Good partial shade plants thrive in areas of the garden lightly shaded by trees and shrubs or beside walls and fences that cast shadow through part of the day.
The list below includes some of my favourite perennials and ferns for light to partial shade.
Don't, on any account, feel that these are somehow 'second best' to sun loving plants.
I think that they are all absolutely stunning...
... from the luminous starry faces of Anemone blanda, the delicacy of the Gillenia, right through to the rich texture of the ferns.
What's more, they are all, without exception, very easy to grow!
Reasons to grow: This cheerful little plant will quickly form a carpet of starry flowers to brighten up your garden in early spring. After flowering the whole plant becomes dormant and disappears allowing other, later flowering perennials and ferns to take centre stage. In its summer dormancy it will tolerate dry conditions and so is useful under deciduous trees.
Also consider: Many cultivars are available: 'White Splendour' has large white flowers; 'Ingramii' is a deep blue; 'Radar' has rich magenta flowers.
Reasons to grow: An invaluable late flowering partial shade plant with a long flowering season. Masses of glowing white flowers are borne above the divided mid-green leaves in late summer into mid autumn. Excellent for cut flowers.
Also consider: Many other Japanese anemones are available. Try Anemone hupehensis 'Hadspen Abundance' for deep pink flowers with paler margins.
Reasons to grow: A common woodland plant that is in danger of being taken for granted, the foxglove deserves a place in every garden. It is particularly useful for adding vertical accents to a shady garden with tall flowering spikes rising out of basal rosettes of leaves in early summer.
It will readily self seed and provides a lot of flower for very little effort! The flower colour varies from rich purple to purest white. A really excellent partial shade plant.
Also consider: Digitalis ferruginea for a shorter plant with rusty coloured flowers; Digitalis grandiflora for subtle, pale yellow flowers.
Reasons to grow: A handsome partial shade plant densely covered in divided, heart-shaped leaves that are tinted bronze red in spring. In summer the leaves turn to mid green before colouring up again in autumn. Pretty clusters of small red flowers with yellow spurs appear in spring.
Looks good planted in drifts in a partially shaded border.
Also consider: Epimedium x youngianum 'Niveum' bears snow white flowers; Epimedium x versicolor 'Sulphureum' has yellow flowers.
Reasons to grow: The elegant divided leaves of this cranesbill make dense groundcover and it is absolutely smothered in rich blue flowers from mid summer to autumn. It has a rather sprawling habit so looks best in informal or cottage style settings.
Also consider: Many of the other cranesbills are good plants for light or partial shade.
Reasons to grow: This is a real understated gem of a plant with a graceful, upright habit. It forms clumps of olive green foliage which turns red in autumn. In summer the most delicate pure white flowers are borne aloft on wiry red stems.
It is effective in a shady border or woodland planting. The cut flowers last well.
Reasons to grow: A gorgeous partial shade plant with exquisite, exotic looking flowers from late winter to spring, and handsome evergreen foliage. The seedheads persist for a long period.
Many cultivars are available in a range of colours from white, through yellows, pinks and purple. Many have attractively spotted petals.
They self seed very freely producing new hybrids which have different coloured flowers to the parent plants.
Also consider: Helleborus argutifolius, the Corsican Hellebore, for pale green flowers and handsome, toothed leaves.
Reasons to grow: Vigorous, sculptural clumps of heart-shaped light green leaves up to 20cm (9in) in length make this a choice partial shade plant. Slightly fragrant white flowers are borne on stems 90cm (3ft) tall in summer.
Also consider: There are many species and varieties available making these a great foliage plant for any garden. The range of colours and sizes is enormous.
Try 'Halcyon' for blue green foliage; 'Gold Standard' for golden leaves edged with green; H. fortunei 'Albomarginata' for green leaves edged with white.
Reasons to grow: A fascinating partial shade plant with exquisite grey green fronds with purple midribs - plant it at the edge of a shady border where it can be seen.
Reasons to grow: A really good foliage plant for a moist shady border forming clumps of upright or slightly arching fronds.
Reasons to grow: This is one of the stateliest and loveliest of the hardy ferns with elegant bright green fronds. Rust coloured fronds are produced in the centre of each clump in summer.
Also consider: O. r. 'Cristata' has crested fronds and is shorter, growing to about 1.2m (4ft).
Gardening in the shade gives an overview of the subject and an explanation of how to identify the different degrees of shade.Links to other 'plants for places' pages can be found at plant guides.