Other Shade Perennials


These choice perennials all perform well in the same conditions as epimediums.


Asarum caudatum forma alba

Asarum caudatum f. alba

 A "white” flowered form of this lovely West Coast native ginger. It thrives in partial shade, and moist, humus-rich soil, forming attractive colonies of large, lustrous, dark green, heart-shaped leaves 4” tall. Curious, creamy green flowers, each with three long tails, appear at the base of the plant in spring. This form is not com­monly in cultivation and comes true from seed. Drought tolerant once established.     $10

Astilbe 'Cobblewood Cotton Candy'

Astilbe x ‘Cobblewood Cotton Candy’
***2008 Cobblewood™ Introduction***

Like a fuzzy plume of cotton candy from a county fair-- full, delicious medium salmon-pink flower heads rise to 10” tall, above a rosette of bold dark green foliage, 9” across. Mid-season bloom. $18

Astilbe 'Cobblewood Fireworks'

Astilbe ‘Cobblewood Fireworks’

***2008 Cobblewood Dwarf Astilbe Introduction***

Rich, ruby pink flower sprays form with open panicles, like exploding fireworks. Flower spikes rise 8-10” above deep green, lacy-edged leaves of good substance, that form a mass 5” tall × 9” wide. Earliest of the three dwarf varieties to bloom.  Not available in 2018.

Astilbe x 'Cobblewood Shooting Stars'

Astilbe x ‘Cobblewood Shooting Stars’
***2008 Cobblewood™ Introduction***

These truly unique miniature Astilbes emerge, with soft, reddish, moss-like foliage. In mid July,  it  produces a perfectly proportioned white flower plume, held above stiff, lustrous, jagged-edged rosette of dark green leaves. The large sprays of white flowers are open and airy to 10”. Leaves to 5". The latest of the three Cobblewood dwarfs to bloom. Not available 2018. 

Chloranthus japonicus

Chloranthus japonicus

Native to Japan and Korea. Easy to grow shade perennial with four corrugated leaves surrounding a white, bottle brush-like inflorescence. Bold, cup-shaped foliage lends interesting texture to the shade garden. Forms a small clump over time. 15” high.  $15

Cardamine trifolia "Japanese Cultivar"

Cardamine trifolia “Japanese Cultivar”

Beautiful, indestructible, 2-3” high, neat and tidy shade groundcover. Purchased in a Japanese garden shop by Barry Yinger with a name he could never find reference to. He believes it is a special selection. It is too nice of a garden plant to let that keep us from offering it.

Clouds of white cruciferous blooms hover 8-10” above the foliage on naked stems in mid-May. Deep evergreen trifoliate leaves with vel-vety purple undersides. Spreads by 2” herbaceous rhizomes. $15

Gentiana scabra

Gentiana scabra

An easy to grow, robust species for sun or partial shade (more shade where summers are hot). Tolerates a wide variety of soil conditions; blooms July-October. Native to northern Asia and Japan, this variable species sports erect, leafy erect stems 8 -15” high. Violet-blue, tubular upright facing flowers with 4 pointed corolla lobes. These plants are selected seedlings. $12

Gentiana x 'True Blue'

Gentiana x ‘True Blue’ (Plant Patent #20433)

***2008 Cobblewood Introduction***

Forms a well-branched, upright, robust column 24-36" high, by 12-18" wide, with lance-shaped leaves and 2” tubular caerulean blue flowers from midsummer-early fall. Best in part shade to full sun (in the north).

Plant in well-drained sandy loam/loamy soils with consistent moisture. A Darrell Probst hybrid. Propagation prohibited. $15

Geranium maculatum 'Cobblewood Ghost'

Geranium maculatum ‘Cobblewood Ghost’

This dainty woodland native bears pristine white 1.5” blooms for 6-7 weeks in May-early June. Native to the eastern U.S. and Canada. Grows best in part shade to full sun. If planted in full sun, the dark green palmate leaves turn brilliant scarlet in fall. 2’ high by 18” wide. Darrell found this clone (far superior to the more commonly offered ‘Hazel Gallagher’) growing wild in central Massachusetts.  $10

Iris cristata 'Doubly Stylish'

Iris cristata ‘Doubly Stylish’
***2010 Joe Pye Weed’s Garden Introduction***
Originated by good friends and avid Iris growers Barbara and David Schmeider of Concord, MA, this new “double flowered” cristata has six light blue-violet falls and six to nine pearly blue styles, and no stand-ards! A lovely double flower in traditional cristata colors with clean white signals, dark blue halos and yellow-orange crests tipped in white. A vigorous plant and heavy bloomer. (Photo courtesy of Jan Sacks) Not available in 2018.

Iris cristata 'Edgar Anderson'

Iris cristata  ‘Edgar Anderson’ 

Large flower form with periwinkle blue falls that darken below the diffused signal ring. Wide white signals bordered in a dark blue ring. 6.5” in bloom with two 2-1/4” flowers per stem. Outstanding vigor, good substance, spreads quickly. An early bloomer.  Not available in 2018..

Iris cristata 'Montrose White'

Iris cristata ‘Montrose White’

***2010 Joe Pye Weed's Garden Introduction***
A showy, strong-growing white form, originally from Nancy Goodwin at Montrose Nursery. Its large, nearly 3” diameter flowers are unique among the “albas”. Grows to 6” tall. (Photo courtesy of Jan Sacks) Not available in 2018.

Iris henryi (Several clones)

Collected by Darrell in N.E. Sichuan Province. Belongs to the same Chinensis section of the genus Iris as I. koreana and odaesanensis, but is very different. Best in bright shade/half-sun and in rock gardens, troughs and containers. Forms a 12” by 2’ clump of evergreen, grassy foliage 1/8” wide. In May 6” stems emerge, each bearing two 1”+ palest lavender Iris flowers with a small, yellow signal.  $18

Iris koreana

Iris koreana  

During his last stop in S. Korea in 1997, Darrell crawled up a nearly dry stream bed beneath dense scrub for this treasure. It produces glowing yellow 1-1/2” flowers, each with a narrow brown halo surrounding the signal. Flowers are held on 6” stems above the expanding leaves. Semi-evergreen to 12”. Best with 3-4 hours of sun here, it grows in bright shade and perhaps even full sun. Produces a substantial, grassy-leaved clump after several years. Not available in 2018.

Iris koreana 'Firefly Shuffle'

Iris koreana ‘Firefly Shuffle’  

***2010 Cobblewood Introduction***

A very floriferous clone of this Asian species iris, and a good grower. Mid May is heralded with the annual explosion of sunny, bright lemon yellow blossoms covering the plant. Great for the rock garden.  Best in bright shade or a few hours of direct sun, it forms a grassy-leaved clump that slowly spreads into a “patch”. Semi-evergreen.   Sold out for 2018.

Iris odaesanensis

Iris odaesanensis

Pristine white flowers with a yellow signal edged in a thin, brown halo. Two flowers, each nearly 2” in diameter, are borne atop 8” stems in late May. Semi-evergreen leaves expand after bloom to reach 12” long, 1/2” wide, forming dense clumps of arching foliage. Prefers a little more sun than Epimediums. $12

Iris odaesanensis Chuwangsan #3

Iris odaesanensis “Chuwangsan #3”

I. odaesanensis was previously known to exist only on the top of Odae-san (san = mountain). To the surprise of his Korean host from Chollipo Arboretum, Darrell found a few pockets of it growing on a wooded rocky ledge on Chuwangsan, 100 miles south of Odaesan. He collected three unique clones.

The flowers of this vigorous grower lack the typical brown halo surrounding the signal. It also seems to be less tasty to the local slugs. Semi-evergreen.  $12

Iris odaesanensis 'Ice Whisper'

Iris odaesanensis  ‘Ice Whisper’ 

***2014 Cobblewood Introduction***

A beautiful icy blue-lavender flowered variant of this normally white-flowered species iris. Darrell collected a pale lavender-flowered clone in the wild in Korea, and grew seed from that plant. This is his deeper lavender flowered selection from that seedling batch.  $22

Iris tectorum 'Slippery Slope'

Iris tectorum ‘Slippery Slope’  

***2010 Cobblewood Introduction***

Darrell has failed endless times growing the Japanese roof iris in our climate. The flower buds die over winter, starting a rot that eventually kills the plant. He collected this much hardier clone at a high elevation in the Dabashan region of southern Shaanxi Province, China. Here they were pulled up and over the icy mountain by a coal truck in Nov. 2000, hence the cultivar name.

As you can see, this clone thrives in half sun on an exposed stony ridge in my garden.  Best with sharp drainage in light shade/part sun. Large 4” violet blossoms emerge in late spring from 2’ × 2’ bright green foliage fans, giving a tropical appearance to an otherwise New England perennial garden. Spreads slowly by fleshy rhizomes to form a massive clump over time, so give it some elbow room!  $15

Jeffersonia dubia

Jeffersonia dubia

Blooms very early, before the Epimediums emerge, but fades quickly if the weather gets hot. Blossoms 1" in diameter are of the palest blue-lavender and are held above rounded, wavy-edged leaves. Plants bloom at 6”, each leaf expands to 4” diam. Forms a dense clump 12” tall. These plants are 3-year seedlings as Jeffersonia still defies division. (Photo by Jan Sacks) Not available in 2018.

Jeffersonia dubia "Dark Centers"

Jeffersonia dubia “Dark Centers”

This plant provides a pop of welcome early spring color as soon as the ground thaws. New leaflets emerge a rusty brown color to contrast with the periwinkle blue/lavender petals. A cranberry colored ovary and dark purple/black anthers add to its charm. Three year old seedlings from plants Darrell collected in the wild in Korea.  $22

Lathyrus vernus 'Albo-roseus'

Lathyrus vernus ‘Albo-roseus’

Another tough, long-lived perennial native to Europe for either full sun or partial shade. It tolerates many situations and is a good foliage plant throughout the season. Showy racemes of bi-colored pink and white pea-like flowers in earliest spring, on neat clumps to 18”. Leaves pinnately compound. Easy to grow and long-lived. (Photo by Jan Sacks)  Not available in 2018.

Lathyrus vernus 'Katrink Hull'

Blue-flowered Perennial Sweet Pea
***2011 Cobblewood

Selected as the best from a few “blue flowered” seedlings of the perennial sweet pea in the former garden of our late friend and accomplished rock gardener Katrink Hull. Flowers are an amazing caerulean blue mixed with shades of violet blue. Vigorous growing and free flowering.  Best in bright shade or a few hours of sunlight per day. Handsome green pinnate foliage (typical of the pea family) on a 12-15" high plant in summer/fall. Blooms along with the earliest Epimediums. $25

Polygonatum odoratum 'Carlisle'

Polygonatum odoratum ‘Carlisle’ 

A brilliantly variegated Japanese Solomon Seal with much wider white margins than are typical, and a slightly shorter stature-18-20”. The stems also have a slight red tint. Spreads slowly, making an excellent, showy groundcover. Great for brightening up dark spaces in the shade garden.   $15

Polygonatum omeiense

Polygonatum omeiense

A charming Asian Solomon’s Seal from Sichuan Province, China. This attractive, low groundcover features fat, greenish-white, capsule-shaped blossoms in pairs in mid-early June in Massachusetts. Its arching stems are speckled with purple-brown and hold the undulating leaflets, giving textural interest to the garden. 12 to 15” high. Spreading rhizomes grow 2-3” per year. $15

Primula kisoana forma alba

Primula kisoana f. alba 

 The white-flowered form of this spreading Japanese woodland primrose. Downy, scalloped light green foliage is very different from other Primulas. Great as a low ground cover planted at the base taller woodland plants.  Clusters of white flowers in mid-May. Prefers evenly moist, humus-rich soils.  4-6” high. Forms extensive, thick colonies over time.  $15

Sanguinaria canadensis 'Multiplex'

Double-flowered Bloodroot

Elegant double form of the native bloodroot. The full, white, multi-petaled flowers and glaucous foliage resembles a pool of waterlilies in the spring garden. Spreads by fleshy underground rhizomes to form large colonies over time. Best in light shade. This double-flowered form blooms for a considerably longer period than the more fleeting, fertile, single-flowered forms. (Photo by Jan Sacks, Joe Pye Weed's Garden)  $22

Sanguinaria canadensis 'Venus'

Sanguinaria canadensis  'Venus' formerly “Pink Form”   

In earliest spring, the buds of this native shade-loving Bloodroot variant emerge a deep pink. The showy wide-petaled flowers open light pink, and fade to shell pink. Dark pink stems on both leaves and flowers. The reverse sides of the petals remain a darker pink, repeatedly displaying their rich pink blush when they close each evening. Gradually spreads to form a large colony over time.  $25 

Sanguinaria canadensis 'Snow Cone'

***2016 Joe Pye Weed's Garden Introduction***

A long awaited superior form selected from Sanguinaria canadensis ‘Tennessee Form’ seedlings. Each clean, white flower has 18 to 25 petals, and is 3+ inches across.  Grows into a fabulous, dense, prolifically flowered clump. Blooms for a longer time than the fleeting native form.  5-5.5” tall in bloom, to 12”. It is fertile and produces seed. A true beacon of white in the early spring garden.  $30

Sanguinaria canadensis "Tennesee Form"

Sanguinaria canadensis  “Tennessee Form”  

Our native Bloodroot flowers sport a single row of eight petals, whereas this form from Tennessee has at least two rows for a total of sixteen. The flowers, some reaching 3-1/4” across, cover the foliage. The interior row of petals is slightly narrower and 1/4” shorter creating a showy semi-double flower. 5-6” tall in bloom with deeply incised leaves. To 12” (Photos by  Jan Sacks, Joe Pye Weed's Garden)  $15

Trillium grandiflorum "Trina's Wisconsin Clone"

Trillium grandiflorum “Trina’s Wisconsin Clone”
***2017 Cobblewood™ Introduction***

A native trillium that I have grown for years. I was encouraged by plantsman Mark McDonough to offer it for its full rounded flower form. This lime-loving species is easy to grow forming large, blowsy, floriferous clumps. One of the most coveted plants at my Open Nursery Days. Given to me by my gardening friend Trina Van Cura. She brought it with her when she moved from Wisconsin. Reaches 15 to 18”. $22

Trillium pusillum 'Roadrunner'

Trillium pusillum  ‘Roadrunner’

***2007 Joe Pye Weed's Garden Introduction***

Trilliums are notoriously slow to propagate. While this diminuitive species propagates faster than most, this clone grows particularly rapidly, making a substantial, floriferous clump in just a few years. New spring leaves emerge dark purple, almost black, and remain so as the 1-1/2” white, tri-petaled flowers open. Each petal has a rosy reverse. Foliage matures to green as the flowers blush to pink as they age.  Never fails to draw attention during our open nursery weekends. $15

Vancouveria hexandra

Vancouveria hexandra    (Several Cc.)

A west coast native, and also a later-blooming relative to Epimedium. This fine-textured, low-growing groundcover sports leaflets reminiscent of “duck’s feet” to 6” high, with flower stems to 15”. Blooms about a month later than do Epimediums, producing numerous small, pendulous white flowers, similar to those of Epimedium, but with six flower parts instead of four. Very drought tolerant and an excellent ground cover for deep shade. Spreads vigorously by underground rhizomes.  $12