Shady woodland and wild, muddy landscapes don’t lend themselves to pristine terraces or patios, but in some north facing patches, or beds under trees in dark corners, nothing else will do!

As summer approaches, you may be considering sprucing your garden up with some bright summer plants, striking purple wallflowers or Sicilian lemon trees – for that longed-for Mediterranean space.

However, if your patch is plagued by shade, you’ll need to pick plants carefully, sourcing ones that will thrive in such environments. There’s nothing more frustrating than a wilting garden come July, after a considerable planting effort and as your focus turns to BBQs and keeping the lawn under control.

There are an abundance of plants, which flourish in shade and they don’t have to be dark, gloomy shrubbery. Use green and silver foliage to break up colour and select standout pastels shades; such as pale yellow, lavender, cream and pale pink to brighten up dappled, sheltered spaces.

Hosta (plantain lily) are a super shade-loving plant; they are easy to grow & bear bold foliage from spring all the way through to autumn. They do better in pots than in beds on the ground as can be prone to slug attacks. It can be worth decorating the bottom of the pots with copper to keep them at bay.

Digitalis purpurea (foxglove) are an essential component of any shaded woodland planting scheme. The tall flower spikes bring height and structure, and are especially loved by bumblebees.

Primula vulgaris subsp. vulgaris (common primrose) are a familiar sight in spring and the beginning of summer, and thrive in areas of damp shade. They are also a source of nectar and pollen for pollinators, which make them particularly environmentally friendly. Pick the easy-to-maintain Primula vulgaris in a pale yellow hue.

Heuchera have eye-catching foliage and offer year-round interest at the front of borders. Choose from the huge range of leaf shapes, colours and patterns, and plant in groups for impact. Partial shade is best, where they’ll bloom from June through to August.

As for foliage to break up the colour:

Hardy ferns are renowned for their ability to grow in inhospitable spots, many of these plants are evergreen, and there’s a huge range of shapes and sizes; from shiny-leaved Asplenium to tough Polystichum and the elegant, moisture-loving Osmunda regalis.

Euonymus fortunei can be grown in partial shade and is edged with white and pale pink. It makes a good specimen shrub and can be clipped into a hedge; it can also be trained up a fence, so is fairly versatile, dependent on where you want coverage.


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