This post is the second of two showcasing the toughest of the tough plants in my garden. These are my go-to plants when I need something to grow in an area where nothing else will grow. In my shade garden there are areas that never see the light of day. So let’s raise the bar a little for dry shade. Not only do these plants love dry shade but they are part of my +2 program. These plants also flower. Because my shade garden in so shady, I tend to like white flowers.
I couldn’t think of ever gardening without this shrub. This is Mock Orange (Philadelphus coronarius). When I first started out, this was the first plant I put in. I placed it against the fence in the darkest part of the garden. Literally, this plant gets about 30 minutes of direct sun in the morning and dark shade the rest of the day. My mother, a very accomplished gardener said, “Oh no honey, Mock Orange needs some sun.” but I didn’t move it because I really liked it there. So it bloomed with fragrant flowers the first year and then I thought that it would not bloom again. Six years later it is over nine feet tall and covered in these sweet smelling blooms for six weeks in the spring. Definitely a winner for me.
This is a two-year old plant and it is about 4 feet tall. It has charming white blooms in the spring and blue berries in the fall that don’t last long because the birds snap them up before they are even fully ripe. I love this shrub but it is not popular in the North Texas area. It should be! One warning: they grow best with more than one in the area for maximum flower and berry production. I didn’t know that when I bought this one and so now am looking for another to plant on the other side of the tree.
This is my number one flowering vine for shade. Confederate Jasmine. This is one
tough vine. I have it growing several places in my shade garden because I love the scent of jasmine in the spring. My largest vine is in the dryest spot of my garden. It is a raised bed and over the years I have killed more plants than I can count in this bed. The jasmine just keeps going. The vine experienced some die back this winter due to several ice storms and uncharacteristic cold weather (19 deg F, -7 deg C) but it never stopped growing and the vines survived and put out new leaves this spring. Confederate Jasmine laughs at heat and loves shady places. Established plants have not needed any supplemental watering at all this summer making it as drought tolerant as my prickly pear cactus. Gotta love it!
If you have a champ that you couldn’t garden without, let me know and I will showcase it here.
Happy Gardening and remember to “Bee” Positive!