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  #1  
Old April 10th, 2007, 11:34 AM
schraminvan schraminvan is offline
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deep shade garden, Vancouver BC

Hi
I'm planning a garden for the (north) front of the house. It gets some serious shade. The plot will be about 6' x 7'. I'm fairly new to non-vegetable gardening so I'm looking for suggestions. I'm thinking a small tree or shrub as the focal point with other shade loving plants (ferns?) around it. If I could use native species that would be great but it is not an absolute. Got any suggestions

Thanks
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  #2  
Old April 10th, 2007, 11:53 AM
Ron B Ron B is offline
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Re: deep shade garden, Vancouver BC

Vine maple could get a lot bigger but often used in small spaces, including foundation beds. Easy to grow and easy to find in outlets, each one has its own shape - good for specimen use. Sword ferns are also easy to grow and find. If bigger than you want, try deer fern instead.
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  #3  
Old April 11th, 2007, 08:36 PM
KarinL KarinL is offline
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Re: deep shade garden, Vancouver BC

Yews would work if you want a conifer. Another fairly rare evergreen shrub that actually thrives in shade is Ruscus, which is prickly but quite interesting, and I just saw some for sale at Dykhof in N. Van. It also suckers a little; I grow it in a container. I also grow a (deciduous) Sambucus nigra 'Variegata' (I know that's not right, Ron, but I can't remember what is) on the north side but mine is tall enough that it gets a little morning sun.

Containers and statuary, or rocks or other hardscape, can go a long way to making a dark garden work.

Ferns... so many, where to start? In deepest shade I grow Royal ferns (Osmunda regalis) which does marvellously. But they'd all do well there. Local nurseries are carrying a good selection nowadays, or check out the Fraser's Thimble Farm catalogue
http://www.thimblefarms.com/ if you really want to go crazy. Trilliums and hellebores are good too. So are hostas, some of the very dark ones look spectacular in deep shade (ventricosa for instance).
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Old April 12th, 2007, 12:43 AM
chimera chimera is offline
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Re: deep shade garden, Vancouver BC

Dwarf hemlocks do well in shade. As KarinL mentioned, variegated leaved plants can be quite interesting.
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Old April 15th, 2007, 08:58 PM
victoriarose victoriarose is offline
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Re: deep shade garden, Vancouver BC

Aucuba japonica is a great shade plant that brightens up the area with green and gold foliage.
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  #6  
Old April 16th, 2007, 05:39 AM
levilyla levilyla is offline
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Re: deep shade garden, Vancouver BC

Pieris Japonica..Sarcoccoca..Skimmia japonica...Cornus florida...Cercis canadensis..Halsia....Oakleaf Hydrangeas....and many perennials.
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Old May 7th, 2007, 02:18 PM
Gursk Gursk is offline
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Re: deep shade garden, Vancouver BC

I also have a full shade garden; it can be really hard finding things that will grow. Here are some suggestions for perennials I've had good luck with, to go around your shrubs:

Solomon's Seal
Hostas (of course)
Wild Ginger (especially Asarum arifolium, beautiful mottled silver leaves - evergreen)
Holly & wood ferns
Epimedium (versilcolour have nice reddish leaves)

Plus, I notice you're in Vancouver. The Home Depot on Terminal had a few Tasmanian tree ferns. Very reasonably priced & shade-loving. I got one a few weeks ago and put it in a large container; it seems very happy.

HTH
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Old May 7th, 2007, 05:09 PM
Ron B Ron B is offline
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Re: deep shade garden, Vancouver BC

Beware of plants that have been allowed to wilt and collapse or shrivel, then brought back with too-late watering when shopping at big box plant departments.
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Old May 16th, 2007, 12:18 AM
GildedLily GildedLily is offline
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Re: deep shade garden, Vancouver BC

I see a lot of great suggestions, may I also suggest dicentra (bleeding hearts) cornus canadensis, vaccinnium species for shrub structure, (there are several natives that thrive in deep shade, they can be ordered from wholesalers Peel's or Linnea through your local nursery.) Ferns can be fantastic and Hostas, though not native, enjoy those conditions. try Rainforest nursery out in Langley for shade perennials-they have lots.
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  #10  
Old May 16th, 2007, 07:14 AM
KarinL KarinL is offline
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Re: deep shade garden, Vancouver BC

Actually everyone carries a good selection of shade perennials these days; no reason to travel to Langley unless you are looking for really specialized stuff, in which case Rainforest is one of several places worth looking.
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Old May 16th, 2007, 08:52 AM
Maggie76 Maggie76 is offline
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Re: deep shade garden, Vancouver BC

I too have a shade garden and have found many of the plants already listed work well in my yard. I'd like to add that a larger bush you might find helpful is Sarcococca otherwise known as a Sweet Box. There are several varieties including hookerana which is low and spreading or ruscifolia and confusa which reach approximately 4 feet high. This plant is mainly for architecture as its flowers and berries are not highly visible but it provides wonderful greenery and an amazing scent early in the spring.
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