World Of Shadows

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World Of Shadows
World Of Shadows

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For many gardens of the Moscow region, it is characteristic that the shady corners on them in area significantly exceed the open areas. How to make a shady garden delight the gardener from spring to late autumn? And is it only the shade tolerance of plants that you should pay attention to when setting up a garden in such conditions?

In early spring, unsightly pictures of black earth, covered with twigs, pine needles and other plant debris, emerge from under the snow. Remnants of snowdrifts quickly melt, turning into squelching puddles. What can warm our souls and please us at this time? The answer is simple - only plants with evergreen foliage and primroses.

Eternal green

The choice of winter-green garden plants is great only at first glance. Most of these plants come out of the snow in a rather unsightly form, and for shady areas this choice is extremely limited.

The most interesting for use are shadow saxifraga (Saxifraga umbrosa), apical pachisandra (Pachysandra terminalis), small periwinkle (Vinca minor), trifoliate waldsteinia (Waldsteinia ternata) and gravillate waldsteinia (Waldsteinia geoides). These plants grow rapidly, forming dense carpets, are extremely unpretentious, bloom well in summer. And most importantly, in early spring and autumn they preserve beautiful dark green foliage.

Waldsteinia ternata
Waldsteinia ternata
Fragaria vesca
Fragaria vesca
Bergenia crassifolia
Bergenia crassifolia
Saxifraga umbrosa
Saxifraga umbrosa

Waldsteinia is completely unique in its ability to decorate the base of the trunks of large trees with shoots, where practically no plant suitable for our climatic zone survives. Only small-growing wild strawberries (Fragaria vesca), some Veronica (Veronica) and cordifolia (Tiarella cordifolia) have the same properties.

Big-leaved badan (Bergenia crassifolia) also retains its large cabbage foliage in winter. But it must be borne in mind that it acquires attractiveness, gradually reviving and straightening out, within a couple of weeks. In general, this plant is remarkable for its unpretentiousness and good flowering in May. It is worth paying attention to modern hybrid varieties of badans with white and lilac-purple flowers, with larger or, conversely, with miniature leaves. They all proved to be stable in our gardens.

Primroses

In the spring, before the leaves bloom, the areas under the large trees are perfectly illuminated and saturated with moisture, which makes it possible to grow whole carpets of spring-flowering perennial plants, both rhizome and bulbous and corms. Particular attention should be paid bluebell (Scilla sibirica, Scilla bifolia, Scilla litardierei), snowdrops (Galanthus plicatus, Galanthus elwesii, etc.), Leucojum (Leucojum vernum), Pushkin (Puschkinia), shade-tolerant hazel grouse (Fritillaria michailovskyi), hionodoksam (Chionodoxa), as well as spring (Eranthis), corydalis (Corydalis), kandyks(Erithronium), anemone tender (Anemone blanda).

Fritillaria michailovskyi
Fritillaria michailovskyi
Gymnospermium altaicum
Gymnospermium altaicum
Cyclamen coum
Cyclamen coum
Tolmiea menziesii
Tolmiea menziesii
Anemone nemorosa
Anemone nemorosa
Arum maculatum
Arum maculatum
Tellima grandiflora
Tellima grandiflora
Erythronium pagoda
Erythronium pagoda
Anemone ranunculoides
Anemone ranunculoides
Galanthus elwesii
Galanthus elwesii
Arisaema sikokianum
Arisaema sikokianum
Symplocarpus foetidus
Symplocarpus foetidus

Early flowering rhizome plants are primarily represented in the garden by anemones, or anemones (Anemone nemorosa, Anemone ranunculoides). Inflorescences of butterbur (Petasites amplus), a kind of giant summer burdocks, are very attractive at this time. In April, their bright lettuce bracts, collected in the form of heads of cabbage, are visible several meters away.

Exotic lovers should try gymnosperm (Gymnospermium = Leontice), cyclamen (Cyclamen coum), rare aroids such as symplocarpus (Symplocarpus), arizema (Arisaema) and arum (Arum maculatum).

Primrose problems

All of the above plants look great and live great in a garden near Moscow. But the big drawback is that soon after flowering in most "snowdrops" the foliage turns yellow and dries up, and it cannot be removed until it disappears completely naturally. That is why it is not worth planting too (!) Large clumps of these plants, otherwise the view of the garden in June will be hopelessly spoiled. It is best to alternate the flowering clumps of such ephemeroids and the groundcover wintergreens mentioned above.

What other plants can close the gap created by primroses in summer? Perhaps this is a bear onion (Allium ursinum) with a slightly longer growing season, or completely neglected forest wild-growing peonies, for example, the Caucasian peony (Paeonia caucasica), many species of the genus Primula (Primula), blooming at this time. Also, in a similar situation, the gardener will be helped out by clumps of plants from the Saxifrage family - Tiarella, Tellima, Tolmiea, which at this time begin to grow delicate light foliage.

Supporting role

There is another problem associated with ephemeroid primroses. Very often "snowdrops", mostly miniature, are planted next to the paths, in a conspicuous place. But how good they are during flowering and how unsightly afterwards! And what, two or three weeks "enjoy" the view of withered leaves in the foreground? How to cover up this mess? Often heard in response - by hosts. Alas, this plant, remarkable in all respects, is not an assistant in this case, because its sprouts are shown from the soil and unfold the foliage only in late May - early June! But, unfortunately, this is not taken into account by everyone and not always.

Lathyrus vernus
Lathyrus vernus

It is much easier, anticipating the problem of dying plants, to plant ephemeroid primroses in the background, and allocate the space along the paths to spring-flowering plants that do not lose their decorative effect after flowering. Such, for example, as Jeffersonia, liverworts (Hepatica nobilis, Hepatica transsilvanica), hellebores (Heleborus caucasicus, Heleborus purpurascens, Heleborus niger), spring forest combo (Lathyrus vernus), primula (Primula). Of the wild plants of central Russia, it is worth paying attention to the European hoof (Asarum europaem), especially since a number of modern varieties have nothing to do with a modest forest fellow.

Distracting maneuvers

You can try to shift your attention from fading ugliness to something exquisitely bright. And here a curtain of forest poppy (Hylomecon vernalis) with piercing yellow flowers, Canadian sanguinaria (Sanguinaria with anadensis) or dodecateon (for example, Dodecatheon meadia), exotic trilliums (Trillium), banal marigolds (Caltha palustris) will help us. The bad news is that they do not bloom for long. But we only need to win a couple of weeks in this case.

Atragene ochotensis
Atragene ochotensis
Hylomecon vernalis
Hylomecon vernalis
Dodecatheon meadia
Dodecatheon meadia

There is another way. Plant princes (Atragene alpina, Atragene ochotensis) right between the plantings of spring ephemeroids. The whip of the prince is easy to tie to the branches of a tree, and since its abundant flowering attracts attention precisely at the end of May - beginning of June, it will distract the eye from the withered "snowdrops".

Shady garden in May

At the end of May - June, under the trees already starting to bloom, the well-known lilies of the valley (Convallaria) and kupens (Polygonatum), as well as their lesser-known relatives, smilacins (Smilacina) and uvularia (Uvularia), grow rapidly and bloom. These plants are very good, as they keep their bright green foliage until autumn. Around the same time, lambs (Lamium ssp.) Bloom, but their main advantage is not flowers, but variegated foliage.

Uvularia grandiflora
Uvularia grandiflora
Pulmonaria Samourai
Pulmonaria Samourai
Lamium maculatum Pink Pewter
Lamium maculatum Pink Pewter

It's time for biennial bright blue forget-me-nots (Myosotis). These unpretentious plants perfectly complement the shade carpet of plants. After flowering, they are easy to remove, leaving a few bushes for fruiting, the seeds formed on them are enough for the entire area in excess. Decorate a garden blooming in May-June Dicentra (Dicentra eximia, Dicentra spectabilis), Lunaria rediviva (Lunaria Rediviva), Brunner (in modern varieties are very decorative variegated leaves), a variety of violets (Viola).

The shady garden cannot do without lungwort (Pulmonaria). Medunitsa is one of the most promising plants for use in garden and landscape design. The variety of colors of flowers, foliage is amazing. This simple forest plant appears in modern varieties as a real riot of imagination of the breeder. Beautiful carpets of variegated leaves are eye-catching all summer. Why this plant is still so rare in gardens is completely incomprehensible. Also unclear is the often dismissive attitude of gardeners to the wonderful mountain women.(Epimedium). Preserved all summer and often wintering foliage, a stunning color range of flowers (white, yellow, orange, pink, red, lilac, purple). Revealing in May, magnificent decorative advantages … And most importantly, unpretentiousness and endurance.

Alexander Chechurov

candidate of biological sciences

(Based on materials from the magazine "Stylish Garden", No. 3, 2005)

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