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Shade Plants at the Humes Japanese Stroll Garden with Stephen

Martha Stewart Living Television

In 1959, a former American ambassador created what is now the John P. Humes Japanese Stroll Garden on four hilly acres in Mill Neck, New York. The shady woodland garden has been overseen for the past sixteen years by curator Stephen Morrell, who incorporates plant varieties native to both Asia and America.

Stephen joins Martha to discuss some plants that are excellent for use in shady garden spaces. The following Asian natives provide interesting alternatives to popular shade plantings such as ivy and pachysandra.

Japanese-Garden Shade Plants

Grape holly (Mahonia japonica)
A shrub that produces gray, grapelike fruit; likes filtered light.

Pieris japonica
A small shrub with cream-colored, bell-shaped flowers that resemble lily-of-the-valley.

Japanese maple (Acer palmatum)
Small-statured maples with finely cut leaves; most appreciate afternoon shade.

Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema ringens)
A woodland perennial with thick, leathery foliage. Produces distinctive large spathes and upright spadices.

Skimmia japonica 'Nana'
A woodland shrub that produces small red berries year-round.

Fuki (Petasites japonicus)
A large-leaved perennial that thrives in moist shade.

Hinoki cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa)
A pest- and disease-resistant evergreen tree; foliage ranges from dark-green to golden.