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Surprising plants succeed in dry shade

Hydrangea in Dry Shade. Image © (all rigts reserved)
I have a piece about growing plants in dry shade in Britain's Independent newspaper today and there's also a version in its sparky little sister paper i.

But as well as the plants I mention in the piece - and the many I discuss in my new book Planting the Dry Shade Garden - a couple of slightly unexpected plants have been doing surprisingly well in dry shade this year.

The first is Hydrangea arborescens 'White Dome', you can see it in the picture (click to enlarge). Only one nursery seems to stock it in Britain, though it's much more widely available in North America, but its broad white lacecap flowerheads set against rich green leaves are lovely and well supported by slender but strong stems. What's more, the skeletons of those same flowers don't fall to pieces in the autumn but remain through the winter for a lovely second season effect.

The other surprising dry shade success has been the yellow-leaved creeping Jenny, Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea' (on the right, at the front in the picture). This shows the benefit of a little soil improvement, its shallow roots taking moisture from just the top few inches of soil. It looked a little sad when it got really parched but soon colored up when a little of our recent thunderstorms penetrated the tree canopy.

For more on dry shade…
Read my piece in The Independent
Subscribe to The Independent's lively little sister i
Find out more about the book on its own British website
Find out more about the book on its own North American website
Order the book in Britain
Order the book in North America
Check out the book's Facebook page


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Looking forward to seeing the book.

Jerry Hingle

That is interesting, I wonder why those particular plants survived in dry shade. I'm curious about the new book as well.

Graham Rice

It's interesting, isn't it. The hydrangea grows naturally in shade... Either it's more tolerant than I expected or my preparation with additional humus-rich soil was enough to keep it happy.


There are many plants that will do well in shade. I find your articles useful and handy.Thanks for sharing.

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