A Flower Bed for the Shade

A few years ago, I wanted to create a flower bed by our back stairs. Even though we call them the back stairs, I guess they are really the front stairs as this is the entryway for anyone coming down our driveway to our house.

I thought that maybe it would slightly improve the look of the back if I made a flower bed here. It gets almost zero sun, so I had to plant very shade tolerant plants in here that could withstand Zone 3 weather. I wanted it to be all perennial plants, so that I wouldn’t have to do a lot to maintain the bed once it got settled in and growing.



Now, a couple of years later, I am doing zero maintenance and this bed always looks quite nice. I planted quite a few plants in this space and although not every one of them took, enough did that now the space is full. That bare spot on the left at the back? That’s where da Wolf digs himself a hole to lay in when it is extremely hot outside. Who am I to make him stay out of the only flowerbed that is nice and cool?

I should mention that this bed gets a lot of snow on top of it in the winter time, as the snow slides off the roof and lands right here. So, shrubs were not an option for me – I needed plants that would fully die back in late Fall and then reappear in the early Spring with their new growth.



Hostas – There are a lot of different varieties of Hostas and some people have whole gardens filled only with Hostas. I’m partial to the deeper green ones, and this two tone Hosta is probably as light as I will go. They do come in more of a yellow colour. The flowers on a Hosta don’t really amount to much, but they are pretty and I am growing this for the foliage, not the flowers.




Lady’s Mantle – I love the way the rain sits in the leaves after a spring shower. The leaves are cup shaped and it looks beautiful when they hold rain drops. This perennial is easy to grow and takes no maintenance at all, except if you wanted to divide it after 3 or 4 years and get two large plants instead of 1.




Coral Bells – I have a couple of these plants and eventually hope to divide them and get more. This plant is slower growing that either of the above, but again needs no maintenance. Very pretty little flowers sit way above the leaves. In the picture above, you can’t even really see the foliage, just the dainty flowers rising up.




Brunnera – I started out with 3 of these plants and now only have 1. Keep in mind though, I planted perennials that could stand a Zone 3 climate, with temperatures down to -35C in the dead of winter.




Lungwort – I used to grow this on the West Coast and was surprised that it would live up here in the Cariboo. Pretty little flowers with colours ranging from pink to blue on each stem. Love this!

I am very happy with my Shade Bed – I would eventually like to add some height to this corner with a metal sculpture that I could put in the workshop over wintertime.  This shady portion of our yard is where you will find us around 3 or 4pm each Summer afternoon. One day, I’ll have an actual seating area out here.