It has been my desire for a few years now to put a raingarden in the space in front of my home, where the runoff has been causing erosion. A few years ago, I attended a workshop by Metro Blooms, and dutifully called the gas company to make sure that we didn't blow up the place by digging. We found out that the gas line ran diagonally through the space where the garden would be, under the silver maple where we have almost full shade for part of the summer. These two obstacles combined were enough to stop me in my tracks for about two years. But with our early spring, my neighbor and I determined that we would do it now. We hired a friend of hers who is a gardener, and I'm thrilled that we now have a plan, and that the first stage of digging, percolation testing, and mulching is complete!
Now we just have to wait for it really to be warm enough to get the plants without worrying about them freezing; I'll go to Out Back Nursery in a few weeks for the perennial wildflowers. The concept for this shade garden is "forest floor" and here are the plants we are going to have.
For the shadiest spot, squill (Siberian scilla) are very hardy and are usually the first flowers I see bloom here in Minneapolis. Periwinkle is also hardy, grows well as a ground cover in the shade and has lovely flowers. Although some people complain that it can be invasive, from what I have read, we probably won't have to worry about it too much in this spot. We'll have a variety of low-growing plants with beautiful leaves: Wild geranium also has light purple blooms; Canadian Wild Ginger is another hardy low plant with glossy leaves.
Pasqueflower is called "prairie crocus" and is state flower of South Dakota.
Jack-in-the-Pulpit grows well in the woods, and is a fascinating plant because what looks like the flower is actually a structure that protects the flower inside.
I know that Maidenhair Fern will grow well here because there used to be some out in back in a similarly shady spot before they got removed in a building project. We'll also have Sensitive Fern.
Some of the taller plants are Virginia Bluebells with its pink to blue flowers. Jacob's Ladder has medicinal properties, Solomon's Seal is supposed to have many healing properties. Another medicinal plant is Lungwort, or pulmonaria; it comes in a variety of colors. Snakeroot, or black cohosh of the variety known as "hillside black beauty," has dark foliage.
"Krossa Regal" Hosta (leaf texture described as "Glaucous Bloom") because it is one of the few hostas I like: big, big leaves and large, late-blooming flowers. I don't like the piddly little hostas that bloom early and leave dried out stalks all summer.