I need some ideas for types of tiny plants to add to my gnome garden in deep shade,dry soil of a huge double trunk oak.I do try to water on a regular bases. I'd like to put in something ground hugging around the stones in the path,something that would look like little trees and shrubs...of course something with tiny blooms too. About all I have ,small,in that area are some mini hostas I grew from seed. Use to have some small ferns but they've disappeared over the years. I use to have some 2 inch flower pots w/cold cast resin flowers on either side of the door to the gnome house but the STINKIN' SQUIRRELS finaly destoryed them.
I've tried Irish and scotch moss and even native mosses moved from other parts of the yard but they just don't take.
bigred, I've been following your thread about those pesky squirrels. A really nice ground cover for shady areas is sweet woodruff, here is a link to it in plant files http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/55/
Have you tried Lamium? It's a bit invasive but it sounds like your conditions are pretty harsh so it would, in theory, slow it down. You may have to water it on a regular basis this summer to get it established, but it's awfully pretty with its variegated leaves - especially in the shade.
Some are evergreen, the one I have is deciduous. The flowers on mine are light pink (I think ;-) or almost white. Zone 5-ish too. It's a bit big for my miniature gardens but I think it would work well for a gnome garden.
There is also small-leaf ivy (Hedera ~ the non-invasive kind!) and Vinca too - purple flowers in the summer, get the low-growing kind... not too sure what trees would work in that dry soil - I know my trees would like damp soil at the very least - but I'll keep my eye out!
www.Perennials.com has a great advanced search and you can really pinpoint what you're looking for.
Have you considered Ajuga? They're all ground-hugging, and the 'Chip' series is especially small. Take a look at this site and click through the "next plant" to see several www.gardencrossings.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=plants.plantDetail&plant_id=1433