A Few for the Shade

There’s magic in the garden: fairy wings,  fairy bells, and bleeding hearts. I’d always called epimediums bishop’s hats, and their leaves do have a lop-sided miter look to them. The name fairy wings sounds lovely, though, and very fitting for the garden. Their small flowers seem to float in the garden on their wiry stems and their buds are reminiscent of bleeding hearts. This photo seems to have captured an alien invasion, but trust me, they’re very pretty and come in peace.



Sometimes I get confused between merry bells, Uvularia, and fairy bells, Disporum. These yellow fairy bells are just starting to bloom, they’ll soon hang like the bells they’re named after, but I had to snap a quick photo while it had a little friend scurrying about. For some reason I get a real delight from bugs in the garden, so long as they aren’t chomping on “my” plants. Sometimes I don’t like to share…


…unless it’s a wonderful gift like this bleeding heart. Many bleeding hearts available are from a sterile clone, but this one was a seedling that was shared with me. Now it scatters seedlings around my garden. Whether that’s a blessing or a curse is unclear at the moment, but there is no doubt I adore its chains of hearts. I have the extremely elegant white one too, but my favorite is the Valentine’s pink. Each flower, in its own way, adds a little magic to the shade garden.

26 Responses to “A Few for the Shade”

  1. I need to invest in some flowering shade plants but very few things are happy besides my Hosta. The soil goes from super saturated in the spring to completely dry in the summer thanks to Mother Nature and the 50 year old maple. Any suggestions??

    Thanks! Jenna

    • There are spring ephemerals and bulbs that bloom in spring and take the hot dry summer off. For regular perennials, you could try bluestar (Amsonia), or windflower (Anemone robustissima), goldenrod (Solidago), Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum) or a hardy geranium, but your situation sounds pretty tough. Sure you wouldn’t want pachysandra or just a nice mulch?

      • I am thinking of doing a hosta garden with Heuchara. They are the only thing that seem to be somewhat happy. Maybe plant containers of inpatients too. I’ll look in to the plants you mentioned. Maybe I can get a few to grow.


      • I have Heuchera. I can attest to their tolerance of dry conditions, so it’s just a matter of how much winter wet they can take. My bishop’s hat and brunnera take dry shade, but I don’t know whether they’d take winter wet either. You could try ‘Stella d’Oro’ daylilies. I have ‘Happy Returns’ in part shade and they bloom and tolerate wet and dry soil. Impatiens are very pretty and really brighten up a shady area, but you might have to water to keep them happy. Anyway, it’s worth a try.

  2. Beautiful pictures of beautiful plants.

  3. Your photographs are just beautiful! I love the fairy bells!

  4. Lovely delicate shots; I love the tone and focus of your blog. Thanks for finding mine.

  5. Very nice shots.

    • Thank you. It’s much easier than what you do, since my subjects have never flown away. I loved your stellar jay with the acorn, and your barn swallows, and your sweat bee, and your northwestern crows.. I could go on and on.

  6. I love bleeding hearts. What a pretty specimen you have, too.

  7. Epimediums are called “elf flowers” in German, which is nearly as sweet as “fairy wings”! Lovely photo.

  8. Very pretty, I’ve never seen any of those before!

  9. Beautiful photos. What zone do you garden in?

  10. Your bleeding hearts are so pretty!

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