Non-native Shade Plants

Non-native Shade Plants

Part of Ep. 204 Container and Shade Gardening

Join Madison gardener Jean Rideout in her lush shade garden featuring hostas, tiarella, epimedium, begonia and pulmonaria.

Premiere date: May 31, 1994

TRANSCRIPT+
Wisc Gardener Transcript: 

Shelley:
We're in the shade garden of Madison, Wisconsin gardener Jean Rideout. You know, many people tell me that they can't garden because all they have is shade. Well, I think Jean's garden is a perfect example of some of the many choice a shade gardener actually has. Jean, since you're one of the founding members of the Wisconsin Hosta Society, it's only fair we start out with a hosta. What about the one behind you?

Jean:
That's called Love Pat. It's a beautiful shade of blue and has a very interesting texture. It'll get perhaps three feet in diameter eventually.

Shelley:
So that's definitely one of the larger ones. How old is it right now?

Jean:
Well, I'm not quite sure. I think I've had it five or six years, but I've moved it, you see. That always sets it back a bit.

Shelley:
Now will it stay this dense blue dolor that I'm looking at?

Jean:
Uh-huh, as long as it has shade.

Shelley:
So if we pulled something like that into more sun, it's not going to be as blue.

Jean:
Lose its blueness.

Shelley:
OK, what about the plant next to it, which I think is much more delicate than the bold Hosta?

Jean:
Well, that's tiarella, a native of Southeastern United States. And I think the foliage is so pretty. It stays that way all year. And the flowers are there for about six weeks and sometimes re-blooms.

Shelley:
So that's a very long bloomer for a perennial plant.

Jean:
It is, very long plant.

Shelley:
Well, it really is a very nice contrast to the larger leaves Well now, the one in front of it is really pretty, so delicate looking. That's epimedium, or barrenwort, but it certainly doesn't look barren to me.

Jean:
No, it's one of my favorites. It has really beautiful foliage, which many of them have the red edge. And, actually, it turns bronze in the fall and stays evergreen all winter.

Shelley:
Oh, really.

Jean:
And the flowers come in red, pink, white, yellow, and this lovely salmon or coral.

Shelley:
Now I've heard that this can be used as a ground cover in shade.

Jean:
Well, that's what they say, but I haven't had very good luck. It is beautiful and I love it, but it doesn't grow very fast.

Shelley:
So maybe use it more as a specimen and--

Jean:
I do.

Shelley:
Well, what about the hostas right here at the edge? Now they look like they're already starting to make a ground cover.

Jean:
Well, they are indeed. That's why it's advertised as a ground cover, an edger. And it works very nicely. It grows very rapidly and will fill in these spaces by the middle of summer.

Shelley:
Now this is Gold Edger, right?

Jean:
Yes.

Shelley:
That's a nice color. Well now, there you've got something that-- you know, people forget that annuals can also work in the shade. What kind of begonia is that in the rock?

Jean:
That's a Non Stop.

Shelley:
And you just planted it in a hollow? I planted it about two days ago.

Shelley:
Oh, really. That's nice. It adds a nice, yellow brightness to the-

Jean:
And of course, it will be there all summer when the other plants, most of them, stop blooming.

Shelley:
Well now, next to it it looks like you've got another epimedium. This is one that doesn't have the red edges, but it's got white flowers.

Jean:
Like little columbines.

Shelley:
Yeah, they look like miniature columbines. Well now, if we can't use epimedium as a ground cover, as tempting as it is, what about the plant behind it, the pachysandra?

Jean:
Good old pachysandra, that's a stand-by of Wisconsin gardens because it does do very nicely on deep shade, even on the shade of a Norway maple which is not easy. And it does have a lovely white flower. See, it's just beginning to bud.

Shelley:
Well, let's look at one more ground cover that's got a lot more color to it. These are some of many other choices for shade gardeners. Ferns, you've got the beautiful white flowers and also, delicate pink flower. Hostas come in many sizes, shapes, and forms. A large one, like some in substance, is a beautiful focal point in a woodland garden, but Jean, one of my favorites is always going to be the pulmonarias. I mean, it's so cheerful looking. It has such a shape and the colors are really nice. Now this is pulmonaria or lungwort. Which specific one are we looking at?

Jean:
This is Margery Fish and it's been in bloom for almost a month and will continue to bloom for several weeks.

Shelley:
So it's really a long bloomer for a perennial. Well, do all of them have these beautiful, white mottled leaves? It almost looks like somebody spilt milk on these.

Jean:
Almost all of them do. I have two that are plain. And then most of them are pink shading to blue, but we also have a lovely white one.

Shelley:
Well, see, the overall shape to something like this, too, is just nice. It's got a nice mounded shape that contrasts nicely with the hostas.

Jean:
Right, and beautiful early spring bells.

Shelley:
That's really nice. I think this is one of my choices for my woodland garden.

Jean:
Good.

Shelley:
Thanks, Jean.

Jean:
Thank you.

EPISODE SEGMENTS+

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