Photo Competition

In by HPS-Editor

Photo competition The winner of the photo completion in the autumn issue of 4 Seasons in the Shade has been chose and will be announced in the winter issue – out in early January.

Save the Date

In by HPS-Editor

Save the Date The Eleventh Meeting and AGM will be  on Sunday 30 March 2025  in Devon, and will include a visit to Keith Wiley’s iconic garden, Wildside.

Shade and Woodland AGM 2024

In by Clare Powell

Saturday 27th April 2024: The 10th Annual Meeting and AGM will be held at the Colwall Park Hotel, Malvern WR13 6QG This event is open to all HPS Members. Payment should be made by bank transfer to: To send a cheque please make payable to “HPS Shade and Woodland Plants Group and send with reference as above on the back …

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Shade and Woodland Plants

In by HPS-Editor

Members of the Shade and Woodland Plants Group are a community of gardeners with a special interest in plants adapted to grow in these conditions. Most gardens have shade, whether under trees or in areas overshadowed by walls or buildings. The ground may vary greatly from soil that is rich and moisture retentive to that which is poor and dry. …

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Five for Shade, Joe Sime

In by HPS-Editor

I am glad to say that most gardeners are beginning to realise that areas of shade in their garden are not a problem, but rather an enormous opportunity. However most of the garden centres have not caught up with this, and are yet to offer the range of shade plants that they should. If you want to try the more …

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Woodland Treasures – a Talk by Des Martin

In by HPS-Editor

On the first warm day of April, when we should all have probably been tending our gardens, a large number of hardy planters turned up to hear Des talk about the large variety of woodland plants that he grows in his nursery. Des did not do the normal talk with slideshow but used the plants that he had brought which …

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A few easy hepaticas and how to enjoy them, Glenn Shapiro

In by HPS-Editor

I have made a choice of nine very different but readily available hepaticas, which are happy in our North West gardens. Hepatica acutiloba comes from America and Canada. The name ‘acutiloba’ refers to the fact that the leaves are more pointed than in the other American species H. americana (which prefers drier conditions than we can easily provide). I recommend …

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Epimediums, Don Witton

In by HPS-Editor

I have developed a great affection for epimediums in recent years. They will never be the superstars of the herbaceous border but they are very useful perennials, which make excellent ground cover for difficult places, eg a dark corner or dry shade under shrubs and small trees. Some have very attractive, often evergreen foliage and the alluring petite flowers come …

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Gardening in Damp Shade, Mandy Featherstone

In by HPS-Editor

Boggy, squelchy, claggy and shady spot? Or is that just an extra dimension in your garden? Adopt the latter mentality and create yourself a ‘cool soft terrain’ instead. We most of us admire the mosses, lichens and ferns tucked into crevices on our woodland walks, not to mention the soft terrain underfoot, so why not embrace such conditions in your …

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Actaeas, Sue Ward

In by HPS-Editor

Walking around my garden dead-heading dahlias in late August, the air is full with the sweet honey–scented flowers of the actaeas, such good plants for the late summer and early autumn borders. The tall elegant spires of white flowers that arise from equally good foliage have a charm that takes me by surprise every year. The late summer varieties quietly …

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Garden Hepaticas, Sue Ward

In by HPS-Editor

Hepaticas are small clump-forming perennials and are in my favourite plant family, Ranunculaceae. Flowering begins in late February or early March and new leaves start to unfurl just after the flowers. The leaves usually have three lobes, sometimes five, most are mainly green but there are some plants which have leaves variegated or marbled. Hepaticas grow in the wild on …

Plants for Dry Shade, Val Garrett

In by HPS-Editor

Ryarsh Village Hall was full to capacity and a sea of eager, expectant faces greeted Kevin Hughes as he stepped forward. Somewhat sheepishly he said that he must start with a confession. We held our breath. Had he perhaps brought the wrong lecture? Worse still, no lecture? No, but the plant list, copies of which we now clutched like holy …

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More about toad lilies, Malcolm Michael

In by HPS-Editor

The trouble with this overlooked family of perennials is that they are not spectacular and many must be put off by the exhortation to plant in moist conditions in shade. Like Annie I have found them far more adaptable than textbooks suggest and I prefer the safety of a container to the vulnerability of a border position. Snails and slugs …

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How to deal with dry shade, Joe Sime

In by HPS-Editor

Many gardeners fail to see a shady spot as the horticultural blessing that it is. In particular they struggle with dry shade. If you are one of these then just try the easy step-by-step guide below. START Is the soil bone-dry even in the winter and early spring? If ‘Yes’ go to (12) Is the soil good i.e. with reasonable …

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Toad Lilies, Anne Godfrey

In by HPS-Editor

One the best things about Toad Lilies is that they provide interest in a shady border from late summer into autumn, when very little else is in flower. Tricyrtis naturally occur in the damp woodlands of China, Japan, Taiwan and Korea. It is no surprise then that the text books will tell you that these plants enjoy humus rich, moist …

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The woodland garden – five years on, Organoman

In by HPS-Editor

Over the last five years, the woodland garden has definitely developed into my favourite part of the garden. Why? I am not altogether sure. Perhaps out of necessity I spend more time there than elsewhere in the garden. Perhaps because I like a challenge. Our very dry and in places quite deep shade is certainly that. Or perhaps because it …

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Those bells, those bells, Ben Green

In by HPS-Editor

About 25 years ago, whilst walking in a wooded area of the Cambridge University Botanic Garden, I was bedazzled by a beautiful American belle. Despite being happily married with two lovely daughters I fell hopelessly in love. The love was unrequited but I pined for a re-acquaintance. This came years later after the death of my wife. It was on …

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A tale of Trilliums, John Rogers

In by HPS-Editor

On the last day of the group’s trip to Ireland in 2004, I bought a Trillium luteum. It was an average plant with just two leaves, if memory serves, in a four inch pot. When we got home it was duly planted in a suitable spot and it grew well, dying down at the end of the season. The following …

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Roscoea, JMS Pearce

In by HPS-Editor

One of the less commonly found plants for shaded places is of the genus Roscoea. It is one of the few members of the Family Zingiberaceae (the ginger family), which can grow outside tropical or subtropical climates, because it is a native of high altitudes in Sichuan and Yunnan in China. The genus is named after William Roscoe, an ‘abolitionist’, …