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Old 06-17-2008, 08:12 PM
Location: Victory Neighborhood Minneapolis
1,806 posts, read 4,897,157 times
Reputation: 1199


Over the past year I have had a very large ongoing yard project -we have 1.5 city lots of seemingly the last remaining non-park forest space in the city of Minneapolis with 8 very large spruce/ pine/ cedar (pretty much anything with needles, we have) trees within its confines - and a boulevard maple - creating a number of great gardening challenges!

Considering the shadiness of the yard and the competition of pine needle droppings, in the front I decided to remove much of what grass was there to be replaced by mulched areas for planting, etc. (we also cut off the lower tree branches as high as we could reach with a ladder). I've used a lot of the shade-tolerant plants that I can either get on the cheap or are available at most nurseries - a few strategically placed shrubs but the garden primarily consists of hosta, fern, bleeding heart, astilbe, and other "woodland"-ish plantings. The problem that I've come across is that, outside of a rhododendron bush that did flower, I have no spring-flowering plants which has left the garden a sort of bland green space to date this year. Anyone have any recommendations on plants that are: spring flowering, shade tolerant, tree roots competition tolerant, and MN climate tolerant? And right now I'm thinking that a groundcover might be preferable for the situation, I've thought about phlox which might be the route I take, but wondering if there were any suggestions for other possibilities. Although I'm open to any suggestions, I have been trying to use more natives wherever possible.

I've similarly been having trouble finding shrubs that do not need much if any sun with some height to plant close to the foundation - I have a few tentative/ test rhododendrons and yews where there is a little sun in the yard, but so far next to the house (one of the shadiest spots - west facing and heavy tree cover) I just have dirt.

Is there any hope in having a lush, thriving, and somewhat-colorful garden (sometimes I do just like the peacefulness of plain greenery) with my heavily treed space?

Last edited by Camden Northsider; 06-17-2008 at 08:22 PM..
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Old 06-17-2008, 08:59 PM
Location: rain city
2,956 posts, read 11,040,330 times
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Woodland Plants | The Woodland Garden
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Old 06-18-2008, 06:14 AM
Location: (WNY)
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I have several bluebeards in a variety of conditions around my house and the one that is primarily in the shade is thriving better than any of the others.... it is a beautiful shrub that sprouts such pretty purple blooms in the fall once all of your other plants have given up producing color.

Another bush that is doing just fine in the shade are my Rose of Sharon.

In terms of ground cover... wood violets are very hardy and the purple spring flower is very pretty. Johnsons Blue is another one that does alright in the shade... day lillies... iris.... chives (I use them for the bloom not the herb itself) I have all in the shade and they do very well.... and don't forget the very easy Hosta...Daisies as well as lilly of the valley.
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Old 06-29-2008, 07:59 PM
Location: Victory Neighborhood Minneapolis
1,806 posts, read 4,897,157 times
Reputation: 1199
Default Thanks-

Thanks for the tips and advice everyone - it is appreciated. I got a great book recently that's all about gardening with MN native plants recently as well so that has been helpful. Unfortunately I'm "cut off" from buying any more plants until next season, but will be looking forward to trying out some of the suggestions.
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