Creating a woodland garden
04 June 2019 - by Lily Butcher

Creating a woodland garden

Summer has finally arrived and we couldn’t be more excited to get out in our gardens during the warm weather. We have a wide selection of plants at Urban Jungle that are just perfect for creating an enchanting woodland retreat for your outdoor space. Whether it’s dry-shade or damp-shade, we’ve got you covered.

woodland garden

Once planted you'll be amazed at how many appreciative species of wildlife will move in, and you can encourage them with plenty of bird feeders, and a wildlife friendly water feature. It’s also a great way to get kids involved in the magic of gardening, and thinking about the environment.

Top Tips for adding that woodland touch...

  • Wooden benches in hidden shady areas will be a perfect place to sit and soak up nature, with the birds singing, the hum of insects, the rustle of leaves, earthy smells and the lush forest fronds, and most importantly to admire all of your handiwork!
  • Natural wood accents- whether it’s wooden borders, a log wall or a fire pit surrounded by log seating. 
  • Add bursts of colour like periwinkle blues and vibrant yellows to break up the sea of green.
  • Create a living wall, just like the one we have at UJ Norfolk, they’re perfect for small gardens and areas where space is limited, and for covering unsightly walls and buildings with a layer of nature. 
  • Most importantly - Let it grow wild - don't be too tidy!

living wall urban jungle

The living wall at Urban Jungle Norfolk. 

Plants for Damp, Shady Areas

Zantedeschia ‘White giant’

Zantedeschia ‘White giant’

Giant by name and giant by nature this impressive beauty will definitely make the perfect centrepiece for a bed. Zantedeschia is semi evergreen and will flower during summer producing funnel shaped white flowers, emerging on long stems out of speckled foliage. They like a sunny aspect and are fine with poor draining soil like clay as they prefer to be on the moist side. White giants can grow up to an impressive 7 feet tall.

Ligularia ‘Leopard plant’ 

Ligularia ‘leopard plant’
Lingularia dentata

This herbaceous perennial is the perfect choice to add a pop of colour to your beds with bright flowers that make the perfect contrast to its black stems. Ligularias like a sunny aspect but also are happy in the moist, shady undergrowth. They will show their vibrant flowers in the summer months, then cut them back in the winter and mulch around the base to keep in that much-needed moisture. 



Rheums (Chinese Rhubarb) make for a spectacular feature in shady beds with their large spiky-lobed leaves, and brilliant pink flowers during the growing season. Once mature, it will take up quite a bit of room and make a big impact. These hardy perennials require full sun or partial shade and like a fertile soil moist soil. So choose an area with plenty of room to let them flourish.

Schefflera rhododendrifolia 'umbrella plant'

Schefflera rhododendrifolia ‘umbrella plant’

What more could you ask for when creating shade than adding in an umbrella plant, and a himalayan native may not sound like a typical woodland garden feature but it’s actually perfect! They love company so will be happy amongst lots of shrubs and smaller trees which will help keep in humidity. Schefflera rhododendrifolia can thrive in a full sun or partial shade position with moist well drained soil. They will require a sheltered position to protect them from frosty winds in the winter.  In late summer through to autumn umbrella plants will produce white flowers and black fruit and can reach a maximum height of 10 metres! 

Plants for Dry, Shady Areas

Epimedium grandiflorum 'Lilafee' (barrenwort)

Epimedium grandiflorum 'Lilafee'

Perfect for ground covering and filling in empty patches with glossy, green leaves which change to a shade of red come spring with distinctive and unusually-shaped purple flowers. Although these evergreen perennials like moisture they will do well in most types of soil, including ones on the sandier side. 

Dryopteris affinis ‘Pinderi’ 

Dryopteris affinis 'Pinderi'

Another fern which makes a classic accompaniment to any shady bed is a Dryopteris affinis fern, also known as the golden barrel fern, native to Britain. They have eye-catching shiny green fronds with a thicker density than most making them quite robust. Best to start growing in damper shade but once established will happily grow in dry, shady positions. They like fertile and well-draining soil with plenty of mulch to get all the nutrients they desire from the soil.



These distinctive perennials are a great way to add leafy colour to beds and once growing will spread nicely to help ward off those pesky weeds. Hostas come in many different shades from icy blue to variegated green/ yellow types and have differing leaf shapes too. Although dry shade isn’t the ideal spot for them they will happily grow there just make sure they have well-draining soil and some sun. We have many different types of Hostas in stock at both Nurseries, so many in fact we couldn’t pick just one as they are all so incredible! 

If you have any questions at all or require any more information or assistance in creating your woodland garden, please dont hesitate to get in touch with the Urban Jungle team HERE.
  Share Post   

View Comments Comments

Leave a Comment






Back to Top