We’re traveling with Cherry Ong today, looking back on a garden tour she went on this past spring while visiting Toronto. The garden is a shady woodland garden dominated by four oak trees. Heavily shaded gardens can be a challenge sometimes, but this gardener has turned this one into a dreamy and appealing space.
The beauty of one of the property’s oaks is highlighted by the clumps of Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra, Zones 5–9) at the base.
In a sunnier part of the garden, a yellow peony (Paeonia hybrid, Zones 3–8) blooms. While peonies bloom heaviest in full sun, they still give a nice display in partial shade.
Hydrangeas are great for shade, and this climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala, Zones 4–8) looks stunning. Climbing hydrangeas cling to walls, fences, or tree trunks. Slow growing at first, they are spectacular once mature.
Shade doesn’t have to mean just green. Silver foliage from brunnera (Brunnera macrophylla, Zones 3–8) and Japanese painted fern (Athyrium niponicum var. pictum, Zones 4–9) contrasts with dark-leaved heuchera (Heuchera hybrid, Zones 4–9) and bright orange begonias (Begonia hybrid, annual).
Goatsbeard (Aruncus dioicus, Zones 4–8) is a wonderful perennial for shade that is native to a wide swath of America and Europe. It has big clouds of white flowers in the spring, followed by ferny foliage through the rest of the summer.
Beautiful foliage of a ginkgo tree (Ginkgo biloba, Zones 3–8)
A pot of annuals brings pops of color to the garden.
Plume poppy (Macleaya cordata, Zones 3–8) has beautiful spring foliage. In the summer it is topped with clouds of small, creamy-white flowers.
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