Many culinary and medicinal herbs thrive in partial or full shade.
Wild ginger (Asarum canadense; Zones 2-8) is native to the woodlands of North America. An attractive groundcover with heart-shaped leaves, wild ginger also can be used to flavor both sweet and savory dishes. To harvest wild ginger without destroying the perennial, dig about 2 inches into the soil between the plants. Snip off a few inches of the rhizomes, then pat down the soil. You can harvest in this fashion several times a year without decimating your beautiful patch of wild ginger.
Leda Meredith is a botanist, writer and instructor at the New York Botanical Garden and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, specializing in edible and medicinal plants. She is the author of Botany, Ballet, & Dinner from Scratch: A Memoir with Recipes (Heliotrope Books, 2008).
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