Monday, April 12, 2010

Metamorphosis In The Garden

Metamorphosis is not only something that occurs with caterpillars into butterflies, it occurs in the garden all the time.  I began with an all sun garden under my small Pagoda Dogwood tree tucked into the back corner of my yard.  It's leaf coverage was so small that I could grow Veronica Sunny Border Blue, Cone flowers and Phlox.

Well, over the last few years this lovely dogwood, even though damaged by the Cicadas a couple of years ago, has branched out considerably.  It is no longer a sun garden back there but has morphed into a shade garden.  I really did not want it to be a shade garden, but it spoke loudly as to what it would have growing under it's feet.  I finally gave in and moved the sun loving plants and began to redesign a whole new garden.

I planted Thunder Bolt Hosta, Autumn Fern, Ghost Fern and Maggie Daley (named after our mayor's wife) Astilbe last summer and fall.  I also transplanted a large Rhodie back there from the front of the house.  They have all survived beautifully so I guess it was a good move to go with the shade.

I don't know why I fought this change as I love shade plants and miss so many of them from my other homes.  I guess I am kind of gun shy because in my old old home I had nothing but shade, couldn't grow anything that required sun.  My tomatoes grew to ten feet tall without tomatoes!


Mr Brown Thumb said...

I think you'll appreciate that shady garden spot when the dog days of summer get here. As much as I like full-sun planting sometimes a cool spot with some moss growing underfoot is just what the doctor ordered.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

I agree, I just have to get used to it again. It has been a long time since I have had adequate shade to replant all of those lovlies that I gave up.


Sylvana said...

It's good to let a garden evolve, keeps things fresh; and it is just how nature would do it!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

I agree, it was speaking to me as the sun plants were not doing very well.


Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Eileen, with sun and shade you get to grow more plants girl LOL! Nasty Cicadas. I get so sick of the droning sound they make when you have so many for the seventeen year ones. Flying in your hair.We have a few years yet before they appear again.
I love Astilbe and Your Maggie Daley has wonderful full plumes on it. The color is so vibrant.A good choice. I have almost bought the Autumn Fern twice. I just wondered if it was a pretty out of the catalogs. Yours is so pretty.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Lona, the photos are from the web, but the Autumn Ferns never completely die down during the winter. The astilbe are up and the ferns are just starting to show life. I will take more photos when they are in their full glory,

I am excited to see a whole new type of garden coming up.


Anonymous said...

Dear Eileen, It is so very true that nothing stays the same for very long. And this is especially true of the garden where, of course, one is dealing with living things. The choices you have made for your new shade area are lovely, particularly the ferns which I feel add such dignity to any scheme. Whatever, to use modern parlance, you are right to "go with the flow".

Cottage Garden said...

It's good to see a garden develop and evolve - just how nature intended! I'm beginning to appreciate the shady area in my garden and intend to make more of it this year. It's so easy to get carried away with the sunny spots, having said that, the south-west facing area of my garden will be great for my veg and herbs (I hope!).
Your shady garden sounds wonderful Eileen and will be a welcome respite from the heat of summer I'm sure!


Gatsbys Gardens said...


Thank you for your comments. I do need a few other plants in this shade area. I will have to brush up on my shade plant knowledge.


Gatsbys Gardens said...


Life is full of changes, but I guess the garden is a pretty easy one tofix.


Dave@TheHomeGarden said...

More shade is one of those things I am very envious of! We have tons of sun space and have to cultivate the shade areas. As trees grow we get more and more shade but it all takes time!

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

For some reason I resisted shade gardening too, even though I have so much shade. I think I was used to seeing cottage gardens with all full sun flowers I didn't realize how pretty a shade garden could be. I planted 'Maggie Daley' last year, I had no idea who it was named after.

garden girl said...

Hi Eileen, We had our trees limbed up a few feet last fall since they were getting too close to the roof, and now there are areas directly under the tree canopy that are actually full sun. I'm thrilled. There are already sun-loving plants there since those areas did get a few hours of afternoon sun before, but even as the trees leaf out it still looks we've got a bona fide full-sun spot, and I'm expecting big things there this year.

Our garden is kind of a funky combination of woodland plants and sun-loving plants. It took some time studying the patterns of sun under the trees to figure out which spots were part sun and which were mostly shade, and now with the trees limbed up, I may have to study some more and move a few shade lovers that are suddenly getting a lot more sun. Such a dilemma! ;)

Gatsbys Gardens said...

I know garden girl, it really bothers me to have to disrupt a garden that I thought was a plan.

I know how you feel about getting full sun where it never happened before. I had an old old house where the sun never shined and I kept trying to grow sun plants!