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How do I create a woodland garden?

10 years ago

Posted by Cindy z5: On the property I bought there is a
section 60'x300' that was left wild. Growing on it are a lot
of young trees (15' max), some sumac, brambles, kudzu and
grasses. I would like a woodland garden, with a path winding
through. I planted a few items last spring - canadian
hemlock, apple, serviceberry and 3 chokeberry plants
(aronia). What do I do next?

Susan AK: Grasses harbor mosquitoes and if they are a
problem, people here generally burn grass off in small,
controlled areas, while the grass is still dry and dead and
melted snow has provided enough moisture to keep fire from
spreading. As for your pace, that would depend on your
resources - time, help, and how much you can spend. Clearing
woodlands is strenuous work. Consider ferns, dogwood, wild
roses, highbush cranberries and monkshead.

Susan-NC/Z7a: Map out your paths, and educate yourself about
trees. If you mow once a year, trees flourish. We did, and
the sycamores, ashes, and bird cherries almost shot out of
their bark in 3 years time.

Lauren: take your time. Do an inventory in all levels -
groundcover plants, understory shrubs and canopy.Prevent
yourself from destroying something that you may wish you had
later. I put in variegated and pagoda dogwood, viburnum
trilobum, and witchhazel.

Debbie: Pulmonaria (Lungwort) are nice because the leaves
are spotted. It flowers in spring. Although supposed to be
for sun, I have luck with Campanula.

Sheila Smith: Geraniums (not Pelargonium) will give bloom
over a long period.

Carole Musengo: I've had Corydalis lutea and C. ochroleuca
growing in "medium" shade, and they bloom all Summer.
Pulsatilla vulgaris and Anemones do well in shade.

Lynda D'Arcangelo: I've been concentrating on ground covers.
My favorites are violets and lily of the valley, both spread
quickly and have been pest free. They bloom in midspring,
and foliage stays nice until frost. Lunaria has worked well.
I've seen beautiful patches of ajuga in other gardens.
Bleeding hearts are my absolute favorites, but they turn
yellow and disappear in midsummer.

Andie Rathbone: Try some caladium.

Francine Mezo: Heuchera does well in dense shade, also
astilbe. Primroses manage nicely, if I keep the violets from
becoming too friendly. Armeria provides a breezy little
show, surprisingly, since sun is recommended. Early spring
bloom is provided by Bergenia, and the large leaves provide
a nice texture.

darlene netzer: In North Carolina, hydrangea and rose of
sharon bloom beautifully in filtered shade as do phlox. I
made the mistake of using lily of the valley, very difficult
to redirect.

judi z.: Don't forget foxglove, trillium, solomon's seal and
begonias, not the bedding kind, but reigers.

Lisa: Columbines. I have several varieties in a heavily
shaded garden in New York, and while they didn't bloom the
first year, this year they were spectacular and lasted a
good two months.

Bill Plummer: Any of the native woodland flowers. Choose
your favorite. Most bloom in the spring. I am fond of
fronds, The wood ferns, Dryopteris, Christmas fern,
Maidenhair are great.

marilyn: A wonderful shade plant is the helleborus
orientalis, or lenten rose. It has evergreen leaves and
beautiful saucer-shaped flowers that hang upside down from
the stems. A wonderful bulb is the fritillaria. Possibly the
best book I have seen on shade gardening is one by Ken
Druse, called The Natural Shade Garden.

Terry Wright: What about Pavonia (rock rose)? It works here
in a dry, shady corner of Texas. Mountain Sage will give you
red fall flowers in shade. For short pink flowers try
Shrubby skullcap. (there is one for sun and one for shade).
I think these things will grow in just about all zones.

Mike Gurley: One of my favorites is Celandine Poppy
(Stylophorum Diphyllum). It has pale yellow flowers and
blooms from March till June in N.C. Another that does well
for me is Virginia Bluebells.