Q. Can you suggest some shade plants for an historic one-room schoolhouse?

Our garden club is in charge of maintaining the flower beds surrounding an historic one room schoolhouse from the early 1800’s in a Philadelphia suburb. It has been over-run by wild ginger and the old shrubs have all died. We are attempting to thin out the vegetation that has taken over the beds and plant shrubs that are consistent with that time period. (1850s). The area is heavily shaded. If possible, please provide us with some options that can be readily purchased at garden centers. We are looking for shade loving, deer resistant shrubs preferably seen in the 1850’s. Suggestions for a few perennials would be appreciated, as well, but our focus is to first start with a foundation of a few shrubs.


If you have a copy available in a public library near you, you may want to consult this book. (It's in our library. You may borrow it if you are a member. OR, ask your public library to borrow it from us via Interlibrary loan. Just as an aside,

Adams, Denise W. Adams   American home landscapes :   a design guide to creating period garden styles /   Portland, Or. : Timber Press, 2013. Stacks  / SB473 .A247 2013

I consulted chapter 3: Landscapes of the Early to Mid-Ninteeth Century (1820 - 1860). Attached is a page of mid-atlantic plants from that time period. The list includes trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, roses, vines and bulbs.Look at the suggested shrubs and learn more about them in Missouri Botanical Garden's Plantfinder database.

For example, Bottlebrush Buckeye

can take part to full shade.

These plants should get you started.  Hope this helps.

  • Last Updated May 29, 2019
  • Views 3
  • Answered By Janet Evans

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