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Woodland / Shade Garden Kit

Woodland / Shade Garden Kit

Garden kits are designed to make gardening goals easy. They can be used as a quick way to start gardening native without having to research all 100+ plants in our nursery. Kits come pre-arranged in the tray so you can plant them just as they are for an instant garden design, with tall plants in the back and short, showy plants in the front. Or, since each plant is labeled with plant name and height, you can arrange them to suit your space.


Our Woodland shade garden is a perfect choice for a full-shade or partially shaded garden, especially in richer forest loam with medium moisture. Full shade means no direct sun to up to about 3 hours of direct sun in midsummer. Part shade means less than 6 hours of sun per day. For a mix that is more tolerant of dry shade, try the Yooper Shade kit.


A typical kit will contain approximately the mix of plants below, but one way we keep the per-plant costs low on garden kits is by reserving the right to substitute plants based on our current inventory. A kit will contain 2 to 4 of each species. If you need specific plants for your garden goals, consider supplementing your garden kit with quarts or a plug flat of your favorite shade plant.

  • American Spikenard
  • Tall Bellflower
  • Giant Yellow Hyssop
  • Drooping Woodland Sedge, Bottlebrush Grass, or Longstalk Sedge
  • Bluestem or Zig-zag Goldenrod 
  • Calico Aster or Foxglove Beardtongue 
  • Columbine 
  • Indian Tobacco (Lobelia inflata)
  • Big Leaf Aster
  • Wild Blue Phlox or Jacobs Ladder
  • Golden Ragwort or Golden Alexander
  • Bishop’s Cap or Foam Flower
  • Wood Violet or Common Blue Violet


If substitutions are necessary, they may include Pearly Everlasting, Fireweed, Bottle Gentian, Canada Mayflower, Woodland Sunflower, Common Violet, Jack in the Pulpit, Northern Heartleaf Aster, White Turtlehead, New Jersey Tea, or Rock Harlequin. If you are looking for plants that spread enthusiastically, Spreading Dogbane and White Snakeroot will fit the bill.  All of these plants are recommended if you wish to expand your garden.


This economical kit includes 38 plugs that fill 38 square feet at 1-foot spacing - a 4'x9.5' bed; or up to 86 square feet at 1.5 sq. ft. spacing - a 6'x14' bed. If you need to buy two kits to fill your space, check out our "buy one, get the second identical kit for 25% off" deal.


Each kit comes with a planting guide and the plants are individually tagged for identification and all tags include height so you can alter the layout to suit your space.  Note that the picture is an example of our plants in a plug tray garden kit. We don't have pictures of this actual mix yet and it will differ from the picture.


Soft Landing Zones

This kit works well as a soft landing zone under large trees. Creating a soft landing zone means replacing thick mulch or lawn with native plants so insects and birds have usable habitat at ground level, and so insects who drop off trees to overwinter have someplace soft to land. Soft landing zones have many advantages: 

  • Reduction in mowing. Less lawn to mow means more free time, less gasoline used, and less emissions.
  • Change problem areas into pretty areas. Instead of struggling to maintain grass in shaded spots, native plants can add a parade of color and texture to the seasons.
  • Create habitat:
    • The native plants are habitat (food) for the insects that birds need to feed their young during the nesting season. Most birds are almost entirely insectivorous during the summer, and in most species, their young are entirely fed on caterpillars.* Caterpillars are usually evolved to eat specific native plants and can’t eat non-native plants like hostas. 
    • Pollinators are also evolved to use certain native plants. Not all nectar is created equal. Each plant produces a different blend of sugars, minerals, amino acids, and secondary metabolites.** To be healthy and successful, our native bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators need the native plants whose nectar they evolved to use. Replacing lawn, non-native landscaping, or mulch deserts with native plants makes a huge improvement on the amount of resources butterflies and their friends have available.
  • Create even more habitat!
    • Native plants under trees allow and encourage retention of leaf litter on site. The stems of the native plants hold the leaf litter in place, allowing the development of rich soil from decomposing leaves, increased water infiltration and storage, correction of compacted soils, and habitat for the understory insects that create vibrant ecosystems. Some birds, such as Brown Thrashers, are evolved specifically to hunt in leaf litter. Like fireflies? They spend 95% of their lives as larvae in leaf litter, hunting other insects. By planting native plants under trees and letting the leaf litter accumulate around them, you reduce yard work, get free mulch that improves the health of the soil for your trees, and create a home for fireflies. (This only works if you don’t use chemicals in your yard.)
    • The leaf litter also serves another purpose. Many of the moth and butterfly caterpillars that use native trees drop off to complete their life cycle or spend the winter in the leaf litter or the soft ground below. A mowed lawn under trees becomes a fatal trap when the caterpillars drop down, can’t penetrate the compacted soil, don’t have any leaf litter in which to hide, and end up getting eaten, raked, mulched, or blown away. Planting native plants under trees supports pollinators and birds at all levels of your garden.


* Professor Douglas Tallamy, 10/14/22 OSU webinar 

** Heather Holm, 10/28/22 OSU webinar

For additional information, check out the Soft Landings page for "Books by Heather Holm" at

    PriceFrom $129.00
    Excluding Sales Tax |
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