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WOODLAND TREASURES FOR SHADY GARDENS

by Tony Reznicek

For those of you who missed Dr. Tony Reznicek at October’s General meeting, attached is his handout. Also below is a link to his website as Curator and Research Scientist at the University of Michigan Herbarium. It was an excellent presentation.

Some additional notes and information:

A few plants to avoid accepting from well-meaning friends:

  • Goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria) – a terrible pest
  • Common Periwinkle (Vinca minor) – OK in specialized confined settings or if you use small cultivars
  • English Ivy (Hedera helix) – OK in some specialized confined settings
  • Japanese Spurge (Pachysandra terminalis) – Too dense for most plants to grow through, use only in small, confinable spaces
  • Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum) – except in spaces where it can be confined
  • Most Buttercup (Ranunculus) species, especially R. ficaria, and R. repens. These can be ferocious weeds
  • Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon) – lovely, but a very fast spreader, and seeds too
  • Creeping Lilyturf (Lirope spicata) – forms an impenetrable dense mat
  • Running Bamboos – no exceptions here!!!

If you really want areas with uniform groundcovers in shade, these will do on a small scale:

Deciduous:

  • Redwood Ivy (Vancouveria hexandra) – a rapid spreader about 6 inches tall
  • European Wood Sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) – rapid spreader, but very delicate
  • Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum ‘Pictum’ – fairly tall, but slowly forms a dense cover
  • Small Hostas

Evergreen (or nearly so):

  • Himalayan Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum venustum) – very nice but slow; will form a dense mat with time
  • Allegheny-spurge (Pachysandra procumbens) – suitable only for small areas; very slow
  • Creeping Phlox (Phlox stolonifera) – a fast spreading low cover, only the flowers are erect
  • Cranesbill (Geranium macrorrhizum) – too dense for bulbs, but slow and tolerant of very dry sites

A good reference book to start with:

W. George Schmid. 2002. An Encyclopedia of Shade Perennials. Hardcover, 494 pages, 8-½” x 11″, 500 color photos, 1 b&w photo, 1 map. Timber Press, ISBN 0-88192-549-7 [check http://www.bookfinder.com/ for discounted or used copies]

A local source to start with:

Arrowhead Alpines
1310 North Gregory Road
Fowlerville Michigan, 48836
http://www.arrowhead-alpines.com/

Some mail order places:

Quackin’ Grass Nursery
16 Laurel Hill Road
Brooklyn, CT 06234
https://www.quackingrassnursery.com/

Shady Glen Nursery
10 Kendall Lane
Freeport, Maine 04032
https://www.shadyglennursery.com/

Plant Delights Nursery
9241 Sauls Road
Raleigh, NC 27603
http://www.plantdelights.com/

The vastly best selection:

Far Reaches Farm
1818 Hastings Ave.
Port Townsend, WA 98368
http://www.farreachesfarm.com/