The shade border rests at the end of summer, when it gets too warm and too dry for its taste. Since this summer was cool and rainy, the plants maintained the exuberant growth of early spring. The hostas are lush and full, the begonias are in full bloom and the toad lilies have doubled in size.
What to grow in the shade? Flowers. White, if you would, they stand out in low light.

In spring, hellebores, lily of the valley, trillium, Solomon’s seal and bleeding hearts run the show, followed by the delicate fuzz of foam flowers. Later the clematis and the early hostas provide clusters of interest with bloom that lasts for weeks.

The tuberous begonia is the summer champion of the shade border, with its large exotic blooms that look like roses. Tuberous begonias bloom very reliably in full shade and withstand drought a lot better than one would think just by looking at them.

Plantain lilies come next, with the perfect combination of flowers, fragrance and showy foliage.

If you have acidic soil, hydrangeas and astilbe are great choices, and if the climate is not too hot, try snakeroot, a spectacular specimen plant with very dark, lacy foliage which, at the end of summer, sprouts airy wands that smell like vanilla and grape soda.

The fall is the season of the windflowers and the toad lilies.

Last but not least, the ground covers - alyssum, sweet woodruff and pachysandra, all of which have white flowers and perform very well in the shade.

Author's Bio: 

Main Areas: Garden Writing; Sustainable Gardening; Homegrown Harvest
Published Books: “Terra Two”; “Generations”; "The Plant - A Steampunk Story"; "Letters to Lelia"; "Fair"; "Door Number Eight"; "A Year and A Day"; "Möbius' Code"
Career Focus: Author; Consummate Gardener;
Affiliation: All Year Garden; The Weekly Gardener; Francis Rosenfeld's Blog

I started blogging in 2010, to share the joy of growing all things green and the beauty of the garden through the seasons. Two garden blogs were born: and, a periodical that followed it one year later. I wanted to assemble an informal compendium of the things I learned from my grandfather, wonderful books, educational websites, and my own experience, in the hope that other people might use it in their own gardening practice.