Leaves that "Light Up Dark Corners"


It is often said, by way of explanation of the presence of variegated and yellow leaved plants, that they light up dark corners of a garden. Well, yes they do, just as, I suppose , would a bunch of plastic flowers!


A better solution, I suggest, would be to take a more positive view of shade in the garden: to see it as an opportunity to create a different mood by employing a distinct cast of plants that cope with (or even enjoy) shade. Plants with good structure complemented by distinguished leaves can provide a satisfying picture in all seasons (see shrub list below*). And it is possible to have flowers in shade ; snowdrops and Anemone nemorosa (early) cyclamen hederifolium, hardy fuchsias and Japanese anemones (summer to autumn). White flowered varieties (occurring in all the above) look particularly effective in shade.


So shade is not necessarily the enemy, especially if it is not too dry and can be contrasted with brighter ground. Darker areas give a sense of depth, of perspective, which, if well done, can imbue a garden with a hint of mystery and romance – what more could you want.


*Green leaf evergreen shrubs that will enjoy/tolerate shade – check RHS Encyclopaedia for degree of shade tolerated.

Aucuba japonica, Buxus, Camellia, Choisya, Danae racemosa, Daphne laureola, Fatsia japonica, Ilex pernyi, Ligustrum japonicum, Mahonia,,, Osmmanthus (some of them), Phillyrea, Sarcococca, Viburnum davidii, Vinca minor.


Copyright 2010-2014 Graham Cousins