Shade Garden with Columbine, Sweet woodruff, Bugleweed and Japanese Spurge


Most of the gardening we’ve done up to this point has been for a practical purpose- food. We’re at the point now that we’re beginning to add some permanent landscaping purely for aesthetic reasons.

This project tackled a small area in the front of the house along  the driveway. The 3 difficulties were 1) finding ground cover that would spread but was also visually appealing and 2) finding varieties that would thrive with next to no sun under mature pine trees 3) of course the obvious need for frost tolerant, hardy plants.

This is the designated site. Most of the greenery is the Miner’s Lettuce discussed in the previous post.


Clearing this area was simple. The Miner’s Lettuce and various other plants had shallow roots that lifted with little effort on my part.

I tried to create a multilevel garden with visual interest points low to the ground, in the middle zone, and tall for the backdrop.


The Japanese Spurge is the larger bush in the center. This evergreen’s mature height is 6-10″ tall, spreads slowly via underground stems, blooms inconspicuous white flowers in spring, hardiness zones 4-8, requires regular watering and partial to full sun.

The Sweet Woodruff is on the left. Full grown she’ll reach 8-12″, spreads quickly, blooms white fragrant flowers in spring-summer, hardiness zones 4-8, requires regular watering and partial shade/shade.

The Bugleweed is the rich dark foliage on the right. Mature height is 6″, spreads quickly like most in the mint family, blooms blue flowers in spring, hardiness zones 3-9, will tolerate droughts and does fine with either sun or shade.

Columbine songbird bunting (pictured below) grows up to 20″ tall. Not a ground cover, blooms cream colored hummingbird attracting flowers in spring/summer, hardiness zones 3-9, requires water regularly during dry spells and prefers sun to partial shade.


About Rhi

Rhi enjoys spending time with her family and working on the homestead. During spring and summer she is often found tending to her garden, and mini-orchard.

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