Monthly Archives: April 2016
Shade is a blessing and a curse to the gardener. Nothing is as refreshing as a shady nook on a hot summer day, but nothing is as challenging to plant as a shady nook, right? To help make it easier on you we want to provide a list of the top ten plants for shade, whether it's dry shade, full shade, deep shade or dappled shade. We're sure you will find something to make your shade garden sing!
1) Hosta (Hosta sp.) - These are the queens of the shady garden. Perennials that die to the ground with the first freeze, they unfurl dramatic leaves in the spring in a huge range of patterns and shades of green.
2) Columbine (Aquilegia) - If you're looking for flowering plants for shade, you can't go wrong with these little beauties. Striking flower shapes and colors attract hummingbirds, too!
3) Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) - Classic flowering bushes for shade, hydrangeas are scene-stealers in your shady garden. They make a humdrum spot instantly romantic.
4) Periwinkle (Vinca minor) - is a shade loving groundcover that has beautiful purple/blue flowers. Looks great under woodland ephemerals and is thick enough to keep weeds away.
5) Lamium (Lamium maculatum) - This short-statured groundcover looks great between stepping stones, handles light foot traffic and comes in a wide array of leaf shapes and colors. It also blooms in the spring attracting pollinators!
6) Astilbe (Astilbe chinensis) - This beauty pumps up huge feathery plumes from deep red to pink to white all spring and summer. Instant refinement for your garden.
7) Impatiens (Impatiens sp. esp. walleriana) - These garden annuals are flower powerhouses, covering themselves in jewel toned flowers all summer. Hugely popular bedding plants, these are great in containers, too.
8) Fern (leptosporangiate) - This is a wide group of plants, many native to the US, that are commonly found in woodlands. They range from stream dwellers that thrive in wet conditions to ones that love dry shade. They add an uncommon grace and instant woodland appeal to home gardens or containers.
9) Black Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens') - This dark leaved little plant is striking as an edger around your shady beds. Always draws attention.
10) Coral Bells (Heuchera) - You can have an interesting and beautiful shade garden with nothing but coral bells. The leaves come in a wide range of forms and colors from deep maroon to electric chartreuse. Many of them send up spikes of flowers, too! Thrives in hard to plant areas like under oaks.
Here at Nature Hills we often get asked about specific plants for specific locations. Some questions we get frequently are, "What kind of plants do well in salty conditions? What are good salt tolerant trees, shrubs, perennials and bushes?"
It's interesting because of the wide range of areas that this question comes from. There's the usual suspects - Florida, the Gulf Coast, South Texas and California. Then there's the not-so-expected places like Minnesota, Chicago and Pennsylvania. Why those places? It's because the salt there isn't salt spray from the ocean, but salt build-up from winter de-icing on the roads. That kind of salt can be just as damaging as ocean spray. When salt lands on the leaves of a plant or is washed into the soil, a process happens where the water in the plant is leeched out by the salt. This eventually kills plants that aren't immune to this process. To help answer the question, we wanted to put together a list of the top salt tolerant plants - both salt water tolerant plants and road salt tolerant plants - on the market.
1) Rugosa or Salt Spray Rose (Rosa rugosa) - These aren't the hybrid teas or long stemmed roses you find in a florist. These are the rough and tumble 'wild' roses found for years in fields and probably in your grandma's garden. They are romantic and old-fashioned. Not only are they salt-tolerant, but you get months of beautiful blooms to boot.
2) Oleander (Oleander nerium) - Another beautiful bloomer, oleanders are so tough they use them in the medians of the fourteen-lane freeways in Los Angeles. If they can stand salt air AND that much traffic abuse, you know they will perform well in your garden.
3) Pittosporum (Pittosporum tobira) - Don't discount the pittosporum family as lowly foundation plants. They have that reputation because they are tough as nails. Try them in mass to block a view in Chicago or to line a path in Palm Beach - these guys are up for the job.
4) Wax Myrtle (Myrica cerifera ) - Also called Bayberry shrubs. Great as an evergreen hedge, with tiny flowers and a spicy fragrance.
5) Cotoneaster (Integerrimus) - With a distinctive 'structured-but-wild' look, this hard working groundcover looks great all year, from spring leaves to fall berries.
6) Blueberry/Cranberry (Vaccinium spp.) - there aren't very many salt tolerant fruit trees, but if it's fruit you're after you can't beat these guys for fruit production.
7) Oak Trees (Quercus ssp.) - White and Red Oaks are champs when it comes to handling salt. They grow thick on both coasts and stand tall for generations.
8) Mugo Pine (Pinus mugo) - This mounding landscape evergreen conifer is a highlight in the landscape all year long.
9) Daylily (Hemerocallis spp.) - The gift that keeps on giving, these beautiful flowering perennials bloom all year in warm climates and provide a heavy summer show in cooler climes. They come in every conceivable color but true blue.
10) Fountain Grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides) - There are very few sights as lovely as tall grasses blowing in the breeze. The salt hardy pennisetum will add motion and beauty to your garden, whether by the beach or the driveway.