As I have mentioned I went to a talk by Bob Brown last week and it was about plants for challenging conditions. I have had a number of requests for information on the plants he suggested particularly for dry shade. I have to admit I didnt write them all down only the ones that appealed to me especially as I dont really have a problem with dry shade but nevertheless here goes:
Firstly Crocus tommasinianus – these originate from Turkey so they are ideal for growing in dry shade. Bob main premise for plants for this environment was that dry shade is very similar to the condition in the Meditteranean in that it is damp in the winter and dry in summer. Meditteranean plants tend to grow in winter and spring and go dormant in the summer.
Alliums also do well under trees for exactly the same reason – I’m not that convinced about this but will give them a go. We then discussed Muscari and how no one seems to like them despite there profincency at growing in dry shade. Bob’s advice was to buy types of Muscari that dont set seed such as Big Smile
Another group of plants that do well in dry shade are our native woodland flowers that flower before the trees are in leaf such as the Lady Smock (Cardamine pratensis)
Also Cyclamen do very well in dry shade as again this replicates the environments they find in the wild – e.g. the Mediterranean again.
We then moved on to shrubs and Bob recommended Skimmia ‘Kew Green’ – I have to say I’m not a big fan of Skimmias as they remind me of supermarket car parks but maybe this is because they are planted en masse. Having seen the cutting Bob brought with him and looking at the photo below it might be worth planted in dry shade – the glossy leaves would be quite attractive.
Another shrub that would do well is Danea racemosa (see photo below) – not something I had ever heard of but the cutting looked lovely – very long and willowy and evidentally very popular with flower arrangers. It is also called Poets Laurel which I thought was quite charming.
Another shrub suggested was Rhamnus alternus ‘Argenteovariegata’ but I cant find a picture of this anywhere.
Finally for abit of extra colour in the summer Papaver spicatum
I hope that is of help to everyone.