AUTUMN SHADE LOVERS!
5 plants that will give you a great display of colour
Autumn really is a spectacular season in the garden – at this time of year borders should be ablaze with fiery foliage, bright berries and vibrant flowers. In a shady garden this might seem hard to achieve, but it needn’t be. If you have dark corners or north-facing boundaries, it’s all the more important to incorporate colour into your planting displays, and there are a surprising number of plants that can help.
Whether it’s shrubs covered in glossy berries or trees that turn a spectrum of hot oranges, yellows and reds as the temperature drops, there are many star plants available from nurseries now that will give your shady space a lift. Choose wisely and you’ll be rewarded with an eye-catching display year after year. Stand-out plants for the autumn shade garden include Japanese anemones with their pretty flowers atop wiry stems, bold-berried skimmias, and acers, which offer searing leaf colour.
nigel Rowland, owner of shade specialist Long Acre Plants in Somerset, believes these dark dwellers can be every bit as exciting as their sun-loving cousins. So what are his favourite shade plants for autumn? “Kirengeshoma palmata is a lovely deciduous perennial, with yellow shuttlecock flowers in autumn. It’s in the hydrangea family and needs similar conditions. then there’s Saxifraga fortunei, a beautiful Japanese woodlander that comes in a range of forms with white through pink to red flowers, from 10-60cm tall. It needs a moisture-retentive site to thrive.”
Another must-have is Cyclamen hederifolium. “It’s such an adaptable
and easy-growing plant,” Nigel says. “It tolerates very dry situations and comes back in flower with the dew of autumn.”
To really get the most from your shade lovers, combine a variety of heights and forms in borders, from climbers and wall shrubs to late-flowering perennials and ornamental grasses. Or, if you’re tight for space, use pots to transform a corner or entrance.
And remember: wildlife will also love many of these plants, which offer food and nectar when supplies are scarce.
Shade doesn’t have to be a problem. Think of it instead as an invitation to search out striking specimens that suit the conditions in your garden and will transform a potentially dull space into something very special. Get it right and you will enjoy a last burst of glory before the quiet beauty of winter.
Bring a shady spot alive with plants that do not need full sun to shine, such as Japanese anemone, cyclamen, gaultheria and toad lilies