We put a casual fence between the backyard and the woods. To keep the weeds from spreading into the area, I heavily planted spring flowering bulbs and Hosta. It was then heavily mulched. The idea is to have foliage so dense it will help with the weed issue.
In this heavily shaded area, it's difficult to have flowering plants - in addition to the juglone issue. It's the perfect spot for the perennial, Astilbe. Astilbes are also commonly called false spirea, feather flower, meadowsweet, and false goat’s beard.
This year, I have a full healthy Astilbe Chinesis "Delft Lace". This is an apricot/pinkish/lavender flowered plant. The foliage is maroon in the spring. Glory Be!
Feeling this was an all clear, last week, I planted a nice Astilbe japonica “Maggie Daley”. This plant has lavender/purple flowers over shiny dark green foliage and was from Red Barn Nursery, Sheffield IL.
Pushing my luck, I bought a package of six roots from a big box store. Three each of "America" (rich pink) and "Amethyst" (deep lavender). Yesterday we were graced by a nice steady rain. Perfect!
Astilbe flower stems are1-4 foot tall. The stems of flowers look like "flaming spikes." The flowers attract butterflies.
If you don't want to be tied to your Astilbe duties, plant in a spot where nature helps with these conditions. My slightly sloped site, shaded, years of decomposed leaves, near the water runoff at the low depth of our rolling hills ensures optimal conditions. During severe drought, it will still need to be watered on a regular basis.
Astilbe bloom starting in June for 6 - 8 weeks. Flower colors range from shades of peach, lime, white, pink, red and lavender. Leaf color and shape is varied. The flowers make a nice cut flower or dried flower. Astilbe is a native to North America.
(Top photo was the first summer for Delft Lace. Three remaining photos are from web examples of Delft Lace, Maggie Daley, and Amethyst.)