Top 10 shade plants
As gardeners, we're used to experiencing jewel-tone blossoms - borders and beds in bright light are the norm. Shady borders and beds, on the other hand, are more of a rarity and can send even seasoned gardeners screaming for help.
However, a well-done shade border can be every bit as captivating as - if not more than - its sunny counterpart. These 10 perennials will help create a bed that's worth its weight in gold.
In many gardens, hellebores are the first perennials to bloom. They bear leathery dark-green evergreen foliage and attractive cup-shape blooms in shades of green, white, cream, pink, and red. The blooms appear in winter or early spring and may last several weeks. Even after the petals fade, the sepals give them a blooming appearance.
Growing: Hellebores (Helleborus spp.) vary in hardiness by variety. The hardiest species are H. niger and H. orientalis - both grow in Zones 4-8. H. argutifolius offers pale green blooms and is hardy in Zones 6-9. Hellebores typically grow about 1 to 2 feet tall. The plants appreciate soils rich in organic matter.
Tip: Site hellebores where you can see the blooms from indoors; not too many gardeners are out in the snow enjoying their gardens!
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