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Plants for shade

A lot of my garden is shaded by trees, both my own and neighbours'. Most of this is undeveloped, covered in ivy and weeds.

Last week I decided to clear one area and plant it out with shrubs which tolerate shady conditions, before and after photos are shown below:

Here's some more detail on the shrubs I planted:

1. Leucothoe Zeblid (Scarletta)

Leucothoe is a genus of about 50 species of flowering plants in the family Ericaceae, native to Asia, the Americas and Madagascar. They are unfussy about soild type as long as it's acid, and different varieties tolerate anything from full sun to full shade.

Zeblid "Scarletta" - also know as "switch ivy" - is an evergreen, spreading variety which grows to approximately 1.5 metres tall and 2.5 metres wide. It prefers full sun or partial shade, and I have planted mine in the least shaded part of the area. Young leaves are green with bright red edges, turning darker green and then bronze-red in autumn and winter. It has small white flowers in the spring.

2. Leucothoe Fontanesiana (Rainbow)

Fontanesian Rainbow - also known as "dog hobble" - is another evergreen variety which grows to approximately 1.5 metres tall and 1.5 metres wide. It is happy in full or partial shade, so this one has gone into the most shaded part of the area. It has mottled pink and cream leaves, with cream flowers in the spring.

3. Cornus Sanguinea "Midwinter Fire"

More commonly known as "dogwood", many varieties of cornus have brightly-coloured young stems which can help to brighten up a winter garden. I already have some other varieties in my garden so I know that they grow well in my soil. "Midwinter Fire" tolerates partial shade and has particularly atractive orange stems wtih red tips. It bears small white flowers in summer followed by white berries, but the stems are definitely its main feature. If left alone it can grow to more than 2 metres high and wide but is best pruned hard - to about 8 cm from ground level - every other year in order to maintain its stem colour.

4. Hebe "Silver Anniversary"

Hebes are native to the Southern Hemisphere, but are very popular in UK gardens. They grow well in any soil type and are easy to propogate. There are a large variety of different species (around 100+) and they are evergreen so good for year-round interest. "Silver anniversary" is a fairly small variety reaching only 0.5m and 0.75m in spread after 5 years. It has attractive variegated green leaves with creamy margins, and (as you can see below) develops a lovely reddish-purple tinge in the Winter which in this instance has lasted well into the following spring (photo taken in April). It does not always flower but when it does the flowers are purple. The plants tolerate part-shade.


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