The last couple of weeks I came down with year end 'garden fever' ;) and so for 'treatment' I proceeded to do some of the basic work starting a new corner garden by expropriating some backyard lawn. This quarter circle is about 130 square feet and experiences very much shade. As well future plants will have to contend with competition from neighbouring trees (see picture below).
And although I have never been bitten by the hosta bug I think with all this shade I feel I need to revisit this plant.
After lots of web browsing I am intrigued by what I have seen of the "Liberty" hosta. It looks like the hosta for non-hosta lovers? A very impressive plant.
And so to this end I was thinking of planting 3 equally spaced "Liberty" on the front border arc with some all season flowering plant in between. (I would have liked this to be a shade impatiens but I will force myself to not select this plant given my experience with "downy mildew" this past summer.)
In the very back corner I am thinking of putting a single Eleutherococcus [Acanthopanax] sieboldianus 'Variegatus' shrub.
After the front and very back accounted for I think there still would be room for something in between...maybe an arc of some "Ligularia"?
Of course I would love to hear your recommendations re plant possibilities and arrangement for this area.
There's nothing like starting with a clean slate. It'll be interesting to see which plants you decide to use and others recommend.
Depending on preference and whether or not you're looking for filler plants, Heucheras, Tiarellas, Astilbes, Dicentras, and Columbines come to mind, as well as native Ferns.
If you want to choke the weeds out, Ajuga is hard to beat for a ground cover.
How nice - I rarely get to 'plan' a planting - mine are more typically helter skelter.
With the root competition, will it be moist enough for ligularia?
I actually love hostas - but have lost most of mine due to our deer friends.
Acanthaponax won't be browsed of course due to it's thorniness,
which is a good reason to have it tucked in the back. Mine tend to be a little floppy,
but minimal pruning shapes them up readily.
I like cyclamen, corydalis, bloodroot for shady areas with tough root competition.
But all are seasonal bloomers, so won't give you season-long color.
I like focusing on foliage rather than bloom for shade. That's where hostas can help, of course.
I also like shady grasses, especially hakonechloa, for the textural element.
I hope you'll post pictures of whatever you decide on!
Weerobin wrote:- mine are more typically helter skelter.
I bet you that describes most of us "Weerobin"!
Weerobin wrote:I actually love hostas - but have lost most of mine due to our deer friends.
I don't have to worry about deer for this garden as the deer are on the other side of that chain link fence!
Weerobin wrote:Acanthaponax won't be browsed of course due to it's thorniness,
which is a good reason to have it tucked in the back. Mine tend to be a little floppy,
but minimal pruning shapes them up readily.
So you actually have a variegated 'acanthopanax'? How old? How large? Any pictures you could post?
Weerobin wrote:I like cyclamen, corydalis, bloodroot for shady areas with tough root competition.
Good idea about the 'corydalis' as Lutea will bloom almost all season. I can tuck a few in here and there amongst the organized arcs of plantings.
Weerobin wrote:I like focusing on foliage rather than bloom for shade. That's where hostas can help, of course.
I know one is supposed to feel that way about shady gardens but I do want "real" flowers and I don't want this to be a 'hosta garden'! But it may be the case that such colour may almost exclusively come from annuals.
Weerobin wrote:I also like shady grasses, especially hakonechloa, for the textural element.
Another good suggestion. I have several "All Gold" plants in other locations on our property.
I have a new, similarly shady bed at my house and filled it with:
Oakleaf hydrangeas (one Snowflake and two Snow Queen)
Epimedium x versicolor sulphurum
Fragaria vesca reugen
An early blooming red peony (Burma Joy - and yes, it bloomed!)
Athyrium nipponicum Pictum
Athyrium nipponicum Ursula's Red
Athyrium Branford Beauty
Athyrium Branford Rambler
I preserved a pure white aguilegia and a dicentra that were already present.
The pokeweed was a surprise!
It's all quite new, but I think the pics help. I moved in last December so these images from May 2012 show pretty much what is there.
I moved hardy geraniums from another part of the garden
Here's sections of my shade garden.
Filed with Dicentra Formosa, Hostas, Dicentra Spectabilis, Dicentra Luxuriant, Sweet Woodrift, Vinca, Lamium. Dicentra Valentine, Dicentra Alba, Ferns, Lily of the Valley, Snow on the Mountain, 4 leafed clovers etc.
I don't just have one, I have 3 ... I have no idea why. Probably 10yr old.
I didn't have any pictures of acanthopanax - frankly, usually means it's not one of my faves.
So I went out and took some this afternoon - a little bedraggled due to the time of year.
First picture doesn't show up well, but it shows the sprawl of the plant - it layers.
2nd & 3rd pictures are closer shots of the foliage.
4th shows the annoying (and painful) thorns. Ouch!
It's not the showiest plant, but serves a purpose by being vigorous and easy in shade.
No flowers, no fall color... Maybe a viburnum would be better, if not super deep shade?
I've grown oak leaf hydrangeas in a variety of settings.
Mine have always languished in shade, even in an open woodland setting.
I think they need at least some sun to thrive.
Tardive hydrangeas have performed better for me in open shade.
My transplanted Snowflake bloomed. My Snow Queens were newly installed. I had to heavily water Snowflake in full sun. I read that it should be put in partial to full shade. That's why I put it there, and that's where it is in the picture.
It is a very popular understory plant. Mine is under very large maples from a neighbor's yard. I do water them. I had Snow Queen at home and did not water them, and they failed. I don't think you can put them out there and let the, dry out. My Snow Queens here are in mostly shade. I installed them in April and they have doubled in size. The other plants in the area are ferns, hardy geraniums, and a dicentra.
What can I tell you? I can only relate my own experiences. I do think you get better fall color in sun.
I have a suggestion. Telephone or email Plant And Gnome:
I've been growing lilies for years, and mistaken;y thought that only martagons bloomed in the shade. Then I moved to a garden with a lot of shade and didn't know what to do, until I read a thread about orienpets blooming in shade. I thought, what's an orienpet but a trumpet and an oriental, so I started trying it. I then discovered that some of them actually stay in bloom longer, and stay truer in color, in the shade. So far Silk Road, Anastasia, White Henryi (in a quite dark spot), and regale have done really well. So I was able to take some of those locations and put less tolerant perennials there. Really cool.
I fight off lily loving rabbits with very small daffodils nearby. The rabbits know them to be poisonous, and I utilize small daffs so I don't have big strapping foliage everywhere.
I too have had success with oriental lilies blooming in the shade. Ever since I discovered that they weren't just for sun, I've been adding a few each year to my woodland garden. I love that they add color in late summer.
From what I have read, from the comments above, and from what I have seen, Trumpets and Orienpets are a lock. I also had a friend with a Casa Blanca lily in almost complete shade that bloomed but needed to be staked. I was willing to experiment because if a lily is languishing in shade you need only dig it up and move it - assuming you have some sun to move it to! I moved some from my old house in high heat from sunny locations because they were getting no water and they were not going to bloom. I would literally dig up the clump, put it in the trunk of my car (cooler than the seat in 80 plus degree weather) and then put it in the ground with plenty of water at the new house in shade.
I think that no lily is immune from the lily beetle. We do not have them in the Midwest, at least not yet. The japanese beetle is enough of a scourge. I grow lilies here in isolation - I have not seen them in yards within five miles of my house (I'm a runner) and there were almost none in my old community. I think that the complete lack of interest in the host plants for the beetle here protect me. I also am very careful about the source of my lilies. My most recent gifts were from Alaska. Other than that, I stick with the reliable vendors.
Please see these pictures. Three years ago a kitty friend of mine passed away and the owner asked if I would put a lily at the site. It is in complete shade on the north side of the yard under a tree. It is White Henryi and it not only bloomed with no fertilizer or extra water for the last three years, but the color was beautiful. It did need to be staked, but here is one of the stems this past July.
And here it is in May of this year, coming up surrounded by the usual annoying creeping Charlies, wild strawberries and maple plants! What a lily!
I have about 10 different varieties, including Casa Blanca. Have not had problems with lily beetle yet. First picture is 'Casa Blanca' blooming in the wake of hurricane storm damage in July. Second picture is an asiatic lily 'Satin Slippers'. Looking at my inventory, I have martagon, oriental, and asiatic lilies - all are doing well in the shade. I saw orienpets for the first time this summer in a friend's garden. They have huge blossoms - beautiful.
On Saturday I added almost another cubic yard of 'garden soil' (which will make about 2.5 cubic yards of such soil in total + many bags of shredded leaves and garden clipplings just beneath the surface) and then I added rough stone edging to finish off the bones of the space (see updated picture). I now have about 150 square feet virgin shade garden to plant in starting this coming spring. Keep the ideas coming!
I was reading back through your threads and realized that, like me, you want some color. For me, it was red. So I put in Burma Joy before, added two Burma Sunset, coral bells that bloomed in red, and the very shade tolerant, very red Charles de Mills rose. You don't need much.
Or pink? How about hydrangea macrophylla - a reblooming one? In my soil the flowers were pink.
That way you don't have to rely only on annuals for color.
And another suggestion. Cardinal Flower - red lobelia. I was delighted to find them in the yard, started by the previous owner, and making it through the creeping Charlie!"
Rouge, I've had a thought (ouch!); what about Hellebores? While many say "light shade", many of those actually do really well in full shade, and of course the ones like Double Queen and Brushstrokes will do well in full shade. They'll give you late or early blooming, depending on how ya look at the time of year. ;)
Also, how much do you have your heart set on the Acanthopanax all the way in the back of the bed? I was wondering how you'd like a Schipp Laurel back there? I've got a few out in my front yard in full sun, and we've got several along the back porch at work in FULL shade, and they seem to thrive equally well in both conditions. They're a really rich deep lustrous green and get a gorgeous smothering of little white blooms in the Spring which attracts bees galore, something that I love.
Anyway, just a couple ideas that popped into my head as I was reading the thread here. Hope you're having fun with your new area! =)
speedlebean I do appreciate your input. I do not have my heart set on 'Acanthopanx'. From the description it seemed like it was made for that back corner i.e. manageably large, interesting foliage and able to thrive in dry deep shade. I will check out 'Schipp Laurel' but given your hardiness zone I am thinking it won't be hardy to my zone 5b.
I am surprised to say this but I have not one 'Hellebore' on my property. For no real good reason I can think of I have resisted these plants. But maybe now is the time to consider them for this new garden. I really do not know much about 'Hellebores' except being early bloomers and able to take (lots of) shade. I will need some help in selecting the 'best and brightest' ;).
Speedie, we are on the same page with the hellebores suggestion. I just got back on-line to check DG and was thinking that I would come to this thread and recommend hellebores - voila, you read my mind (or I was reading yours LOL). Rouge, I planted my first five helebores three years ago. They have done so well in every way, that I just purchased about 30 more at a fall plant sale from Judy Tyler of Pine Knot Farms. You said you don't have a deer problem, so the fact that they completely leave hellebores alone is much more of a plus for me than it would be for you. However, the other wonderful things about them are that they are very low maintenance, are evergreen, and bloom in late winter. It is easy to find shade lovers that bloom in the spring, but it is more challenging to get color in winter and late summer/fall.
Pine Knot Farms is one of the best known helebores suppliers in the United States, and Judy Tyler has co-authored a very informative book that won an AHS award. As a side note, Judy is a very sweet lady and although I am a complete novice on hellebores, she spent about 20 minutes chit chatting with me at the plant sale. If you want to check out a hellebores catalog to see the many different kinds that are available in the market, check out their web site http://www.pineknotfarms.com/
I was reading back through your threads and realized that, like me, you want some color.
You know me Donna and you are definitely an enabler having convinced me to drive 50 minutes each way to pick up a "Balloon flower" in late August for my garden!
My wish is that much of this colour come from true flowers rather than from foliage. I don't want this new plot to be a "hosta, heuchera garden".
Burma Joy before, Burma Sunset, Charles de Mills rose. You don't need much.
I am embarrassed to say that I don't know what species BJ and BS ;) are part of...can you enlighten me? And I think you are right also in that it wouldn't take many plants that flower reliably in the shade to give the impression of lots of colour provided they are surrounded by certain interesting foliage plants.
DonnaMack wrote:Or pink? How about hydrangea macrophylla - a reblooming one? In my soil the flowers were pink.
I am still pondering your interesting suggestion of Oakleaf hydrangeas for the back corner (instead of my reliable but boring Eleutherococcus [Acanthopanax] sieboldianus 'Variegatus').
DonnaMack wrote:That way you don't have to rely only on annuals for color.
It may be the case for a year or two that I will need to rely on annuals for colour...until the other plants take hold and fill in the space.
DonnaMack wrote:And another suggestion. Cardinal Flower - red lobelia. "
Thanks for the reminder as this is a plant I have always wanted to try but have never got around to using it. Thanks.
Rouge, I totally understand your desire for "interesting foliage" for that back shrub, and the desire for the Acanthopanax for that very reason. I, too, am really a "foliage person", most of what I buy and plant are for the foliage. (not everything, mind you; hence the Pink Mums! heeheeheee), but for the most part, yeah, it's all about the foliage. That's why I got those laurels. I'm pretty darned sure they are hardy from zones 4-9, and I'd nearly bet my beloved TRUCK that they are most certainly hardy for your 5b.
I also was not, in the beginning, NOT "a Hosta Person"... until I got my first ones last year. Oh dear, now I'm hooked. The wonderful enablers here at DG have hooked me up with some FABULOUS ones this past September at Sally's at the plant swap, and they are now happily snuggled into their homes out back, ready for winter... can't WAIT to see them burst forth next Spring. Like you, I really like the Liberty, and I'm also really hooked on the Patriots. (yes, I've got one of those now, whee!!) You might consider, if you've got the space for a "specimen" Hosta, a Patriot as well, they are gorgeous!!
Another interesting note, as I was talking about my Mums earlier.. I've got 2 rows of them; one on either side of my front porch. One side gets FULL afternoon sun (from about 11:30 'til dusk), the other side gets FULL FULL SHADE, never sees a wink of sunlight EVER. That row of Mums are thriving just as fat-and-happily as the full-sun side are, and I can't explain why or how. So, an idea for you... start checking out your local small nursery/garden centers and see what sorts of sales they've got for their old and tired mums... end-of-season sales. They may look yucky now, but that's ok; you should get a GREAT price for some wonderful Fall colour next year. I'd be willing to bet they'd thrive in your happy soil there, even in all that shade.
Let's see... some other ideas... Virginia Bluebells, Brunnera, (gorgeous blue blooms), Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis), ... those are truly a 'woodland' flower, so should do well around and amongst the tree roots you've mentioned... How about a fern or 2 for foliage contrast and texture? I think someone already mentioned Dicentra (bleeding hearts)? Those are lovely too, as are Columbines... all of these ideas are hardy in your zone, by the way. :)
May I just say, thank you for letting us all chime in with our ideas for your plan. Whatever you end up deciding to do, I'm sure it will be wonderful and can't WAIT to see pictures as it progresses along! What fun!!! =)
Forgive me, Rogue. Sometimes I get carried away and don't think.
Burma Joy is a red single peony. Early blooming red single peonies will bloom in the shade. The pic I showed you of the Snowflake is at NOON. I get very little sun in the part of my yard where they are. I have a towering oak and a towering maple. The light is dappled at best. This is as intense as the light gets. It's darker the rest of the time. The peony Burma Joy is in the upper left corner of pic 1). I was growing it under a huge crabapple at home. (pic 2). It bloomed anyway.
So I brought it to this darker location and got this (pic 3). So I ordered two more similar peonies to add color.
Gallica roses bloom only once, but in shade and for 6-8 weeks. Charles de Mills is one such rose. Here's Chuckie:
There is a white columbine in my yard that I just love. You have to tolerate the leaf miners but I love this guy. I also have a dicentra. The only thought is that it, like virginia bluebells, go completely dormant and disappear. So not only will you have a hole but you have to make sure you don't dig there.
But DO be careful of lily of the valley. The previous owner had them and they took over, killing everything in their path. I have removed at least 500.
And I have a bunch of ferns. They are quite wonderful. Athyrium nipponicum Ursulas Red in pic 4. It's there all season.
Under the shade of a big crabapple at my old house are the shade plants the crabapple protected from the sun, which are now even happier in my new yard. The heuchera in pic 5 is the heuchera in my new yard in pic 1.
And I thank you too Donna, for mentioning that about the Lily of the Valley, I didn't realize they can be so thuggish... I have to be honest, I was just picturing the "shady tables" at work and sharing what all I could remember, I've not grown LotV myself.
Your Heuchera in pic 5 is beautiful!!
SP, I planted "Valentine" this past June or July and had to move it at least once :( so it wasnt happy all summer. I am hoping it arises from its dormancy next spring and I am hoping for great things from this plant. I have a several year old Dicentra spectabilis (Bleeding Heart) which is wonderful but is the only difference between it and "Valentine" the colour of the flowers ie more true red from "Valentine" (as compared to pink for 'spectabilis'?).
I kept buying heucheras years ago. They would last a year or two. I loved a couple with red flowers - Monet, with its variegated foliage, and Cherries Jubilee. But they got more and more expensive. Replacing CJ when it was $7.99 I could do, but when it went up to $13.99 I threw up my hands and quit. Then I saw Firefly. I ordered three from Bluestone. Two of the three did well. I divided one of them and it was fine. And if you cut back the flowers, they rebloom.
But I wanted about ten. I started, according to my records, 16 seeds and ended up with four plants. But what plants! So much tougher and stronger than the ones I bought! I have since divided a couple of them. They are essentially evergreen. And unlike the ones I purchased they don't heave. They are fragrant! I have seven now. Since they are $8.95 each at Bluestone, I am pretty happy.
speediebean wrote:Brunnera, (gorgeous blue blooms),
Those are lovely too, as are Columbines... all of these ideas are hardy in your zone, by the way. :)
I have both "Brunnera" (Jack Frost and Kings Ransom...JF is way better than KR in my opinion). It is with this plant that I started to understand the value of foliage.
In the summer of 2011 I planted 5 "Brunnera" forgetting that I had put them in locations that are covered with "Forget Me Not" flowers in the spring. So of course you can imagine that these "Brunnera" basically bloom for nothing each spring as the flowers are identical to FMN...embarrassing!
I have included below a picture of my favourite columbine that I snapped late last May. I think it is called 'Origami Blue & White'. It is in a very shady location just on the other side of the fence behind that new corner garden.
Another wonderful shade plant I have...again located not far from this new garden is a the Tiarella 'Sugar and Spice'. Here is a picture of one of mine from this past spring.
speediebean wrote:May I just say, thank you for letting us all chime in with our ideas for your plan.
"speediebean" I don't even know you and yet from the above comment I am just betting you are a wonderful person.
Aaawww geee willikers guys, you're making me blush! Thank you, but it takes one to know one! < =P heeheeheee
(straighten up those halos Ladies!) =)
Rouge, Oooooooh, you shoulda heard me when I enlarged the pics of your Columbine and Tiarella, LOL!!! LOUD groans of appreciation, along with "Ooooh's" and "Aaaaaah's" and "Ooooh I LOOOVE these!!!" Haahahaahaaa I suddenly stopped 'cause I realized I was talking out loud to myself. =) Oh me oh my, now I really can't wait to see that corner bed start to shape up!!
Hmmmmm... Forget Me Nots, don't they tend to be a bit of a lighter blue? I wonder how some Plumbago would look mixed in there? Mine are done blooming now, but they're getting some really pretty reddish foliage on them at the moment ... that deeper blue might be a nice combo with FMN's, no? Or do I need to put the crack pipe down now? ;)
Oooh! Just remembered something... remember that area I was talking about on the side of my porch that gets NO sun ever? Well, near and around there, where the Petunias are (they grow out beyond the reaches of the porch and get LOTS of sunlight)... back around behind the Petunias and around the Mums, I was at a loss this past Spring as to what to use to fill in the bare spots... and I'd had about enough Petunias and Million bells, so I got a couple packets of Alyssum (Lobularia maritima) "Carpet of Snow", sprinkled them liberally all around on the soil around there, watered 'em in and prayed for the best. WOW they came up THICK, even in the totally shade area. It's been rather nice stepping out the front door and wondering "What's that sweet smell?" only to remember it's the Alyssum. =) So, if you get tired of blues, that's another idea to consider, for a bit of white here and there to give a little brightening to your corner. Maybe just a tiny patch or 2?
I must agree with you Ladies, Daves Garden is really full of THE most wonderful people I have ever met in my life, and I am thankful to God every single day for this little taste of Heaven right here on earth.
speediebean wrote:when I enlarged the pics of your Columbine and Tiarella, LOL!!! LOUD groans of appreciation, along with "Ooooh's" and "Aaaaaah's" and "Ooooh I LOOOVE these!!!" Oh me oh my, now I really can't wait to see that corner bed start to shape up!!
I don't like to toot my own horn but I so agree with you "speediebean" ;) i.e. these two plants are outstanding and do just fine in pretty heavy shade . And I would have no problem using them in this new bed except I have these same plants in the backyard within viewing distance of this new garden. So it is like the older gardens have 'dibbs' on them...do you know what I mean? I am way too often guilty of using the same plant in different gardens on my property because I get them 'on my brain' for at least one season. I always need to make the concious effort to expand my plant horizons!
speediebean wrote:Forget Me Nots, don't they tend to be a bit of a lighter blue?
Maybe so but it is too close to call and if you saw my backyard garden in the spring it is a mass of FMN and all these flowers drown out any slight differences in the flowers of the 'Brunnera'. But I don't really mind as I do like the foliage of JF.
speediebean wrote:Oooh! Just remembered something... remember that area I was talking about on the side of my porch that gets NO sun ever?
so I got a couple packets of Alyssum (Lobularia maritima) "Carpet of Snow", sprinkled them liberally all around on the soil around there, watered 'em in and prayed for the best. WOW they came up THICK, even in the totally shade area. It's been rather nice stepping out the front door and wondering "What's that sweet smell?" only to remember it's the Alyssum. =)
So lucky you ie sun plants thriving in shade! There must be some fairy/elf magic at work.
I love "alyssum". It is basically the only plant still with viable flowers in my zone 5 climate even after several frosts. Although it is an annual, the patch I have reliably self-seeds each year and comes back just fine every spring. Can I assume that alyssum in your zone 7 is a perennial?
These particular Alyssum are (expected to be) annuals in my zone, but I don't know what they'll do next year 'cause this was the first year I grew them. We'll just have to wait and see, but I sure hope they self-sow 'cause they smell so nice! There's really no Elfin magic, but I think it might be ... a few years ago when I first started to expand that bed I noticed the area near the porch needed to be built up and I didn't want to buy soil.. so I mulched up all my leaves and put those and the mown grass there one Fall to build it up... I guess the plants must like that I'm cheap. =) This Fall, once everything there gets cut back, I think I'll use my blower/vac as a vac again, mulch up some more leaves and dump 'em there again right on top of everything, just in that one area, for a little more building-up and a bit more of an amendment since it's still a bit too clay-ee for my liking.
But anyway, for a buck or $2, I think it is worth giving a little Allysum a try in a bit of shade. =) And Rouge, yours still looks Great!!
DonnaMack wrote: I had to heavily water Snowflake in full sun. I read that it should be put in partial to full shade. That's why I put it there, and that's where it is in the picture.
What can I tell you? I can only relate my own experiences. I do think you get better fall color in sun.
Fall, shmall, I don't need anymore colour at that time of the year!
Okay, you have swayed me Donna (and by extension I have ignored "weerobin's" experience). After much web browsing the past week I am now at the place where if I were to plant *tomorrow* it would be a "Snowflake" in that back corner!
I am sorry to sound like a broken record but given all the shade this area has to contend with I don't think I have the luxury of making plant selections based on season. One of the conditions I am trying to abide by is that plants that I choose should not currently be in other gardens on my property. Given these restrictions I will be happy to get colour from flowers at anytime in the year!
In the middle of the page is a notation: "see comments".
Click on it and you will get the reviews on this plant.
It looks rather negative. The one person who wrote usable comments states that his rarely flowers, gets aphids, and it never gets any fruit.
If I could make a comment. It is rarely good to buy any of the new plants. You end up paying a premium price for things that are not really proven. I get most of my "Proven Winners": plants through Raulston Arboretum after they have been vetted by someone not in the trade. Monrovia comes out with a bunch of great looking plants every year. They end up in expensive catalogs, at high prices, and some of them do not perform. I think I'd steer clear.
I'm don't think I'd get it based on the comments. There are six comments: two of them simply identify it, but don't own it, and two of them say it gets rust. Surely there are plants with a better track record.
Hi all, I've been following your thread for a while, but didn't have much to add, as I'm still learning more and more about shade gardening. Weerobin, Will the mentioned bottlebrush buckeye tolerate moderate shade? Like under canopy shade of other larger trees? DH and I have cleared out our side yard which is quite shady by large trees in the area, I recently found a couple of the mentioned buckeyes and don't quite know how to place them. Thank you rouge21 for letting me squeeze in on the discussion of the shade garden. Hi Donna. Waving at everyone.
Hey, did I mention maybe a container or 2 of Creeping Jenny strategically placed somewhere? Sometimes a nicely placed container in an otherwise non-container garden area makes a nice focal point, and Creeping Jenny is such a bright pretty green, it livens up any deeply shaded area, but you'd probably want to keep it contained 'cause that stuff really spreads! Maybe you could keep the container(s) for those mood-changing times, when you want a bit of inexpensive change, say, from Spring/Summer Impatiens to Fall Pansies or whatever, and keep the Jenny around the perimeter (with the blooms filling the middle), so it can trail down a bit.
I wonder now... how an old birdbath would work for a strictly CJ 'bed'? Stab just a couple holes in the bottom for drainage, fill with a container planting mix,... would it be too shallow for Jenny? What a cool visual that would be, huh? Or maybe a Blue Star Creeper (Isotoma Fluviatilis)... Rouge, does your area tend to get very hot in the summer? If so, then all that shade would work well for it!
OK, sorry, the imagination is just running away with me this morning! < =D
If I could pipe in - I see lots of bottlebrush buckeyes in full sun and they look very unhappy. It's a heavily promoted plant in the midwest, and when well grown can be wonderful, but I see nothing but really awful, burnt ones. My conservation community had a bunch of them next to a gazebo in direct sun. How they suffered. And I got to watch, because the gazebo was close to my house.
I think that Wee, as usual, is right. It could be neat as an understory tree, if you have room. And his look like the perfect ones that you see in articles, because he has them in the right situation.
Hiya speedybean, a cool suggestion on the creeping jenny for the area. Thanks Wee, Rouge21 and Donna for your comments. The area that we're working on is quite spacous, DH has springler system and sprayer head along the fence but hasn't connected them to the pump. The final work will be done during his Christmas vacation this year. But now I can go ahead and plant my shrubs to give them time to get root establishment over the winter. I'm so glad to learn of the information y'all generously shared. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Second pix is the other side of the fenced in area, which is pretty much like the area that rouge21 has. There last summer we put in soil admendment and planted a few shrubs, but I think I'll add some lilliums?
3rd pix is some type of mahonia I think. I garden for wild life, hope the little critters in the garden will find those fruits nutritious over the winter ahead (but hoping they'll leave my bulbs alone).
I really like Mahonia, have been wondering for a few years now where I might put one or 3. :) You've really got some nice space to work with also, Kim, sweet!!
I see a lot of people doing the same thing with Dogwoods (that y'all have seen done with bottlebrush), stick 'em out in direct blazing hot sun then wonder why they die in a year or so. Poor innocent trees!! Any time anyone comes in to work asking about Dogwoods, my first question to them is always "Please describe the area to me where you want to install it; What sort of sunlight do you get in that area?" 9 times out of 10 it's direct sun; it's amazing how they just don't seem to realize what they do and where they grow in nature.
I remember seeing LOTS of Bottlebrush growing up in So Cal where I was born, and the best looking ones were always stashed away around the underneaths of big ol' Eucalyptus trees. Yeah, it gets hot and dry there, but tuck 'em away and they're ok.
So Rouge and Kim, are you two drawing up your ideas as they are collecting in your heads? I like to do that, it helps to get a good visual.. and I need all the help I can get. ;)
I agree with you, Speedy, about dogwoods favoring understory situation.
I've got all mine in part shade.
But I've got to say I've seen some of the most spectacular flowering displays on dogwoods in full blazing sun.
But the problem is, the rest of the year they look awful. Curled leaves burnt to a crisp.
But for 2 wks in April, they look so good you can almost forgive how ragged they look the rest of the year.
Flowering dogwoods are rare here. I have seen ONE. It is in an older neighborhood (actually, it's next door) has been there 30 years and is on a street with lots of mature trees. When I go to garden centers, they are not even sold here. The substitute here is flowering cherries, which do beautifully (especially yoshino) and crabapples (essentially, the dogwood of my area of the Midwest).
speediebean, Mahonia, various kinds stay 'evergreen' in our mild climate. Something that provides 'green' in all seasons is favorable with DH here. As far ...drawing up ideas... yes, I'm. DH goes a step further, he's collecting grass clippings, and chopped up fallen leaves to create compost for future planting. Wee wrote
With flowering dogwoods or Eastern dogwoods they seem to make it "at home" in shade -- perhaps up North? Down South; if you ever noticed from a 'bird eye view' when take off and landing (air traveling--in early spring), you'll see them naturalized along forest edge/ borders (presumably where they enjoy periphery sunlight? Around my neighborhood, those that stay in full sun provide more colorful leaves in the fall, plus an abundant berries for wildlife. Those that in shade NOT so much. I don't have experience with the twig dogwoods to draw from. Other dogwood species: Several years ago I discovered a naturalized Osier dogwood on the edge of the wood, those are not as showy as Eastern dogwoods, but the "blue muffin" berries is quite attractive to me, and I'm sure wildlife appreciate them too. Another worth mention dogwood is the Kousa dogwood, the first time I saw these big blooms of the Kousa dogwood. It took my breath away! Its flowers are just as prestine white as Eastern dogwoods, but perhaps 1.5 to 2x the size of our Eastern dogwoods! Those I saw were in Maryland, I haven't seen them being used down here in the South, not sure how they will fare here-- now I'm scooting toward sunny planting...rather shade gardening. Please forgive me.
Here is an example of Eastern dogwood that gets more sun compared to those that are in the shade--let me emphasize; I'm speaking for our Southern zone as appose to zone 4 and 5. Those Eastern dogwoods that are in the shade (here) have long dropped their leaves, and berries as well.
Dogwoods are one of my favorite trees here. But when I first planted my Kousa as more of an understory tree, I didn't anticipate that it really stretches for the sun (in this case from the west) and consequently looks very lopsided. It made me wonder if I should have planted it in more sun. Has anyone else experienced this?
My cornus alternifolia was originally planted on the north side of my house in full sun, where it languished. I dug it up and replanted it on the south side of my house, using the house as shelter on the north, adding lilacs, and eventually putting in a paperbark maple to the west. I left the overhead clear. It thrived. It went from having a single leaf and being 1 1/2 feet tall to this.
I think that they like a location that shelters them from wind, but mine loved direct sunlight from above, even in 90 degree heat.
It does get an hour or two of direct sun around noon but it's on the east side of the house so it gets shade most of the afternoon and of course, the tree is stretching to the west. Perhaps I need to know more about what "understory" really means. I'm always pruning the west side of the tree to keep it more balanced but ultimately I'll be defeated in that regard.
I think kousa's definitely do better with more sun.
And in particular, they bloom much better.
I've seen fabulous kousas in full luxuriant bloom on long island,
where they're pretty much grown in full sun.
I think our midwest climate is too unforgiving for full sun,
but I think I've overcompensated and put mine in too much shade.
So I get correspondingly puny blooms.
Your pagoda looks great, Donna.
Mine does fine in pretty much shade - blooms better in shade than kousa,
though probably not as lush a bloom as yours.
But I'm particularly fond of the golden cultivar 'Gold Boullion' (foliage is all-gold)
and gold-variegated 'Golden Shadows' (green with broad gold margins).
They are so much easier to grow than the old 'Variegata' and the foliage is beautiful,
especially fresh spring growth. I've got both under a fairly dense tree canopy.
From what I recall learning at work, it is absolutely true that some dogwoods tolerate more sun than others, Kousa being one that will tolerate, not only more sun, but also a more alkaline soil as well.
The term "understory" is not exactly the same as "shade", which might also come into play when growing them... it's all an environmental thing. When stuff, in nature, is growing in a forrest, under the canopy of larger trees, there's a whole 'nother environment that is created, including humidity, along with the different types of sunlight, and amounts of sunlight **when** certain things need it. (eg: some understory trees/shrubs leaf out sooner than the canopy trees, naturally taking advantage of that additional sunlight that's coming through before the cover trees leaf out and shade them again). Then, some understory trees thrive best along the edges of woodlands, getting even more sunlight than those who would be smack dab in the middle of a forrest or copse. Probably more water, too.
Then too, there's always the matter of, what sorts of other trees are around contributing (with leaf-fall), to the conditions of the soil. Many many factors to consider in the life of an understory tree. =)
As with people, there are always exceptions to the rules, but generally, this is what I was taught to be a pretty good guidline, to keep all these (and more!) factors in mind.
I wanted to post a couple pictures of my cornus alternifolias.
The first is the straight species blooming quite nicely in dense shade.
The second is the Golden Shadows variegated cultivar.
I think it's beautiful all summer long and so far seems quite vigorous.
The 3rd is the all-gold Gold Bullion cultivar - not a great picture - it's really bright.
But the brightness fades later in the summer.
Finally, my puny kousa blooms ('Satomi') on a plant reaching despirately for sun...
Oh, Speedie, thank you. That explains it. My pagoda was "surrounded" and had the benefit of leafdrop. One thing I did do was use ironite twice a year on the paperbark maple and the pagoda. I have read that while maples tolerate a great deal what they "really" like is acid soil. When I moved in my ph was teasted at 7.9 (yikes) so I started laying down compost from the community farm (free!) twice a year. And twice a year I would go out with my trusty Ironite and spray the dogwood, the 14 bayberries and five fothergillas (acid loving plants that were installed in my very alkaline yard), while avoiding the nearby lilacs. I also kept my dogwood mulched, and put a soaker hose under the mulch to give it a watering from time to time in the summer.
That creates all the conditions you mention. When I think about it I was trying to create the conditions Weerobin has naturally. I love fussing over my plants.
Weerobin, those are fantastic samples of your various "doggies". as Donna has mentioned, lol. 'Satomi' is dilightful with the slight hint of pink tint to its petals. May I ask do those make blueberries later in the season? Speediebean, sound input on the subject of "understory", Donna and others has also shared some very helpful ideas. I love it when everyone is bringing interesting ideas to the table. Thank you all.
The weekend was a productive one, DH and I continued to work with our Fall clean up, and planning for the shade garden.
Thanks, Speedie, for enlightenment. And I do confuse "understory" with "shade" a lot!
And thanks for the pics - all very inspiring. Actually has me in the acquisition mode now that our awful summer has past.
rouge21, yes especially within the fence perimeter. I so love trees, I couldn't get any down. This past year, we cleared out the under growing shrubs and vines. Fenced the area to keep our beloved pets room to roam when needed. The area will be planted with just a few ornamental shrubs such as the mentioned buckeyes. Maybe some mountain laurels? On the open side of the fence, I planned to add some lilies I think.
speedybean, the leather-leaf mahonia are currently putting out flower buds, I'll post some pics. when I get a chance.
Also, I made a mistake calling my Aucuba japonica 'Nana' a Mahonia. Sorry for the error.
Here are couple pics. of the 'shady area' that we're working on. Phase 1, the planning phase. Your suggestion is welcome.
Lily - that's a pretty steep drop beyond the fence line unless my perspective is wrong. Will your wooded area remain pretty dry from run-off? Looks like the native trees have given you a pretty nice backdrop for some ornamentals.
Wow, what a great planting opportunity, Lily!
You see a wide open space like that and your imagination goes wild!
I'd start by stealing rouge's Aureum - it would look great in that understory space.
Then of course a bottlebrush buckeye. And some hostas. And how about an ostrich fern.
And maybe a drift of polygonatum odoratum variegatum. Or the giant purple Night Heron polygonatum.
And if there's enough light, a viburnum dentatum for a nice berry display.
And I love adina rubella, a shrub with glossy green foliage and curious 'sputnik' flowers.
And how about a few clumps of beautiful hak grass. A couple woodland peonies, like p. japonica.
Man, I could go on and on...
But as I said at the beginning, I'd definitely start by stealing rouge's Aureum.
Whatever you do with it, you've got to post the results.
Weerobin wrote:Wow, what a great planting opportunity, Lily!
You see a wide open space like that and your imagination goes wild!
Lily, the shady canvas you have to work with has already realized potential. In fact given the beautiful array of surrounding trees and terrain you can't go wrong whatever you do! That does take the pressure off you ;).
Weerobin wrote:But as I said at the beginning, I'd definitely start by stealing rouge's Aureum.
Whatever you do with it, you've got to post the results.
Hey hey 'weerobin', if one compares my shady corner to Lily's you can see I need the help of this "Aureum" way more than she!
(Btw, I did plant *my* "Aureum" but not in my virgin corner! But rather I planted it just outside of the perimeter.)
Quoting: ... that's a pretty steep drop beyond the fence line unless ...
Ah but your perspective is somewhat inline with the lay out. Though I took the picture from an upper deck looking down to the shady lot, though flood plane is roughly the level of the fence. Yike! I did lose some beautiful ornamental trees in these area being near the water.
Quoting: looks like the native trees have given you a pretty nice backdrop for some ornamentals
Thank you, as far as watering needs, DH already installed an irrigation system along the fence perimeter, to aid watering needs in case of drought. Though, the area looks large, we must provide a path to bring our mower and the buggy cart from the front yard to the back yard so or our planting is rather limited.
Weerobin has given a splendid list of plants such as; Aureum, bottlebrush buckeye, hostas, ostrict fern, a drift of polygonatum odoratum variegatum, or giant purple Night Heron polygontum, viburnum dentatum, adina rubella a shrub with glossy green foliage and curious 'sputnik' flowers. Yummm! and hak grass? woodland peonies such as japonica... Whoa! I'm very interested with the list. But will have to do more reading for I'm only familiar with a couple of the mentioned plants. Thank you so much for taking the time to give the suggestion Weerobin. I'll most definately share the "after" results once I've installed the new shade bed.
Hahaha, rouge21. Let's share. Though my need for the Aureum maybe just as bad as yours. Have you picture to share of the newly planted Aureum?
OK, some pix for you, Lily...
#1 is 'hak' grass (hakonechloa) in a shady setting with some other shade-tolerant plants.
#2 is one of my woodland peonies (p. wittmanniana). Open shade suits it fine. Early spring bloomer. Many other types, hard to say which is my favorite since they're all beautiful & easy.
#3 is adina rubella. Glossy clean pinnate foliage with 'sputnik' flowers. Woodland setting.
#4 is polygonatum odoratum. This is my favorite, a cultivar called Chollipo. The variegated one is also beautiful and more common. I like Chollipo's rich broad quilted leaves. Grows in expanding drifts which are really pretty.
There are so many more choices ... it's fun to just experiment!
And one more picture - I didn't have an Aureum to post, since mine is on life-support after acourtesy of some of my deer friends. I think he'll survive (happened a couple years ago), but still awfully mangled.
Here's a related maple, shirasawarum Autumn Moon. It's not nearly as golden as Aureum, but it's a more robust grower. I like the colorful seeds in the spring. It's even prettier with Aureum, since the red seeds contrast vividly against the golden leaves. Such a pretty tree!
Weerobin, many thanks for those helpful and beautiful photos. All of which I am not at all familiar with except the polygonatum odoratum. I have that very plant in the other side of the garden and have been delighted by it in every spring the last several years. The maple and its catkins are delightful indeed! How about the viburnum? I've several viburnums in the garden--in which I love, but one that takes shade is a bonus.
The first year of a new garden has a gawky look but I still wanted you guys and gals to see this corner now (8 months after my original picture and post; be sure to scroll up and see the "before"). Thanks for all your help and advice.
Try the larger boxwoods in a circle with the dwarf ones( Boxwoods) inside It makes a subdued but interesting scene.
Much the same with Hostas. Try the large varigated ones outside with the reverse variation inside
Wow Rouge, it's lush and beautiful! I don't think I'd use the term "gawky"... maybe more like "Potential-filled"! =)
OK, now for all of us who are in need of the up-coming eye Dr. appointment (ahem), please name all the babies you've got in there... and maybe a couple closer-up shots, please? Is there even a boxwood in there?? (addressing Arfitz's suggestion). Arfitz, not sure how much you back-read, but Rouge did tell us that she's not really a Hosta-lover... not to mention, as we can see, the plantings have already been done, so... perhaps these are ideas for another season, should she want to change things..??
Rouge, I want aaallll the details of every little baby you put in there, it looks MAGNIFICENT!! BRAVO!!!!!! =D