Friday, March 15, 2013

A Garden in the Shade (Part 1)



Colorful and shade are not to adjectives many people would think belong in the same sentence, but today I want to show you a front and back garden where the homeowner has managed to combine these two very words.


Right about where I was standing when I took this picture, there was a mature tree which 
cast most of the front yard into shade and half-shade.

Among the perennials and shrubs in the front gardenbeds, this homeowner has mixed different colored heuchera and hostas in a way that I haven't quite seen before.  

Though there isn't that much in flower, there is still an interesting mix of roses, burgundy, tan, lime and various shades of green.

Let's take a closer look:

There is a pleasing mix of leaf shapes and sizes here. There is also a really nice play of textures.

Towards the back of the bed, there is the lacy leaf of a Japanese Maple, in front of that some jade green Pachysandra and then there is a mix of heuchera and hosta toward the front. 


Along the driveway, there is a bit more sunlight and she has added Japanese Blood Grass into the mix. (Warning: Before you add Japanese Blood Grass to your wish list for spring, be aware that it can be a bit invasive.)

One more closeup to highlight the interesting mix of leaf textures. 

Here the gardener has combined a hosta with a pronounced striping with a hosta that is variegated. Into this mix of hostas, she has also added a heuchera with a smaller leaf and mottled colors.


Now let's head into the back garden. 

Just inside the gate, the garden is free of tree cover. The homeowner has made the most of this small patch of sunlight.



The appealing mix of textures and shapes is continued in the back garden.


As we swing a bit to the left, there is an arbor that leads into a small corner nook of both half-shade (to the left) and full sun (on the right)

In the right foreground, the patch of lime green is the groundcover Creeping Jenny, Lysimachi nummularia. (Again, be forewarned that Creeping Jenny can be invasive. I have a patch in the shade and the lack of sun keeps it in check, but I also have some in sunlight, and it runs wild.) 

On the arbor, the gardener has trained some Morning Glories.


Purple Cone Flower, Echinacea, 'Pow Wow Berry'

Bee Balm, Monarda, 'Grand Parade' 


For today, I will leave you with a small container planting of succulents. In the next post, I will pick up where we left off, and explore the shadier part of the back garden.

I will also have the winner for the Unlikely Friendships book up next.

I am sorry to be so slow to return everyone's visits. It has been a crazy couple of days!
Yesterday, I awoke to find that the sump pump in the back basement had failed overnight and was spraying water into the basement. Imagine Niagara Falls and you pretty much have it! 
I waded into several inches of water when I got to the bottom of the basement stairs. Having no time to dress, imagine me in a nightgown and rubber boots bailing water into buckets, while my son carried them outside. What a picture! And of course, I couldn't get hold of my husband who had already left for work.
Anyway, to make a long story short, I finally did manage to call my husband home and a new pump is installed. The basement is slowly drying out. 
I promise to pop around and say hi to everyone as soon as things settle further. 

Have a great weekend everyone!

38 comments:

  1. A lovely blend of Heuchera and Hosta. I keep meaning to try Pachysandra here at Magical Towers, this could be the year. Lovely photography Jennifer.

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  2. Oglądałam z dużym zainteresowaniem ten piękny ogród, bo sama mam sporo cienia w ogródku z powodu drzew. Pewno skorzystam z niektórych pomysłów. *** Miałaś przykre wydarzenie z pompą :. Pozdrawiam.
    I watched with great interest this beautiful garden, because I have a lot of shade in the garden because of the trees. Definitely use some ideas. You were sad event of the pump. Yours.

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    1. I haven't done many posts on shade gardens and so was glad to come across this one.

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  3. Wow, so much to learn from this gardener, what a talent for growing in the shade in a completely un-boring way. I love that last shot of the stone filled container, just put it on my must-do list for this summer. My sympathies for you and your basement, yuck, what an annoyance, hope it dries up soon.

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    1. Thanks for your good wishes Rosemary!

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  4. What a fabulous design. I love a well designed shade garden. So much can be done with the myriad of color and texture choices available. And the foliage generally holds up to provide interest all season with minimal upkeep. Kudos to the gardener (and photographer)!

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    1. Any gardener knows is no such thing as a low maintenance garden, but I think you are right that this sort of front garden would be easier to keep up.

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  5. You take care Jennifer...water is no fun! We had a terrible flood here a couple years back in out basement. The garden above is stunning! I like the repetition of colors and forms in the first few shots! Just goes to show you that shade can be just as striking as blooms through its foliage! Take care and I hope that it dries up fast for you!

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    1. Thanks Nicole! The basement is drying out quite nicely. I am glad that you find this shade garden inspirational.

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  6. I feel bad for you Jennifer - a flooded basement is never fun.
    But the garden was gorgeous! This homeowner certainly did her homework - what great textures and colours in a predominantly shady yard. She is very good at combining them. Great photos - thanks.

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  7. Another lovely garden. I'm really interested in this, and the follow up as I have lots of mature trees and struggle to find anything that will grow in them. I love that little bird btw.

    Yikes....your waterworks sound nightmarish!!! xxxxx

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    1. Thanks Snowbird! Mature trees are a challenge and I am glad that I was able to find a garden that has an interesting and original approach to the challenge.
      The flooding did feel nightmarish and I am glad to report that the basement is drying out nicely.

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  8. Hi Jennifer...so sorry to hear about your sump pump, but I'm glad the problem got fixed. I'm sure that was no fun! This garden is breathtaking. It just shows what you can do with textures and different sizes and colors of leaves. This is pretty darn amazing!!

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    1. I am glad you enjoyed the post Christy.

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  9. how luscious..something we cannot get here.in this way we get it in a different way! the mixtures are genius!

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  10. I love how you spotlighted shade- it gets ignored I think at times. There really is a lot you can do in the shade that is pretty. Great shots. Happy GBBD!

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  11. We have so much shade here, I had to quickly learn to love it! Lots of super groupings of colour shade and texture in the garden you visited, we could all learn a lot from it. Really hope your basement has dried out by now, that was not a nice experience for you!

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    1. Thanks Pauline! It certainly wasn't a fun few days. Glad you enjoyed the post!

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  12. Oh no!! Hopefully there's not too much ruined by the water. Thank goodness for home insurance.

    As for the garden - what an interesting mix of colours and textures. I'm honest enough to tell you that I'm not sure if I like it. It's a bit too busy for my taste. But her use of colours in a shade garden gets me thinking that my leafy greens and white are a bit boring in comparison.

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    1. Hi Heather, Our house, which is very near the Credit River, sits on the water table. Two pumps run around the clock to pump away the water sitting under the house. Flooding occurs periodically and so we have learned to adjust. Few things which can be damaged by water sit on the floor. For this reason, we do not need to worry about serious damage and home insurance. There is however clean up that needs to be done.

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  13. O no, you have the Niagara Falls in your basement, it sounds like a nightmare. I hope problems are solved by now and it is dry again.
    I love shade gardens too, with different textures and colours you can get beautiful combinations. What concerns this front garden I think it is a bit too much, I am not fond of variegated Hostas together with Heucheras. But I enjoy watching all different kind of gardens and different tastes and ways of gardening.

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  14. What a wonderful garden using beautiful hosta and heuchera...many of my neighbors recently have had their sump pumps quit and their basements flooded....must be they have had to work overtime...glad to hear you were able to solve the flooding.

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  15. What a great garden! Thanks for sharing those wonderful pictures.

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  16. You know, I think this is possibly one of the most colourful gardens I have ever laid eyes on and I'm betting it stays colourful throughout the entire garden season. What a feat this gardener has accomplished, I'm very impressed.

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  17. It is surprising how a garden can look if in the shade and for those who like to add some annuals, Begonias are just the thing.

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    1. I agree Alistair, begonias are a great choice of annual for shade.

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  18. Jennifer, I hope your basement is drying and you have relaxed a bit.
    I love your story about this wonderful garden. Especially the combination of shapes and colors in a front garden is awesome!

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  19. Gooooorgeous - all the pretty garden inspiration I always find here makes me so inspired AND frustrated that I can´t seem to get mine as pretty!

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    1. Tina, I think that you are being to hard on yourself! It takes years of experience to be a gardener.

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  20. Great post as always!
    I planted some big containers of grass(es) on my balcony last summer - and Japanese Blood grass is my favourite with its red tips. The dried remains have looked lovely and moody all winter.
    OMY saw lots of green shoots while out walking Buddy this morning! It's happening! Happy Spring!
    P.S. hope your water problems are fixed....our upstairs neighbour flooded her bathroom and guess who's ceiling turned into a spring shower this morning. I see a theme. Well. Spring is about water isn't it? ;-P

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    1. Ruth, I have experienced that sort of shower as well. Was it last year or the year before that our toilet got blocked and overflowed sending water into the kitchen below through the pot lights. What a mess! I hope the damage was not too significant in your case.This sort of spring shower is one we can all do without!

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  21. I read this post the other day and had to think about it before commenting. I finally figured out what this gardening style reminds me of: a patchwork quilt. :o) A few things caught me off guard: many of the plants are low and clumpy, and it looks like many plants were put in as singles instead of groupings. It's different from what I'm used to seeing but I like it. I felt like I was looking at a floral interpretation of an old crazy quilt. It feels like a very personal design to me. It's very artistic.

    This has been a rough season for machinery at your house. I hope your basement is drying out. Hooray for having your son there to help you out! :o)

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    1. Tammy, You have made the perfect analogy. It is just like a crazy quilt. When I first saw this garden I felt the same way as you did: it is different from what I am used to seeing and that is why I wanted to show it.

      Yes, we have had a bad year for mechanical things! I didn't even mention the almost eight hundred dollars we spent on car repairs last week. Sometimes I feel like we have the worst luck in the world!

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  22. How inspiring, Jennifer! I always see so many fab ideas here. Hope to be able to re-create some of them and one day, when I'll finally have a garden again, :)
    So sorry for your basement issue, hope it dries up soon.

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  23. The combination of alumroots and hostas is wonderful. So sorry to hear about your basement flooding, what a pain!!

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  24. Encore.... Encore.... This is just wonderful! Thank you

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