First, if you haven't heard about the Downy Mildew disease threatening the common Impatiens this year, click here for a brief update. That link also includes my favorite alternative to Impatiens for color in shady spots - Coleus.
Next, as promised, more favorites for color in the shade, starting with Gene Sumi's picks.
Above left is Browalia or Monkey Flower, which I admit I'd never heard of but wow, gotta try some. Fibrous or Wax Begonia, on the right, is a beloved houseplant as well as annual bedding plant for shade.
Another of Gene's picks is Sweet Alyssum, an annual that grows from seed or flats and self-seeds the next year. On the right in the photo above is a bit of Creeping Jenny, a colorful perennial groundcover for shade.
And in the photo above, who needs blossoms when the leaves are THAT COLORFUL, right? Sure there are some tiny red flowers in this border but what catches the eye are the leaves of Coleus, Persian Shield and along the sidewalk, the purple Sweet Potato Vine.
Time to Try Perennials?
This may be a good year to fill in more of your shade borders with perennials, so that as time passes, the empty spots that need filling in will be smaller and smaller. Especially if those annuals are spreaders.
The Primrose shown above is one of Gene's favorites, for its fabulous leaves and striped flower petals especially. Primroses bloom well until the gets really hot, then not so much.
And the most popular shade perennial among my gardening friends has got to be Heuchera or Coral Bells, which now come in an amazing variety of colors. In the photo above they're massed with some Astilbes, which is yet another great perennial for shade.
Finally, does anyone need to be reminded how colorful Hosta leaves are all season? I didn't think so.