Especially useful in difficult areas this evergreen grass-like perennial has fine, linear dark green leaves.  Over time it forms soft clumps and slowly spreads to produce a neat textural ground cover. In mid summer masses of tufted white flowers are borne lasting for several weeks, these are also great for drying to put into indoor arrangements.

Polystichum setiferum
A large, dramatic, semi evergreen fern with coarse textured, delicate lacy fronds. In spring it unfurls adding drama to woodland schemes where it contrasts beautifully with fine textured foliage plants.

Sarcococca confusa
An evergreen shrub perfect for shady borders near entrances or pathways where it’s small white flowers will fill the air with sweet heady fragrance in winter. Fine textured, lustrous foliage adds to the appeal of this slow growing rounded shrub. Flowers are followed by spherical shiny black berries.

Skimmia x confusa ‘Kew Green’
A very useful mound forming evergreen shrub. It tolerates dry shaded positions and in spring produces small greenish-white flowers which have a wonderful scent. Glossy coarse textured leaves shine out even in the shadiest of spots.

Tellima grandiflora
Lovely semi evergreen rosettes of leaves create mounded ground cover in shady areas. Tall spikelets of pretty whitish-green flowers are sent up from May to July that dance in the breeze to add movement to a scheme.

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