planning a shady garden
I have a long expanse of privacy fence in heavy shade. I would love to plant a combination of shrubs, flowers, decorative grasses, and ground cover. My problem is when I do research in books or on line, I can rarely find the exact plants mentioned in my area. Do you have a suggestion of plants that I can group together with varied heights that I can easily find. I am thinking of a tall decorative grass along the fence, with flowering bushes, or interesting foliage plants interspersed for interest and color. I would like to have 6 or 7 plants in a set design and then keep repeating it for the length of the fence. To make matters more complicated, I have tree roots interspersed along the section where I want to plant.
To begin, have you had the soil tested in this area. The information you receive in a soil test report will help determine which plants will do well in your location. A soil test kit may be ordered for $25 from http://shop.msu.edu/product_p/bulletin-e3154.htm The kit comes with everything you need including instructions and a self-mailer for your soil sample.
What types of trees are growing along this fence? Some trees are very sensitive to having their roots disturbed (digging, planting), so it would be helpful to have some additional information.
Is there a nursery in your area where you like to make plant purchases? Do they have a knowledgeable staff? Once you have the information from the soil report and have identified the existing trees, nursery staff with design capabilities will be able to share the plants that they have available that will grow in your conditions.