Native Shade plants


I am inToronto backing onto a ravine connected to the Don Valley.
I have clay soil with average moisture in shade.
I want to create a privacy/ sound barrier along the back of my yard as there is a path which a lot of people use to go down into the valley behind our property.
Which native shrubs would work for this.
I would prefer ones that will also attract, feed or shelter wildlife.


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.

Ravines are beautiful and often fragile ecosystems so planting native shrubs, trees, and wildflowers are among the best  choices available for attracting wildlife that’s essential to maintaining ecological balance.

You mention that you have a shady site, however you don’t mention if it is part shade ( 2-4 hrs of sunlight) or if your site is total shade. There are a number of native shrubs of various heights that grow in full sun to part shade and are tolerant of clay soil with average moisture.

Black   (Aronia melanocarpa): This shrub is noted for its spring clusters of white flowers, glossy elliptic to obovate dark green leaves and purple/red fall color.

ButtonbushCephalanthus occidentalis ): This shrub is noted for its white one-inch globe-like  flowers. This bush is well suited to wet soils as well as a nectar source for hummingbird moth.

Highbush Cranberry (Viburnum trilobum): this shrib produces clusters of whitish flowers inthe spring followed by red berries. In addition to food, the bushes also provide birds with shelter from the elements and hiding places from predators.

Nannyberry (Viburnum lentago): This is a large, upright, multistemmed shrub that grows 1-=18′ tall with a spread of 6-12′. it produces white flowers in the spring which  give way in autumn to blue-black, berries which often persist into winter and are quite attractive to birds and wildlife.

the following links may be of interest to you: Top 5 Native Flowers That Are Safe (And Beautiful ) For Toronto Ravines

How to Select and Buy Natives lists natives by preferred habitat along with listing sources for native plants