Shade in the garden is always a challenge to find just the right plants to suit the aspect. It’s hard to find shade loving plants at the best of times but to find shade loving natives can be even more challenging for garden design success. Plant selection and research is really important. I love native plants and its surprising how many actually love the shade and cool spots. Most of my selection are endemic to Tasmania and are perfect shade lovers for our region.
The Tasmanian laurel, Anopterus glandulosus is a beautiful species growing into a shrub of around 2-4 metres. It has dark glossy leaves with snowy white flowers flushed with pink. The clusters of flowers appear at the end of the branches in spring and often flower twice making another appearance in autumn. They love the shade and a protected area ideal to go against walls and fences. This species is slow growing but well worth the wait. It’s actually a very hardy plant that attracts both nectar and insect eating birds.
The camphor bush, Baeckea camphorate is a lovely spreading shrub with green camphor scented leaves and sweet little white flowers that give a soft, bright display in late spring or early summer. The delightful small shrub loves partial shade to deep shade and once established is also a very drought tolerant specimen.
Darwinia’s are a genus of around 70 different species which are only found in Australia and really worth having in your garden. In particular Darwinia taxifolia subspecies macrolaena is a small shrub which grows to 1metre with small flowers occurring in clusters of 2-4. The flowers are red and have a unique shape about them with an unusual form something that would really stand out in a native garden of interest. They flower in the spring and summer and this little plant is hardy to the shade, loves some protection from the summer sun and grows really well from cuttings.
Isopogen’s are related to the Grevilleas and Banksias and are really interesting upright shrubs growing to around 2 metres. They flower with unusual form, the flowers occurring on the terminal branches. Isopogen’s come in different colours with slight variations to foliage with different species. This plant is really lovely and the Isopogen anemonifolius is a yellow flowering form commonly called drumsticks! They are hardy to frost and drought and after flowering in October through to January they produce grey cone like heads full of seed which once dried in a paper bag are easily collected for the enthusiastic propagator.
I love the versatility of Australian natives, their bird attracting qualities and low maintenance. Once you start looking for shade lovers there is actually quite a good range. Keep your eyes out also for the Gaultheria hispida, commonly called snow berry and Baloskion tetraphllum, the tassel cord rush. The combination of white berries and red flowers of these two of these plants look magic together.