rheum tanguticum5wm
rheum tanguticum, with bloom spike over 6 feet tall
sunrise coming over the mountain
back yard9
back yard south west side garden that borders the woods
back yard1
back yard north west side garden that borders the woods
front gardens2
front gardens, closest to the house
back - epimediums, hydrangeas
small bed bordering the woods, featuring epimediums, hydrangeas, hellebores and an un-named rhododendron that we brought from our last house
back yard10
back border garden that peeks into a small garden room behind a fallen log, that features a large birdbath and 3 vertical growing yews
front yard garden wm
part of the front entry area garden
back yard2
back, south west woodland border garden, featuring blue hostas, all gold Japanese forest grass, brunnera ‘jack frost’, unknown pulmonaria, primula, dogwood, Japanese maples, dove tree, toad lily and more
back yard3
back yard south west woodland border garden features brunnera – ‘hadspen cream, dawson’s white, macrophylla, climbing hydrangea, astillbes, fernleaf buckthorn, Japanese maple.
monarda ‘raspberry wine’, black lace elderberry, white phlox
mountain view from the back yard
autumn north side
north garden in the autumn
back yard6
back garden perennial path
autumn front
front garden around that old growth spruce, in the autumn
back yard8
back garden, ferns, hydrangeas, astilbe, hostas, pulmonaria
autumn back
back garden red leaf maple in autumn
north side1
north side shade garden, hostas and ferns
back yard4
back bed shade garden, primulas, hostas, hydrangeas
back yard5
shade path, ligularias, ferns podophyllums
back yard7
black lace elderberry, hosta ‘sum & substance’
north side
north side shade garden
back yard
back yard, red maple, hosta ‘strip tease’
autumn, stewartia monodelpha
autumn, stewartia monadelpha
garden tour
autumn in the front yard



concrete stepping stones with leaf impressions that match the perennials along the shade garden path
concrete stepping stones with leaf impressions that match the perennials along the shade garden path

Outstanding Shade Garden Perennial – # 4 – Ligularia

Ligularia is a perennial in the Aster family. They are available in a wide range of varieties. Some can be quite dramatic. The name comes from the Latin word ligula, meaning little tongue, referring to the tongue-like shape of the large petal on each of the ray flowers. The large leaves grow in rosettes. The leaf colors range from green to a deep purple. The leaf shapes can be round, kidney-shaped, some may be toothed, some are deeply cut, almost like a snowflake. The plants bloom with tall sprays or spires of yellow or orange flowers in summer, usually on strong stems above the leaves.

Asst Ligularia varieties on the right

How to grow: Ligularias do best in partial shade, they will be happiest protected from hot afternoon sun, in the hot afternoon sun, they freely wilt, even though they are well established and well watered.  Give them a good, humus-rich garden soil, kept evenly moist, even bogs will do. Ours grow to about 3 – 5 feet high. The bloom spikes can be a 1 -2 feet above the leave clump. These form large clumps, it’s best to allow plenty of space should be allowed between plants.

ligularia in bloom
ligularia in bloom

Propagation: By division in spring or from seed, ours started self-seeding after the plants became well established.

How to use ligularias: in the back of shady beds or borders, in bogs or along the edge of water gardens.

We have used them as a border plant along a path in our shade garden. The deep purple color of some varieties are very striking against the hakonchloa ‘all gold’ we have planted in front of them. We also like to have a little fun with some of the more novel plants in our garden. We have ligularia ‘dragon’s breath’ and ligularia ‘dragon wings’, complete with a garden dragon.

ligularia ‘dragon’s breath’
ligularia in bloom
ligularia in bloom

Ligularia BONUS: for several years I have been casting leaves in concrete. These have a wonderful natural bowl shape for making water bowls for butterflies, birds and bees and bird feeders. I flatten the leaves out and the make great leave casts for stepping stones.

So… grow some ligularias have some fun.