A Shady Symphony of Blooms

“This combination is designed to give a ‘symphony’ of blooms throughout the growing season as the different plants hand off bloom from one to the next, similar to how different orchestral sections hand off to one another in a symphony.” —George Weigel, Mid-Atlantic Region Garden Design Expert


The front edging of Lamium ‘Purple Dragon’ will get the show going with its lavender/purple spring blooms along with its attractive, 6-inch-tall silvery foliage. This plant usually keeps blooming midway into summer. As spring is ready to hand off to early summer, Mountain Hydrangea Tuff Stuff™ will come into bloom. This is a compact variety (about 3 feet tall and wide) that also is heavy in bloom (pink in most soils but blue in acidic soil). Mountain hydrangeas (Hydrangea serrata) have cold-hardier flower buds than the more common bigleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla), and so this one will bloom reliably despite the cold winters or late frosts that sometimes harm mid-Atlantic hydrangea flowering. The final notes of this symphony are played by Anemone ‘Pretty Lady Susan’, a 16-inch tall pink bloomer that flowers late summer into early fall. The backdrop for the whole garden is a colony of 2-foot-tall Christmas ferns – textural plants that (like each of the plants in this design) are some of the best at tolerating the dry-shade and root competition under trees.


Mid-Atlantic, Northeast
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Seasons of Interest

Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer, Fall

Weeks of Interest

24 Weeks


Shade, Part Shade