Shady Wedding, Master Gardener to the Rescue!

Outdoor wedding
Photo credit: Reichhuber

I need to plant something now for a summer wedding next year, my yard is shaded. Help!

- Marion County, Oregon

Thanks for asking about your wedding plans for your shady yard for next summer. This is a great time to be shopping, as generally what is blooming now in the nurseries will be blooming again next year, if perennial. Do ask when purchasing if the bloom-time is natural or due to special growing conditions, as sometimes plants are encouraged to bloom early for better display at the nursery.

For a beautiful shade garden every time of year, consider foliage textures and colors in addition to blooms. Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra) comes in striped and bright foliage, also painted fern (Athyrium niponicum), and others too many to list. Flowers on shade perennials will not be as plentiful as a sun garden that includes annuals. For this reason, pots and baskets grown in the sun and moved to the shade garden for a special occasion are sometimes used.

There are other considerations for choosing plants, like your soil type, the depth of shade, and pests (do you have deer?). I suggest you talk with the nursery staff where you shop. Also consider touring some gardens in your area this month for ideas, and follow-up with your local Master Gardener Volunteers as questions develop. Contact your local Marion County office for more help.

Best wishes with your planning.

Jacki Dougan
Master Gardener Diagnostician
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