Early Spring in the Shade Garden

It is mid April and it has been very soggy here for ages! But finally plants are popping up from the soil and it is a relief and a delight to see them. I am eager for a bit more warmth,  but that will arrive soon I think.

Next to our front driveway area there is a large shrub, a Ribes, which is one of the first plants to bloom, along with some Primula and narcissus. These were here when we arrived, though I have added a few more bulbs and pruned the evergreens away from the Ribes to better see its pink dangling flowers.


Over the last couple of years I have planted a few clematis (Group 1) near our stacked firewood.  I believe they are C.White Swan and C.Blue Dancer. In another part of the garden I also grow C.Pink Flamingo. This is Clematis Blue Dancer with its buds.


Beyond this area is our sauna which is decorated at the moment with hellebores. Some were planted here when we moved in (fall of 2014). Many have been added since then too.



Along our shady path are plants both new and old (brought from Ontario). It is exciting to see that most everything is returning…ever so slowly! The white Dodecatheon are maturing and expanding. They are in bud, but not yet in bloom.


Last year’s fern like flowers have come back to my relief. They are delicate little plants from Japan called Pteridophyllum racemosa. So sweet!


The Erythronium are doing well. They too are white. For some reason I like white everywhere!


This is a special Disporum which is returning at last. I brought it from our former home. It is called Night Heron and has dark glossy foliage and pale yellow flowers. It grows especially tall here and I am so glad it is happy! Just poking up now.

Other dark leaved plants grow nearby. One is a corydalis which is one of the first plants to appear in spring and eventually grows to be huge with pale lavender blooms. It is called Corydalis quantmeyerana “Chocolate Star”.  This is what it looks like today.

Nearby is a wonderful brown Rodgersia, which is barely peeking up out of the ground. I think it will take off very soon!


There are also three pale yellow Corylopsis, small because they are quite young. They are in bloom now with blue Hepaticas mingling nearby.  They are very hard to photograph though….

There are several kinds of Podophyllum here, some older than others. They are fairly slow growers, but it is so exciting to see them return each year. When older, they have amazing blooms, usually red, hidden beneath their leaves.


The Hellebore foetidus is lovely right now with drumstick primula nearby.

A great delight is the return of our Meconopsis. It looks like we will have lovely blue poppies again this year. There are about 10 clumps of them!

Anemonopsis macrophylla is a wonderful plant that looks amazing as it first emerges. Later it has dainty pale lavender blooms and after that, adorable seed pods. It is coming up right now too. It seems to have a Hellebore growing with it!

And finally, meet this wonderful large leaved plant. It is called “Skeleton Flower”. This is another white woodland blossom whose petals turn crystal clear when they make contact with water. Diphelleia grayiis the scientific name. The petals return to white after the rain has evaporated. So far two of my three plants have poked their way up along our path. I can’t wait to see their blooms. There were none yet last year.



Every day something new is happening out in the garden. I have no desire to stay indoors when it is sunny out!
Happy Easter to those who celebrate. Here is a Pasque flower for you!