Sunday, July 15, 2007

Shade vs. drought

I am constantly whining about my shady setting, but a couple of blog postings, combined with Adrian Higgins' article about wet gardens, are making me re-think the problem (if there is one). After all, if a sunflower can flourish in partial shade, and the black-eyed Susan is happy in the shade of the compost pile, while the astilbe struggles and the impatiens chokes in the dust, perhaps it's drought I should be paying attention to.

I was particularly struck by one blogger's list of what did and didn't work for her in dry conditions. Here's what does well:
Shrubs: aucuba, nandina, Heleri holly, junipers, spirea, euonymous 'Emerald Gaity', weigela, bottlebrush buckeye, Meidiland rose 'Alba', and oakleaf hydrangea (in full shade).
Perennials: hosta, sedum, Russian sage, daylilies, ornamental grasses, liriope, carex, solomon's seal, garden phlox, euphorbia amygdaloides, purple coneflower, aster, black-eyed susan.

Then she rants about rhododendrons, which I am coming to agree with, and astilbes, which I love but that sit there gritting their teeth and shriveling up in high summer. As a Maryland gardener says, "And the biggest wuss, in my experience, is astilbe. They do nothing for me in summer except threaten to die."

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