Woodland gardens and conservation
Do you have shade on your property?Do you often think that this is a problem? If so, I might suggest that an area that is shaded could also be an opportunity to plant a woodland garden. Perhaps even a woodland garden that could give a home to rare plants!
Home gardeners such as us are important players in the collective effort being made to reintroduce and re-establish the native flora and fauna which once called this area home. A woodland garden can be installed anywhere that there is shade. A grove of trees is perhaps the ideal location for a shade garden but really anywhere that you find shadow can work for species adapted for shade. For many folks a shade garden could take shape under a single tree or on the north side of their house.
Plants adapted for life in a shady forest need soil rich in organic matter. You’ll most likely need to add compost to the site and a bit of leaf litter mulch if you are able. A short list of the plants that you might consider adding to your new site could include: Polyganotum biflorum (Solomon’s Seal), Heuchera americana (Alumroot), Trillium grandiflorum (Large flowered Trillium), Packera aurea (Golden Ragwort) and Symphyotrichum cordifolium (Blue Wood Aster).
Perhaps you’d like to take it a bit further! We’ve begun to establish colonies of some of the rarer woodland plants that have been in decline in recent decades. Because of the very real threat of poaching, I will not disclose the location of our efforts but I will mention that we have been slowly building up populations of Panax quinquefolius (American Ginseng), Hydrastis canadensis (Goldenseal) and Allium tricoccum (Ramps or wild Leeks). These lovely plants have been over harvested over much of their former range so if you can grow them in your shady spots then you can help them survive. The shade garden in your back yard is not the kind of place that plant poachers will look for! We hope to offer them for sale at some point to help more folks join in the effort to re-populate our shady spots. Stay tuned.
Panax quinquefolius (American Ginseng). Allium tricoccum (Ramps or wild Leeks)
Hydrastis canadensis (Goldenseal)