Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans) -- Heavy shade, blooms early with spikes of blue flowers, six to 10 inches tall, rich green foliage, tolerates poor soil, can spread into grass.
Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense) -- Part to heavy shade, blooms early with purplish/brown flowers beneath leaves, native to Cass County, grows six to 10 inches tall with heart-shaped leaves, needs rich organic slightly acidic soil.
Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis) -- Part shade, early white blooms turn into fall red berries, six inches tall, native to Cass County, creeping vine, likes slightly acidic rotted matter soil.
Creeping Phlox (Phlox Stolonifera) -- Heavy shade, blooms early with lilac, blue, pink or white flowers atop stems, 6 to 10 inches tall, needs well-drained evenly moist humus-rich soil.
Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum pedatum) -- Part to heavy shade, light green summer, golden in fall, 18 to 24 inches tall, fan shaped fronds on dark stems, good for borders, native to Cass County region, rich shaded leaf mold for soil.
Lady Fern (Athyrium Filix-femina) -- Light to part shade, yellow-green, 24 inches tall, deeply cut erect fronds, native to Cass County region, likes well-drained organic soil best, but thrives under variety of conditions.
Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum 'Pictum') -- (for warmer climates, but has grown in Beth Davies' garden for eight years), part to heavy shade (needs some bright light for best color), gray/green two-tone, 18 inches tall, slow to emerge in spring, moist humus rich well drained acidic soil.
Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia Struthiopteris -- var. pensylvanica) -- Part shade, bright green, 24 to 60 inches tall, native to Cass County region, narrow erect vase shaped clump around two-foot dark brown feathery spore-bearing fronds, will form large colonies, rich moist soil.
The bugleweed blooms with blue flowers early in the season.
Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis) -- Light shade, medium green, 6 to 18 inches tall, broadly triangular arching fronds, rather like a palm leaf, native to Cass County region, spreads vigorously, likes humus rich soil conditions.
Cinnamon Fern (Osmunda cinnamonea) -- Part shade, yellow-green, 18 to 36 inches tall, vase shaped, named for color of separately borne fertile fronds, moist to wet organic rich acidic soil.
Interrupted Fern (Osmunda claytoniana) -- Part to heavy shade, yellow-green, 30 to 48 inches tall, middle of sterile frond is interrupted by spore-bearing segment resembling clusters of brown grapes, native to Cass County region, tolerates various soils, but needs lots of moisture.
Royal Fern (Osmunda regalis) -- Part shade, light green, 30 to 48 inches tall, locust tree-like leaves on wiry upright stems, native to Minnesota, needs lots of moisture.
Blue Wood Aster (Aster cordifolius) -- Part to heavy shade, blue flowers bloom late, 18 inches tall, grows at edge of deciduous forests, self sows, attracts butterflies, native to Minnesota.
Smooth Aster (Aster Laevis) -- Light shade, pale blue one-inch flowers bloom late, 18 inches tall, native to Cass County region.
Large-leaved Aster (Aster macrophyllus) -- Part shade, pale blue to white one-inch flowers bloom late, 12 inches tall, dense mound of heart-shaped foliage close to ground, native to Cass County region.
Asiatic origin, have attractive divided leaves topped by airy plumes of flowers, need to be kept moist in loamy soil rich in organic matter.
'Fanal' (Astible arendsii) -- Light to part shade, mid-season blooming with red flowers, 24 inches tall.
'Peach Blossom' (Astible japonica) -- Light to part shade, pink flowers bloom early, sharp-toothed glossy leaves, 20 inches tall.
'Sprite' (Astible simplicifolia group) -- Light to part shade, pale pink flowers bloom late, bronze-tinged leaves, needs extra moisture, 18 inches tall.
Native to Japan and China, introduced to Western botanists in 1790, light to heavy shade, grow well in any good garden soil, preferring slightly acidic to neutral pH.
Albomarinata -- Bell-shaped whitish flowers with purple veins bloom late, 15 to 22 inches tall, wavy lance-shaped leaves 1 inch wide by four to five inches long.
Blue Cadet -- Lavender bell-shaped flowers bloom mid-season, 10 to 15 inches tall, small blue-green heart-shaped leaves.
Gold Standard -- Lavender flowers bloom mid-season, more than 22 inches tall, gold leaves with green border intensify with light.
Spreading member of mint family with square stems and oval mottled or striped leaves, do best in evenly moist soils that drain freely, light shade, early-blooming.
"Elizabeth De Hass" -- Violet flowers, 8 inches tall, medium green foliage with splashes of cream, yellow and gold and a white diamond center.
"Aureum" -- Lavender pink flowers, 6 inches tall, golden yellow foliage.
"Beacon Silver" -- Mauve pink flowers, 8 inches tall, greenish silver leaves with narrow jade green rim at edge.
More perennial flowers
Lady's Mantle (Achemilla Mollis) -- Light shade, blooms early with tiny chartreuse flowers above scalloped leaves, trapping water droplets, 24 inches tall, likes cool moist freely draining soil.
Columbine "Corbett" (Aquilegia canadensis) -- Part shade, blooms early with delicate yellow/red blooms atop leafy stems, 36 inches tall native to Cass County region, liked by hummingbirds, biennial (self-seeds where it wants, naturalizes), rich moist well-drained soil.
Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) -- Part to heavy shade, blooms early with green striped hooded flower, turns into red berry cluster late summer, 12 inches tall, native to Cass County region, likes dense deciduous woods, tolerates north exposures, takes time to establish, moist rich leaf mold soil.
Roger's Flower (Astilboides tabularis) -- Light to part shade, white nodding panicles of flowers in June, 60 inches tall, striking large rounded leaves with incisions along margins (recommended for zones warmer than here, but can be grown with protection).
Turtlehead (Chelone oblique) -- Light to part shade, deep pink/rose tubular flowers over bushy upright foliage in fall, 24 inches tall, likes moist fertile soil, not drought tolerant.
Black Snakeroot (Cimicifuga racemosa, var. cordifolia) -- Light to part shade, greenish white candle-like flower spikes up to two feet long mid-season, 60 inches tall, large shiny leaves, good vertical accent, free draining rich soil with lots of organic matter.
Common Bleeding Heat (Dicentra spectablis) -- Light to heavy shade, heart-shaped pink flowers dangling from arched stems early, delicate foliage, needs loose evenly moist organic soil.
Wild Cranesbill (Geranium maculatum) -- Part to heavy shade, blue-violet flowers, 12 inches tall, likes damp wooded areas, makes nice informal border, native to Cass County region.
Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis) -- Light shade, red flowers atop lace-like leaves bloom late, 18 to 24 inches tall, attracts hummingbirds, native to Minnesota, tolerates wet soil.
Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) -- Light to part shade, white anemone-like flowers tucked inside green umbrella-like foliage early, 17 inches tall, native to Minnesota, will form large colonies, moist humus soil.
"Bertram Anderson" (Pulmonaria longifolia), Light shade, early season pink flowers turning blue, 10 inches tall, heavily spotted long narrow silver foliage, needs moist soil humus-rich soil.
False Solomon's Seal (smiilacina racemosa) -- Light to part shade, plume-like cream-colored blossoms at tip of each stem bloom early, 36 inches tall, white berries turn red in fall, native to Cass County, moist well-drained soil.
Foam Flower "Running Tapestry" (Tiarella cordifolia) -- Light-part shade, white flowers bloom early, 8 to 12 inches tall, vigorous with deeply cut foliage, moist humus soil.
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