Glorious as the sunshine is, it can make for tiring, dusty gardening.  I’ve been hanging out in my woodland garden, where the coolness is welcome to both me and to the shade-dwellers that grow there.  I planted must of these shade loving plants last autumn, along with lots of lovely ferns.  You can read about the ferns here.

Cobra Lily – Arisaema speciosum


arisaema speciosum

I grew this in a pot last year then planted it out in the garden last autumn.  They come from the temperate forests of the Himalyas so I wasn’t sure it was totally hardy but decided to risk it as it would look stunning in the woodland garden, if it survived.  It has good drainage and was well mulched heading into winter.

Arisaema speciosum

Surviving and thriving it is.  This week the flower was fully out with its deep burgundy, hooded shape, striped white to guide insects inside.  The leaves are beautiful in their own right, with their ridged palm shape and mottled stalk.

Can you tell I like this plant?

Bog primroses – Primula wilsonii var wilsoniiPrimula wilsonii var wilsonii

If you’ve got a damp shady area or a bog garden then you must plant some bog primroses.  This week they started flowering.  They’re not fully open yet but I’m impatient to share them.

They’re a candelabra style flower in garnet pink.  Even better, the leaves are glossy with a year-round bright emerald colouring.

Corydalis elataCorydalis elata

I was given this plant by a local Alpine Garden Society member with a glorious garden who was happy to share some shade lovers for my woodland area.  This has a pretty blue flower with feathery foliage and stands tall at the path edge showing off its kingfisher plumage. Corydalis elata

Valeriana pyrenaicavaleriana pyrenaica

Another gift from my AGS pal, this is also occupying a commanding position at the path edge.  It’s 4ft tall and topped with a pretty pink frothy flower. My woodland bible, Beth Chatto’s ‘The Shade Garden’ says this will seed around mildly, which I’m very happy with.

valeriana pyrenaica

Geranium phaeum

geranium phaeum

The flowers on this plant are not big but are a rich ribena colour up close.  I read that two common names of this are ‘mourning widow’ and ‘black widow’, which rather take the shine off my love for this plant.  I’ll do with the other common name I found instead – dusky cranesbill.  I like that one.

Silene vulgaris

Silene vulgaris

Talking unpleasant common names, this wildflower is called the bladder campion.  This tallish plant could well have self-seeded here, as it has elsewhere in my garden before.  However, I did plant these, another gift.

I can see where the name bladder comes in, from the shape of the puffed up flower.  Maybe balloon campion would been a more pleasant name.  However, I looked up the word balloon and it only emerged in the late 16th Century, originating from the french and italian words for ball.  Before that the word bladder would have been commonly used for any air or fluid filled shape such as this.


This seasonal diary is part of a weekly link-up of garden bloggers from around the world, called Six on Saturday.  For more information and links to other blogs crammed with gardening activity, check the blog of host The Propagator.