Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Smallest Shade Garden Ever

Many years ago I had an all shade garden, really more of a woodland garden, with Jack-in-the Pulpit, Lilly of the Valley, Bloodroot, Jacobs Ladder, tons of violets, Dutchman's Breeches, hosta, Virginia Bluebells, Forget-Me-Nots, Solemon's Seal, wild Phlox, and many more that I cannot even remember the common names.

In my previous home to the one I am in now, I had a more traditional shade garden, with the Hostas, Astilbe, Hellebores, Thalictrum, Rue Anemone, Ginger, Aruncus Diocus, Ligualaria, Trillium, Aquilegia Canadensis, Lobelia Cardinalis, various Hostas (one called Sum and Substance that would fill my present yard) and on and on, many more that I would have to spend time recalling.

It has been a long time since I have had any shade in which to plant.  However, now I have this small strip along the north side of my house.  It has been a delimma because there is a path down the middle and small planting areas on each side.  I have a grass called Carex Ice Fountains on one side all the way from the back to the front.  It will thrive in part shade and has a varigation in the grass leaf.  It is not totally carefree, requiring some controlling in this small area.  However, it is very attractive as a smaller grass (18") in this tight area.

On the other side of this small, long area I have my "Pop" hostas, Halcyon and August Moon interspersed with Bleeding Heart (Dicentra Spectabilis), Ostrich ferns, and Nepeta Subsessilis.  The Ostrich ferns and nepeta add some intermittent height to this long strip.  I usually interplant Caladiums for the summer.  As we move further back there are variegated Solemon's Seal, Astilbe Chineses Pumila, and Hosta Patriot.  On the ground is Pachysandra Green Sheen which glows in this environment.

I do put some annuals in this area, impatiens on the ground and more sun tolerant plantings in the baskets that hang on the fence. My Unique Hydrangeas are also part of this long planting strip. I realize by going back over my planting history in the shade how much I miss some of the plants that I no longer have the room to accomodate. We will revisit this area again in the spring.


Anonymous said...

Dear Eileen, You clearly have not in the past experienced any difficulty in selecting plants for shade nor, it would seem, do you now. The hostas in the photograph look to be in perfect condition but, as for the Carex 'Ice Fountains', well, it is positively lovely. I have also spotted the small image of Pachysandra 'Green Sheen'. It looks to be a splendid cultivar.

Hosta Nerd said...

Perhaps you could try some miniature plants. Like miniature hosta, astilbe, ajuga, perennial gerenium (Ballerina), conifers, and I even have a ligularia that is smaller (Little Rocket and Little Lantern).

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thank you so much for your suggestions. The hosts I have there are getting quite large, and I will be dividing them often. I did not know there was a Little Rocket as I had the larger one at a previous home. Again, thank you. I thought I was stuck with a limited number of shade plants now because of the restricted space.

leavesnbloom said...

Eileen - your little shady strip sounds lovely with the description of the plants you have in it just now. I had an area a bit like yours and I turned it into a Japanese Garden.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

The Japanese garden sounds lovely. I am going to work on puting in some smaller shade plants this spring.


Bernie said...

Well I rather like the look of your small shade garden ... just love the Carex and your Hostas and the colour provided by the Astilbe and Caladiums. I'll be looking forward to seeing photos as you develop this part of your garden further.