Most gardens have a shady spot: a north-facing wall, perhaps, or under a tree, or in the shadow of a nearby building. Learn to love your shade: you’ll find a world of new plants opens up, and you get a cool, pleasant nook to sit out of the heat of the day: perfect for enjoying an iced drink after a hot session gardening.
The range of plants you’ll find in the Whitehaven Garden Centre to grow in shade is extensive and includes delicate woodlanders, broad-leaved foliage plants and pretty spring flowers. We’ve picked our top ten shade-loving plants to turn your shady bits into garden highlights.
Hostas: there’s an ever-wider choice of bold, broad-leaved hostas, from beefy ribbed ‘Sum and Substance’ to white-splashed ‘Fire and Ice’.
Ferns: damp shady spots cry out for graceful Osmunda regalis or silver-and-purple Japanese painted ferns. If your shady spot is dry, grow Dryopteris felix-mas: ‘Cristata’ has curly-ended fronds.
Rodgersia: massive leaves like a bronzed horse-chestnut 30cm across erupt from the ground, followed by stately plumes of white or pink flowers
Foxgloves: living wild in woodland, foxgloves love dappled shade. Grow common foxglove in purple or white, or an eyecatching modern multicoloured hybrid.
Epimediums: among the prettiest spring woodlanders, the young emerging leaves in shades of copper are almost as lovely as the dancing flowers.
Pachysandra terminalis: a really useful ground-cover plant with a dense covering of evergreen leaves that grow even in the deepest shade.
Euonymus: choose from silver-and-green ‘Silver Queen’ or gold-and-green ‘Emerald ‘n’ Gold’ for an easy, evergreen, low-maintenance shrub that sings out from a shady spot.
Brunnera: with broad, ground-smothering leaves (in ‘Jack Frost’ they’re silvery-green), it’s the flowers which really steal the show, powder-blue and prolific throughout spring.
Hardy geraniums: among the easiest plants to grow, geraniums flower profusely in shade: choose pale-coloured varieties like Geranium sanguineum ‘Album’ to glow in low light.
Heucheras: heuchera leaves are every bit as colourful as flowers, from rich plum ‘Palace Purple’ to ‘Amber Waves’, the colour of butterscotch. They’re evergreen, too.