A Deer-Proof Garden Design for Dry Shade – Plant IDs

Fine Gardening – Issue 199
deer proof shade plants

I live in a modern house perched on a coastal bluff and surrounded by Douglas firs and western red cedars (Thuja plicata, Zones 5–7) that are over one hundred years old. This location is gorgeous, but it is not without its challenges. With all those massive trees come the problems of dry shade, with extreme root competition and compaction. Add a family of deer that calls this place home, and designing a beautiful yet functional landscape becomes a great deal more challenging.

Here are some of the plants that were able to thrive in this challenging landscape.

1. ‘Aureola’ Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’, Zones 5–9)

2. Alpine water fern (Austroblechnum penna-marina, Zones 6–8)

3. ‘Lance Corporal’ persicaria (Persicaria virginiana var. filiformis ‘Lance Corporal’, Zones 4–9)

4. ‘Big Blue’ liriope (Liriope muscari ‘Big Blue’, Zones 5–11)

5. ‘Mariesii’ doublefile viburnum (Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum ‘Mariesii’, Zones 5–8)

6. Candelabra primrose (Primula bulleyana, Zones 5–8)

7. Japanese maple (Acer palmatum cv., Zones 5–9)

8. Western red cedar (Thuja plicata, Zones 5–8)

9. Hellebore (Helleborus orientalis, Zones 4–8)

10. Sedum (Sedum cv., Zones 3–11)


dry shade garden with lots of foliage

1. Western sword fern (Polystichum munitum, Zones 5–9)

2. Salal (Gaultheria shallon, Zones 5–9)

3. Manzanita (Arctostaphylos cv., Zones 8–10)

4. Bergenia (Bergenia cv., Zones 3–9)

5. ‘Millenium’ allium (Allium ‘Millenium’, Zones 5–8)

6. Bowles’ golden sedge (Carex elata ‘Aurea’, Zones 5–9)

7. Primrose (Primula vulgaris, Zones 4–8)

8. ‘Miss Kim’ Korean lilac (Syringa pubescens ssp. patula ‘Miss Kim’, Zones 3–8)

9. Edgeworthia (Edgeworthia chrysantha, Zones 7–10)

10. ‘Spring Glow’ Tasmanian leatherwood (Eucryphia lucida ‘Spring Glow’ syn. ‘Spring Cream’, Zones 8–10)

11. Evergreen huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum, Zones 5–7)


To learn more about designing a colorful shade garden, check out the full A Deer-Proof Garden Design for Dry Shade article.


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