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Small plants for dry raised bed in the shade

south central, WI(Zone 5a)

Was digging out Bishops Weed from the heaped with large rocks bed ( also rocks planted in the ammended soil..).at my new place. Took backward tumble. Was Very lucky as hit the pile of baptisima plants instead of the large rocks on either side. Going to put down landscape fabric and build up a small raised rock garden (from edge of bed!)
I live in 5a, as it will be raised won't have to deal with solid clay, will be in almost total shade. Will probable get a tat extra water when I do the ferns on edge of bed.
Any help would be appreciated..still amazed that I got by with just being a bit stiff!

Hobart, IN

Sounds like you were lucky! Are you thinking shade-loving alpine-like plants? Is there such a thing?

south central, WI(Zone 5a)

Very lucky. I have been looking in books..probably will have to focus on dry shade plants and neat rocks. Will probably check out the Flower Factory to see what is available. From what I undestand, alpine likes scree (finely chipped stone..I want to use loam..just not have to keep it watered regularly.

Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

Check out pictures at North American Rock Garden society website.
Lots of rock garden plants for both sun and shade. Lots of beauties are pictured there.
You won't find any of the plants shown at Lowe's or even your local nursery.
But there are several excellent on-line nurseries selling choice rock garden stock.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

One plant that could work well for you is arabis caucausica. I have been growing it for the last ten years in what was clay but has been corrected with compost. I have in on both the north side of my house as well as the west side. I recently established some under a crabapple. It slowly and beautifully spreads, and out of flower forms a gray/green mat.

I totally neglect it! It comes back and gets bigger every year.

In bloom, in bud

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Dearborn, MI(Zone 5b)

I've had good luck with various epimediums in dry shade.

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7a)

I've been pleasantly surprised that Portulaca has survived for me in similar

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I have a successful and large spread of epimediums too!

south central, WI(Zone 5a)

Will do some checking. Rescued huge clumps of moss roses..will let them seed out in the bed (when I get it made).
Just finishing bringing the last of the plants over from old place..and am "curb appealing" it with the hostas and daylilies from here.
Will be great to garden just in one place, as have lost so many plants to heat/drought..just couldn't keep up with the watering.
Hope next year is nicer!

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

Donna: Your Arabis is lovely. I have some growing in a rock wall and love it -- but I never tried it on the ground. Is it drought tolerant? How much shade will it take? I have a spot in mind if you say 'yes' and 'lots'...

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

It's quite drought tolerant. I neglect it until it is wliting and losing sections. Then you water it and POW! It comes right back. It will take quite a bit of shade. I have some in full sun and some on the north side of my house, and the one in less sun is three times as big, and much happier.

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

Excellent. Under my big oak tree it will go (still gets some occasional sun at the base). As it happens, I took a few cuttings a month or so ago....

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Mine is under a big mature crabapple that and gets very little sun. I'll forget to water it for a couple of weeks and it starts to look shriveled. Then I say, oh!, water it, and it continues to spread.

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

I'm thrilled, because I love Arabis but mine has never spread.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

The patch I showed you above has been in for a good ten years of mostly neglect. It got almost no water this summer. It just gets bigger and bigger every year. That's why I established it at my new house. It can be a little iffy for the first month or two and then it becomes ironclad. Interesting that it is known mostly as an alpine plant. I established it during a drought this year.

I love this plant. It just sparkles in the spring. I round the corner every spring and POP! There it is. So cheerful.

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

It looks lovely in the cracks of a stone wall -- but it only survives a year or two which is why I thought it might be finicky. I'm excited to try it elsewhere!

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

On the ground it has more contact with the soil, which I think really helps.

This winter I am going to germinate some more so that I can surround all my trees with it.

Coon Rapids, MN(Zone 4b)

I have dry shade in zone 4b, so you should have luck with some of the plants that work well for me. Sweet woodruff, cranesbill geraniums, lamium (I like Herman's Pride, as some of the others are too invasive), some hostas, pachysandra, hellebores, foxglove, solomon's seal, lady's mantle, heuchera, and tiarella all work for me. My soil is very sandy, and doesn't hold moisture well at all. If you are using loam in a raised bed, your soil won't be as dry as mine. I hope this helps!

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I6blue, that is really interesting. I grew several of those plants in clay amended with compost in full sun and partial shade: heuchera, foxglove, lady's mantle, cranesbills.

Great list of, clearly, pretty bulletproof plants!

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

My lady's mantle rots out. Should I keep it more dry?

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Yes, I think so. Mine didn't get a lot of rainfall because it's under an enormous crabapple. The first pic was taken in 2007. The third in 2010.

I'm finding that it doesn't like full shade. And it doesn't like a lot of water. I haven't been able to succesfully grow it here - still trying!!!!!

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Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

What do you mean, that you haven't been successful? Yours looks great!

Do you think it would tolerate the same conditions as Arabis -- dry shade?

This message was edited Sep 17, 2012 11:50 AM

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Those are the ones at my previous house. Every time I try one here in a greater amount of shade it just shriveled. And I think I overwatered it.

I will probably conduct my own little experiment by gettting one, beefing it up in a pot, dividing it and trying it in a couple of places.

I just googles some articles that recommended ladie's mantle for slopes and wet sites. I won't send you the firt one, because advertisememnts popo up.

But this one makes it sound like you can do anything:

This one indicates any site and soil, but some moisture:

I think it has to have some moisture - but not too much, like my original site.

Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

I agree w/ Happy, I can't imagine a more content lady's mantle.

I definitely find lady's mantle needs good drainage. Open situation in partial shade best around here.
They fry in full sun, sulk in full shade, & rot in normal garden soil. Other than that, not fussy at all.

There are some adorable smaller species (alchemilla alpina, ellenbacki and erythropda) which I think are even nicer, but they are even more insistent on sharp drainage.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Well, you certainly nailed it, Weerobin. In the early years before the crabapple became enormous, they would fry. Once thee crabapple shaded it, I got picture book lady's mantle. I took it for granted. They were planted in the usual "scrape off the top soil" crud, but I would apply compost around them every year. They got huge, some 2 feet across.

Here, they sulk in full shade. I think that, with your keen observations, I know where to plant them in spring. It's an area of relatively unimproved soil (the previous owner was the leaf mulch king, but used less compost than I do, and I don't think they liked compost underneath them).

I think that was threw me was that the coral bells near it thrived, and boy did I abuse some of them when I brought them over!

I threw one in a pot all winter and forgot to water it (pic 1, April of 2012). I almost threw it away.

It rose from the dead (pic 2, May 20, 2012)

I moved seven heuchera. They all thrived.

I though they were fussy. But not as fussy as lady's mantle!

Now to find a good supplier! I miss this plant.

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Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

Wow, Lazarus for sure.

Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

Oops. I was going to attach a picture of one of the smaller alchemillas which I use in a shaded rock garden.
It's smaller size and finer overall texture is more suitable for rock garden situations.
And it needs the sharp drainage of a rock garden definitely.
This is alchemilla erythropoda.
You can see how small the leaves are in comparison with the dead leaves nearby.

My favorite is alchemilla alpina, but I couldn't find a picture.
It is even smaller and it's leaves have a fine white outline which highlights the pleated texture.
Looks really cute in a small rock garden.

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Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

Would that I had sharp drainage...

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

What a little beauty!

Now I'm looking around to find a supplier. I think I may just wait and go to a nursery a few miles away that is like my old one - Platt Hill Nursery in Carpentersville. It's terrific. I got several nice miscanthus late in the season from them. I may spin by there and see if they have lady's mantle. I like picking my own plant and deep sixing the shipping charges. They had it this season, so they'll have it in spring.

Weerobin, I get the best ideas from you. I love the Deutzias. Inspired by you, I have embraced my shade, and I just love the little treasures I put in it.

south central, WI(Zone 5a)

Some pretty plants and ideas. I have some listed here, that I can move over.
Have new question to post right after this.

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