I love shade gardens
! Contrary to what people tend to think, there are lots of plants that thrive with minimal light and some even bloom, although more of them are used for their colorful foliage. It would help if you could get a soil test and find out what the acidity (pH) of your soil is. Many of the shade
perennials are acid lovers and will not do well if your soil is alkaline.
heuchera/ coral bells - Coral bells have been hybridized into many beautiful foliage colors and color combinations. All of these are heuchera
hepatica - hepatica is a very nice ground cover, but is one that has to have acidic soil or it will curl up and die.
solomon seal - One of my favorite native shade
plants. Quick spreading, but not invasive or aggressive, very adaptable re soil conditions. The original species is a spring ephemeral that doesn't last long in the garden, but the hybrid version has white variegation that makes it much showier in shade
and it lasts most of the season.
western bracken fern - one of the only ferns that thrives in dry shade
(as opposed to the very moist locations most ferns like), it is an aggressive spreader (which may be what you are looking for)
ajuga/ bugleweed/ carpet bugle - low ground cover with flower spikes in spring. It can handle almost absolute shade
. Grown more for the colorful foliage.
astilbe - one of the few plants to produce brilliantly colored flowers in shade
. It is a relative of our native goat's beard. Comes in red, pink, lavender, white.
bleeding heart - one of the most beautiful shade
plants, with heart shaped flowers, in red, pink or all white, hanging down from arched stems. Relative of native dutchman's breeches
hosta - hosta is the classic shade
perennial that everyone thinks of. Comes in a wide range of sizes from tiny to huge and a range of foliage colors from almost all white, to blue-greens, yellow-greens, variegations. In the bleeding heart picture above, the golden variegated plant on the right is a hosta. Not sure about the foliage plant at the bottom, possibly tuberous begonia. Ferns on the left. Nice example of a shade
garden. But just do a google search on shade gardens
images and you will find tons of beautiful inspiration pictures.
Some of these you will find in stores if you have a good nursery. Most of them should be available if you have a native plants nursery and all of them are available from catalogs. The height of summer is not a good time to plant shade
plants and you may need to wait until Sept.
Have fun! Let us know what you pick for your shade