Garden question: In a…

Garden question: In a bed of mixed hostas and ferns (which I have just spent an hour weeding), do you underplant those? Let the little weeds be? Mulch heavily?

The hostas / ferns were planted a year ago, so they'll probably get bigger (I think) in a few years, so I'm not sure whether this will be less of an issue then. There's still noticeable space between each plant right now.

I should say my goal is not a full-on hosta explosion -- I like them fine, but I don't really like the look of all-hosta-all-the-time (which is common around here). I'm aiming for more of a mixed woodland look overall. There are tall trees overhead, and dappled shade most of the day.

What I have in there right now are a few hostas, a few painted ferns and lady ferns, a few Jacob's ladders, and a few meadow rue (off to the side a bit). I'm hoping to add some Virginia bluebells. (Any other shade woodland perennials I shouldn't miss?)

But I'm also wondering about tiny woodland flowers that might look pretty in spring while we're waiting for the perennials to come out and play, and would potentially make a nice mass of green that would eventually help keep the random weeds down -- would wild violets work there? Anything else?

I do have some blue muscari and white Thalia daffodils in for spring bloom too, and I LOVE them both.

3 thoughts on “Garden question: In a…”

  1. I spent several years trying to introduce wild violets into my garden. Progress was very slow until I started watering regularly (please remember this is Seattle and I’m talking about regular watering in addition to the incessant rainfall). Now I have a glorious profusion of violets. They love shade and have a nice darkish foliage year-round.

  2. Mulch is always a good thing to keep the weeds down. Just make sure you leave a little room right around the hosta base. They don’t like being smothered in mulch. Your hostas will definitely fill in. All new beds look a little sparse the first year or two. Remember, first year they sleep, second year they creep, third year they leap! In terms of woodland flowers, you might try bloodroot (nice white flowers, big green leaves – I have found it to spread really well). If you can get some trilliums or jack in the pulpits to grow, that would be pretty. All of those are early spring flowers, and what I have mixed into my woodland shade garden.

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