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Shady Gardens: Low Growing Flower Meadow

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RoseMaria
Lakewood, OH

April 6, 2008
3:03 PM

Post #4765773

Hi, my backyard is mostly in shade, from partial to almost deep & I can't grow grass very well. I want to plant a wildflower meadow with low growing flowers (& perhaps with a low growing grass mix for the areas that can grow grass). I, of course, want everything. I'd like them to be 6" or under (or at least under 12") & have staggering bloom times. Any suggestions? I'm in zone 5/6 (sometimes my area is shown as 5b or 6a). I'm relatively new to gardening & this is my first post to Dave's, so thank you in advance!
doss
Stanford, CA
(Zone 9b)

April 7, 2008
1:51 AM

Post #4768672

Welcome RoseMaria! I hope that you enjoy DG a lot. I can't help you much with your problem though - I"m zone challenged when it gets down to zone 5. However, there are some astilbes that say under a foot.
RoseMaria
Lakewood, OH

April 8, 2008
1:56 PM

Post #4775511

Thanks! I just picked up a new, to me, book (from 1998) called the "Treasury of Gardening" & it says I'm zone 6b, who knows! I live close to Lake Erie so I guess that's why it's hard to pinpoint. Thanks for the suggestion. I'll look up Astilbe & see what I can find.
doss
Stanford, CA
(Zone 9b)

April 8, 2008
10:35 PM

Post #4777738

Ajuga is blooming here right now.

gardenlady123

gardenlady123
Plainwell, MI
(Zone 5b)

May 7, 2008
12:50 AM

Post #4916525

Rosemarie... do you only want wildflowers??? Epimediums are a very nice bloomer and the foliage looks great all summer. They are in blossom right now. Trilliums are nice...Jack in the pulpits, lily of the valley, tooth wort violets, snow drops in the early spring... Of course cant think of anything elas right now... About all we have is shade so Im right there with you. Ronna
sempervirens
Northern, NJ
(Zone 6b)

May 7, 2008
10:44 AM

Post #4917998

Hi Rosemarie,
In the shade I grow a few native ground covers to fill in and provide continuity in my shade garden. Mitchella repens (partridge berry) has small delicate low growing mat forming leaves (evergreen) and briefly tiny white flowers. I never see the little red berries because the are eaten quickly but it is my favorite ground cover because it allows all the spring ephemerals to grow through it and protects and marks their spot when they are gone. The native wild ginger, Asarum canadense, forms larger clumps more quickly and has the most fascinating purple flowers but you'll never see them unless you get down to ground level and lift the leaves. Allegheny spurge, the prettier and much better behaved native version, pachysandra procumbens, develops lovely mottled leaves and small white spikes of flowers in early spring.

I interplant lots of spring ephemerals: Bloodroot (sanguinaria canadensis) brief white luminous daisy like flowers with much longer lasting waterlily like leaves that actually get larger as time passes until they disappear in the summer. Rue anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides) is longer lasting in bloom and I wish I had waves of them instead of 2 plants.
gardenlady mentioned trilliums and Jack in the pulpits which are lovely. Ferns are perfect fillers. The native Dicentra eximia blooms most of the summer unlike it's Asian counterpart. Hepatica is another and false Solomon seal (Smilacina racemosa) for the red berries in the Fall. Merry bells (Uvalaria grandiflora) and twinleaf (Jeffersonia diphylla), foamflower (Tiarella) and wild geranium (Geranium maculatum) and wood phlox (phlox divaricata) are a few more I can think of. 'Native Plants of the Northeast ' by Donald Leopold is a good book to look at.
sempervirens
Northern, NJ
(Zone 6b)

May 7, 2008
4:56 PM

Post #4919497

Here is the Asarum canadense, wild ginger. The spotted coating over everything is very heavy pollen from the trees.

Thumbnail by sempervirens
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sempervirens
Northern, NJ
(Zone 6b)

May 7, 2008
5:20 PM

Post #4919596

The flowers of the wild ginger are hidden but very interesting.

Thumbnail by sempervirens
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sempervirens
Northern, NJ
(Zone 6b)

May 8, 2008
8:48 AM

Post #4922775

The tallest plant in this grouping is the Blue Cohosh at about a foot.
Starting in the left corner proceeding clockwise is Blue Cohosh, Allegheny Spurge, Dicentra, Wood Phlox, Blood Root, Heuchera, White Wild Geranium,and Christmas Fern.

Thumbnail by sempervirens
Click the image for an enlarged view.

sempervirens
Northern, NJ
(Zone 6b)

May 8, 2008
9:41 AM

Post #4922821

This photo is of yellow flowering Merry Bells. This group slowly spread from 1 plant.

Thumbnail by sempervirens
Click the image for an enlarged view.

gardenlady123

gardenlady123
Plainwell, MI
(Zone 5b)

May 8, 2008
1:05 PM

Post #4923270

semp... is correct the wild ginger is very pretty and very slow to spread. Mine is very dense foliage now. Very nice. Did any one mention solomon seals??? They are nice and get little white flowers on them mine are about to open right now. I even recieved some japanese solomon seals an a trade last year and they are some what taller and the leaves are verigated. Nice. Foam flowers and in blossom now very nice. Prim roses of all sorts are opened now and have been for a while LOVE those!!! Heruceras (sp) are very nice all season also and in so many colors now. Have a great shady day!!! Ronna

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