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What's in My garden: Time Saving Perennials

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Written by Lori Auerbach, Realtor | Vanderblue Team | Higgins Group Real Estate

It’s planting time here in Fairfield County and our local nurseries are overflowing with choices! If you don’t take some time to plan your landscape you will be overwhelmed when you set foot into the nursery. You really need to observe your landscape each season, how much sunlight areas receive daily, what areas tend to stay a bit soggier than others and where you already have color growing.

A Master Gardener- I am not. But I do come from a family with “green thumbs” and I’m a member of the Greenfield Hill Garden Club, which allows me to rub shoulders with some of the best gardeners in Fairfield. At a recent Garden Club meeting our program guest speaker was Amy Ziffer, a Master Gardener & Northeast Specialist who spoke to us about selecting hardy perennials for sun and shade areas. This topic is something I have yearned to learn more about because to me, perennials are “give back” plants…plant them once and they are back each season. Also, I appreciate native species and those that are deer resistant as well. I’m a busy Realtor and while I love to work in my yard I often don’t have the time so these recommended perennials work for not only my landscape but also my lifestyle.

This week I will share a few perennials that are recommended for shady spots in our area:


GOATSBEARD (Aruncus dioicus)

  • Plant in full or partial shade
  • Likes moist soil conditions
  • Grows 3-6 ft tall and can grow 3-6 ft wide
  • Looks like a giant Astilbe with white/cream plumes
  • Great for woodland borders
  • Blooms early spring-summer


  • Plant in full shade or partial shade
  • Likes medium moisture soil conditions
  • Grows in clumps 1-3 ft tall
  • Bright green, fuzzy leaves with floral spikes; attracts hummingbirds
  • Great for beds,, borders and containers
  • Blooms from spring –fall; dead head for continuous blooming


  • Plant in full shade or partial shade
  • Likes medium moisture soil conditions
  • Grows in clumps 10” tall
  • Bright green, deeply marked leaves with pink floral spikes
  • Great for beds, borders, ground cover and among spring bulbs
  • Blooms from early-late spring

BIG ROOT GERANIUM (Geranium Macrorrhizm-Rozanne variety) * My favorite*

  • Plant in full sun- partial shade
  • Likes moist soil conditions
  • Grows 1-3 ft in clumps & spreads
  • Bright green leaves with lavender-blue flowers
  • Great for borders & containers
  • Blooms from spring-summer; will re-bloom if pinch off dead flower stems

HELLEBORE (Helleborus)

  • Plant in full shade or partial shade
  • Likes medium moisture soil conditions
  • Grows 1-3 ft in clumps
  • Glossy, leather-like green leaves with various flower colors available
  • Great for beds & borders
  • Blooms from winter-spring and likes cool conditions


WAX BELLS (Kirengeshoma)

  • Plant in partial shade
  • Likes medium moisture soil conditions
  • Grows in clumps 3-6 ft high & spreads 1-3 ft
  • Green maple-shaped leaves, with pendulous dangling clusters of small, dainty, yellow flowers
  • Great for beds & borders
  • Blooms in summer

BISHOP’S HAT (Epimedium)

  • Plant in full to partial shade
  • Likes moist soil but can tolerate drier conditions
  • Grows in clumps 3-12 inches high & spreads 1-3 ft
  • Heart shaped leaves; go from green with pinkish edges to bronze edges in the fall. Tiny, delicate star shaped flowers dangle from wiry spikes; flower colors vary by variety from pink, blue, yellow and red
  • Great for edging and ground cover
  • Blooms early spring -spring

These are just a tiny sampling of the perennials that thrive in shady conditions here in Fairfield County. I highly recommend that you shop our locally owned nurseries that are staffed with knowledgeable gardeners always eager to help you make smart plant choices for your landscape.

Next week I’ll share a few sun-loving perennials so until then, get out there and plant something special!

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