As landscapes mature, so do the number of shady corners where nothing seems to thrive. These underused perennials will brighten those low-light spots with foliage and bloom.
Brunnera macrophylla ‘Hadspen Cream’ features showy green and white leaves topped with blue flowers in spring. The red flowers of Helleborus orientalis emerge as early as February and no shade garden is complete without Dicentra spectabilis ‘Alba’ whose white blooms combine nicely with the fragrant white flowers of Galium odoratum. With tall stems of white flowers on dark purple foliage, Cimicifuga ramosa ‘Brunette’ is a spectacular late-summer bloomer. Autumn flowering Aconitum carmichaelii ‘Arendsii’ carries blue flowers well into fall. The uncommon Kirengeshoma palmata makes an interesting addition with nodding yellow flowers. The shade-loving golden grass Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ combines well with the bold blue leaves of Hosta ‘Halcyon’ or the lacy foliage of Athyrium filix-femina.
Since most shade-lovers are woodland natives, they benefit from the addition of rich soil such as 3 in 1 Mix, Black Earth or Topsoil. Planted right, these shady characters are guaranteed to brighten any dark corner of the garden.