Passionate garden designer Edmund Taylor shows you how to welcome warmer days with drifts of woodland flowers
Woodland flowers grow best if given some sun. Heavy shade permits little to grow, while dappled light is ideal. To improve
existing conditions, limb up mature trees and thin crowns if canopies are dense.
Begin with a soil test. Though these flowers will live in acid conditions, many thrive in nearly neutral soil with a pH range
of 6.5 to 7. These plants want loose, friable soil with good drainage (especially in winter). Add organic matter. Edmund layered
6 inches of composted leaves and wood chips several months before planting.
Crowns should be just below or right at the soil line. “More woodland plants are lost due to deep planting than any other
mistake,” says Edmund. In nature, wildflowers grow on top of the mineral soil in the duff of decayed leaves and twigs and
their roots spread out horizontally, not vertically. Finish by mulching. This insulates roots, conserves moisture, smothers
weeds, and looks nice too. Shredded bark, decayed leaves, and pine straw are good choices.
Edmund’s flowers have responded well to good fertilizer and water. Slow-release plant foods such as Osmocote and cottonseed
meal make a difference when flowers start self-seeding. Fertilizer is instrumental in stimulating young plant growth, shortening
the length of time prior to bloom.
Here are some great options for your woodland garden.
This elegant plant is a reliable bloomer. Don’t move it once it’s established. plantdelights.com
Easy to find, this common spring tuber produces spreading mats of color. Plant in fall. hollandbulbfarms.com
This iconic woodland flower has attractive, near evergreen leaves. Responds well to fertilizer and water. we-du.com
Enchanting flowers best viewed up close. Plant where they can be appreciated. Good cut flower. easywildflowers.com
This plant is early-emerging and fragrant. Edmund says that fertilizer and a soil pH of 6.5 encourage carpet-like coverage. swallowtailgardens.net
(Anemone nemorosa ‘Vestal’)
It’s rare but worth seeking out. arrowhead-alpines.com
(Dicentra ‘King of Hearts’)
Great plant for more experienced gardeners. Blooms for months. Pair with wild blue phlox. swallowtailgardens.net
Deer tolerant. Great for beginners. easywildflowers.com