References for Shade Gardening

morning light in the shade garden

These are some of the most useful reference books with information on how to create a beautiful shade garden, most give both the botanical plant name as well as common names:


The Layered Garden – David L. Culp

The New Shade Garden – Ken Druse – good plant lists, practical help for making a shade garden – an essential reference

The American Woodland Garden – Rick Darke

The Complete Shade Gardener – George Schenk – how to prune, fertilize, recipe for “ideal shade garden soil”,

The Wild Garden – William Robinson, Expanded Edition with chapters by Rick Darke

The Magical World of Moss Gardening – Annie Martin (local source for moss trays), details on installing & maintaining moss

Ferns for American Gardens – John T. Mickel – an essential reference

Covering Ground – Barbara W. Ellis, extensive plant lists and descriptions for shade groundcovers

A Four Season Southern Garden – Betty Montgomery, local author with two shade gardens, also includes sun areas

The American Mixed Border – Ann Lovejoy – chapter on building soil ON TOP OF EXISTING ROOTS

The Shade Garden – Beth Chatto – good descriptions on creating attractive plant combinations (English)

The Green Tapestry – chapter “Shade Gardens” – invaluable information and planting plans – Beth Chatto (English)

Schattenstauden – Die Dunkle Seite Ihres Gartens – Katrin Lugerbauer, Austrian, German text – the best plant lists broken down into part shade, half shade, full shade, planting plans, and plant list for for 4 seasons and plant collectors. Although the text is in German, plant lists are by botanical name.

Internet Links of Interest – For plant combinations – mainly Pacific West oriented but useful reference – plant details and how to use them – best online reference – reference for plant lists with details, including conifers, trees, shrubs – photos of beautiful moss gardens ( – East Flat Rock nursery for Japanese maples
Margaret Roach – – source for mail order snowdrops and dwarf hostas (very good blog on natives and pollinators)