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No more dull foundations

By: Garden Gate staff
Try a new foundation planting! These perennials dress up a shady area beside the house.

Tired of the traditional green shrub foundation planting? Try perennials instead! This low-maintenance combo puts on a pretty show of pastel blooms through summer. Plus it’s resilient enough to handle some tough conditions: shade for much of the day, late afternoon sun, drying winter winds and spotty rain.

Let's look at some of the highlights: Lady’s mantle’s chartreuse flowers are long-lasting but always seem to flop. That’s OK since this low-growing plant is usually at the front of the border, and the blooms form a lacy edge that softens the hard lines of this stone path. Colorful astilbe plumes add excitement midborder with their upright flower shape. Give it a wet spot in the garden or plan to water frequently if the weather is dry.

Scroll down for more information about growing these beauties. If you're looking for more inspiration for your foundation garden, check out this design idea!


A) Astilbe (Astilbe Cattleya)
Type Perennial Blooms Rose-pink flowers in midsummer Light Full sun to part shade Size 30 to 36 in. tall, 18 to 24 in. wide Hardiness Cold zones 4 to 8, heat zones 8 to 1

B) Lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis)
Type Perennial Blooms Chartreuse blooms in spring to summer Light Full sun to part shade Size 10 to 18 in. tall, 18 to 30 in. wide Hardiness Cold zones 4 to 8, heat zones 8 to 1

C) Astilbe (Astilbe x rosea 'Peach Blossom')
Type Perennial Blooms Salmon-pink flowers in early summer Light Full sun to part shade Size 18 to 24 in. tall, 15 to 18 in. wide Hardiness Cold zones 4 to 9, heat zones 9 to 1

D) Ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris)
Type Perennial Blooms Green scalloped leaves all season Light Part to full shade Size 3 to 6 ft. tall, 2 to 3 ft. wide Hardiness Cold zones 3 to 7, heat zones 7 to 1

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May 27, 2014