I have a lot of trees which i am not allowed to eliminate, I love them, but I need some color in the yard. This yr I tried impatiens around the trees with compost. They are struggling. Anyone sucessful? I need help. Thanks
Impatients take a lot of water I think.
How about hosta, hydrangeas, astillbe for some perennial color...along with some spring flowering bulbs. My daffs are planted in shade, and bloom b4 the leaves come on, and do just fine.
have you checked out the Garden In Shade Forum? It doesn't look very active right now, but you might read through the posts and get some more ideas.
Here is a link that might be useful: Gardening In Shade Forum
What kinds of trees are they? If they are black walnut you need to be careful what you plant around them. believe it or not I have planted iris around some of my trees and they do just fine without being in full sun.
Also.......toad lilies, ferns, carex, heuchera/tiarella/heucherella, brunnera, and bergenia.....
Primrose, azaleas and rhododendrons, you could also try some of the blue grasses. I have some Elijah's blue fescue beneath some pines. I also have a rose bush that has been planted beneath a bunch of pines and a cedar (just to the front of them) for 10 years that outdoes itself each year. My irises didn't ever bloom under my pines so I've had to move them all but some small rhizomes still pop up each year. When I lived in Mississippi I had loads of white irises beneath a chinaberry tree so it may just depend on the tree and I also have some purple ones under an oak now that is extremely dry that bloom. You might also want to try some succulents, sedums, hens and chicks of different colors too. Good luck with whatever you plant.
Thanks everybody for your help, I have oak trees and they have very active roots.
I live in the woods too and I'm not allowed to cut any trees, but I finally talked hubby into limbing up some of them. I've had good luck growing irises, crinum lilies and amaryllises. The amaryllises bloomed like crazy and they were red. I just hope they make it through the winter since I didn't dig them up.
Also I had plumbago, crape myrtle, althea and hydrangea in big pots under the trees. The plumbago bloomed really well. I use big pots because I have clay and rocks to deal with. Going to have to build some raised beds. But I'm afraid to add too much soil around the bottom of the trees. I've heard it will kill the trees.