I have an area in my front yard about 3 x 3 feet that is underneath a rain gutter and gets about seven hours of sun a day. What shrubs or perennials thrive under these wet, sunny conditions?
Kimberly Davis, New Mariat, MD
Henry Mityga, a lecturer for the horticulture department at the University of Maryland, replies: You are located in USDA Hardiness Zone 6 (–10°F), so many shrubs and perennials will readily adapt to your site. A few of my favorite shrubby choices are ‘Brilliantissima’ chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia ‘Brilliantissima’), summer-sweet (Clethra alnifolia), Tatarian dogwood (Cornus alba ‘Argenteo-marginata’ or ‘Elegantissima’), compact inkberry (Ilex glabra ‘Compacta’), and ‘Winter Red’ winterberry (Ilex verticillata ‘Winter Red’). Each of these shrubs easily grows to around 4 or 5 feet in height and spread. If they get too large, they may be severely pruned to regenerate new, compact growth.
Some perennials include false spirea (Astilbe X arendsii), snakeroot (Cimicifuga racemosa), Japanese iris (Iris ensata), cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis), and gooseneck loosestrife (Lysimachia clethroides).