Successful Shade Gardens
We certainly love our giant spreading shade trees. They make a southern summer a bit easier. However, as they spread their canopy over the years our options for colorful plantings grow smaller. This Successful Shade Gardens Web page from Mississippi State University Extension provides tips and a list of plants suitable for shady spots in the landscape.
Favorite or New Plant
Duranta, or golden dewdrop, is a beautiful plant with an arching to weeping growth habit. Clusters of bright blue flowers are followed by golden yellow berries with both often present on the plant at the same time. A white-flowered form and one that's blue with white edges also are available. Butterflies are attracted to the blooms. In hardiness zone 8 Duranta is a tender perennial freezing to the ground in winter and returning in spring to reach a height of 4 to 6 feet. It loves morning sun and afternoon shade, but it will take full sun. Mulch the base well in winter to protect against the cold. Duranta is relatively free of pest and disease problems, however the fruits are poisonous so it's not an appropriate choice around very young children.