Here are a few ideas for laying out your garden or container featuring lovely combinations of plants available for sale here at Bartram’s Garden.
Shady Garden Plants
Many of our urban gardens in Philadelphia are filled with shade, but just because the sun is hiding behind trees or tall buildings does not mean we should give up on having a garden! There are many beautiful North American plants that do quite well in shady places. In their native environment, these plants tend to thrive in the understory of forests.
Background: Itea virginica (Virginia sweetspire)
This 3-4’ adaptable shrub tolerates shade to part sun and can tolerate clay soil. Virginia sweetspire features fragrant, tiny white flowers, which bloom in late spring to early July.
Midground: Osmundastrum cinnamomeum (Cinnamon fern)
The cinnamon fern has separate spore bearing fronds that emerge from the base of the plant. The first fronds emerge in early spring and sterile fronds emerge later and remain attractive throughout the year. It grows 2-3’ tall and can tolerate heavy shade with medium to wet soil.
Foreground: Tiarella cordifolia (Foamflower), Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge), and Sedum ternatum (Three-leaved stonecrop)
These three plants create a beautiful show of flowers and texture. Foamflower shows off a lovely display of spring flowers, Pennsylvania sedge creates a soft blanket that can be tucked between your plants, and stonecrop provides a unique green covering close to the ground.
Full Sun/Drought-Tolerant Plants
Background: Rhus typhina ‘Tigereye Bailtiger’ (Staghorn sumac)
This staghorn sumac cultivar is an adaptable plant that can tolerate dry sunny sites, but does not grow as fast as the straight species. This tree grows between 3′-6′ tall and produces ornamental fruiting clusters as well as excellent fall color.
Midground: Solidago species (Goldenrods)
These adaptable perennials enjoy full sun and attract loads of late-season pollinating insects. Peruse our selection and add this to your sunny garden mix.
Foreground: Schizachyrium scoparium (Little bluestem) and Liatris spicata (Blazing star)
Little bluestem height ranges from 2-4’ in full sun conditions. It is another adaptable plant that tolerates drought, deer, and shallow-rocky soil. For some pops of purple, incorporate blazing star among the little bluestem, which also ranges in height from 2-4’.
Full Sun Container Plants
Thriller: Antirrhinum majus ‘Royal Bride’ (Royal Bride snapdragon)
Blooming from spring to fall, these stunning white flowers will shine as the focal point of your sunny window box.
Filler: Brassica juncra ‘Red Giant’ (red mustard) and Lactuca sativa ‘Red Sails’ (red lettuce)
Nestle these two tasty greens around your snap dragons and harvest them throughout the year. Lettuce may begin to bolt later in the season, when temperatures become warmer. Continual harvesting through the season may help delay this.
Trailing: Petunia x hybrida (Climbing petunia)
Plant climbing petunias over the edge of your window box to create a cascade of color that will bloom throughout most of the season.
Shady Container Plants
Thriller: Fuchsia spp. (Fuchsia)
Fuchsia makes a fantastic addition to the shady container garden. Varieties of this South American native that can tolerate the heat & humidity of Mid-Atlantic summers are becoming increasingly available in the trade; keep an eye on our stock for Bartram’s-grown fuchsia later in the season!
Filler: Coleus spp. (Coleus)
When it comes to fabulous foliage, coleus is hard to beat. These easy-to-grow (one might say “foolhardy”) plants add a level of interest to the mid-level of any container garden. We are currently sourcing and growing new varieties of this plant; check our stock!