This charming combination is a spring-time delight in a shady garden. The delicate white flowers of sweet woodruff echo the white margins of the hosta while contrasting with its large bold leaves. Even when the sweet woodruff is out of bloom, interest is created by the contrast between the size and texture of the two plants’ foliage. In mid-summer the hosta adds pale lavender flowers on tall scapes to enhance the garden. Both plants grow well in part to part shade with moist, well-drained soil.
Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum)
Although delicate in appearance, sweet woodruff is an easy to grow perennial that quickly spreads into a mat-like ground cover. Also known as wild baby’s breath, its airy clusters of flowers create a soft romantic look. Equally delicate is its foliage consisting of whorls of thin bright green leaves. When crushed the leaves smell like freshly mowed hay and are used to flavor May wine. If sweet woodruff gets too frisky and moves into an area it is not wanted it can be mowed with a rotary mower on a high setting. In hot dry summers it may go dormant.
Bloom Time: Late Spring
Size: 6-12” H x 8-18” W
Hardiness: Zones 4-8
Hosta undulata ‘Albomarginata’
With wavy white margins this classic hosta provides a bright spot in a shade garden. The leaves are 6-8” long, 3” wide and have centers with two tones of green. They may lose their white margins in the heat of the summer but will return to their original look when they emerge early in the spring.
Bloom Time: Mid- summer
Size: 12” H x 16” W (flower scapes 36” H)
Hardiness: Zones 3-9