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Shade Loving Perennials for Arkansas Gardens

Imagine this…resting in a garden chair, sipping on something cold, in your retreat in the shade. What could possibly be missing? Lovely shade perennials to admire, of course!

There are many choices to enhance your ice tea, cold beer, or nice chilled white wine experience. The two most important aspects are: 1. naturally, a bench to sit and linger upon and 2. Mixing foliage texture, color and bloom times to keep things interesting. Many shade perennials are mostly known for their foliage, but this is in no way boring! Bright blossoms might be the instant attraction, but once flowers fade, you are left with a visual void.

This is where shade perennials will wow you. Have you ever admired a shade garden of hostas?  Full of interesting colors, shapes, and textures that use only one type of plant. The design is simple—just mix up variegated (more than one color) hostas with solid ones. Keep in mind that you have two types of texture to work with—smooth and corrugated. Corrugated simply refers to the crinkled texture to the leaf, and a good way to remember this term is to think of a corrugated box. Looks very similar up close.  Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ (above)  is a good example of this. Corrugated varieties are said to be a bit more slug resistant too. Bonus!

Helleborus (above) aka Lenten Rose are very popular right now, and for good reason—they are gorgeous, bloom very early (when we get tired of seeing the brown of winter), add some pizzazz to the shade garden AND are evergreen.  Just wow!

Heuchera (above) aka Coral Bells have been around for awhile and for good reason. They are nice and neat with their mounding habit, and colorful leaves.

Polemonium ‘Brise d’Anjou’ (above) aka Jacob’s Ladder will brighten your shady spots with its variegated foliage, and works well with the other plants mentioned above.

Tassel Fern (above) is an elegant slow growing evergreen fern that only gets 24” tall. Perfect for planting under/around the bases of shady shrubs such as Hydrangea, or Azaleas.

Special planting requirements are few. These plants would appreciate Sphagnum Peat, just not any ole Peat moss, it must be Sphagnum. And of course some of the Good Earth Jump Start will help get them rooted in and happy.

Go ahead, tweak that shade bed, and try one of these plants! Add a bench, relax……and enjoy the best spot on a hot summer’s day. Ahh………………..