Monday, March 18, 2013

A Garden in the Shade (Part 2)

In my last post, we finished off at the entrance to the one sunny pocket in the backyard garden. 

Let's head under the arbor and look around.

Before we move away to explore the rest of the garden, I wanted to show you this 
pretty, little Japanese birdbath.

I also want to point out the interesting way the gardener has managed to combine rock of different scales both in this bright, sunny corner and in other areas of the garden. 

On the left, she has created a dry stream bed using river rock with a flagstone edging. 

On the right, she has mixed flagstone with pea gravel to create a path. Pea gravel has a nice crunch under foot, but flagstone is easier to walk on. Assorted groundcovers soften and blend the edges of the path into the rest of the plantings.

And speaking of groundcovers...I like Creeping Jenny, but I always stress over its aggressive spread. This gardener obviously does not share my worry, because as you will notice, she has it planted throughout the garden. 

It does make an interesting textural matt under this Japanese Maple doesn't it?

She had this Black Bamboo, Phyllostachys nigra planted in a partially buried pot (initially slow to spread, but be warned, it can also be invasive)

I love the skirt of ornamental grass that hides the pot.

Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola'

Moving to the left, we enter an area of half-shade with dappled sunlight.

Among the flowering plants and shrubs are pink Astilbe and a number of hydrangeas. 

As you can imagine, she waters both frequently!

 In terms of foliage plants, the homeowner has planted a variety of hosta, heuchera and variegated Jacob's Ladder (see lower right corner two photos back). 

There are also Ostrich Ferns toward the back of this flowerbed.

In the far corner of the garden, there are a number of mature trees and full shade conditions. Added to the combination of hosta and heuchera, there is a Japanese Painted Fern, Athyrium niponicum var. pictum on the left. 

I am going to make a wild guess that the perennial on the right is a Heuchera,'Southern Comfort'.

Always pretty for shade: Siberian Bugloss, Brunnera macrophylla, 'Jack Frost'

I thought this was a fun idea. Hanging from the tree branches are several birdcages 
with plant pots inside.

No room for a full-sized pond? Check this out! This pond was no bigger than a bucket. 

I messed up this shot a little and missed the last word expressed in the sentiment on the 
little pebbles in the foreground. 

The rocks say, "Hello, have a nice day!" I pass that sentiment on to you.


  1. Amazing! Such a beautiful and extraordinary garden!
    Thanks for taking us on a stroll through it.

  2. This is such a creative garden. I am amazed at what thrives in partial to full shade. I like the message in the rocks and the miniature pond. I'll refer to this post when I plant my shade garden this spring.

  3. This is obviously a garden with a gardener who knows what she is doing. Interesting plantings well placed.

  4. p.s. Sorry to hear about your waterworks - if it's not one thing it's another. Hope everything is drying out now.

  5. Hi Jennifer
    What a delight this garden is from both a plantings standpoint as well as design. Beautiful curved beds beside a lush lawn, wonderful use of all kinds of stone and interesting accents like the Japanese bird bath and the birdcages used as planters. Loved them!
    Her gorgeous astilbe reminded me to add those to my "to buy" list. Many of mine have dried out during these past scorching summers.

  6. Some very good shade ideas, such a great assortment of textures and colors. The shady areas of my garden are quite neglected right now, as they seem to fall in the "I'll get around to it", and then never do. I'll have to research and see out of the plants you mentioned above which are perennials in Zone 4.

  7. Hi Jennifer.....As I said before, this garden is absolutely amazing!! I love that it's so full, yet you see all the different plants. I also love the path (similar to mine) and that she uses pots with flowers to add height. There's just so much I like about this garden and I'm definitely going to use her idea of writing messages on the creative! I just love getting ideas from other gardens!!

  8. I love the textures of the plants and hardscape.... and the little pond area.

  9. I so enjoyed this. All that texture, popping acid green with burgundy...lights and brights and unique ideas. Will use that Hello Have a Nice Day idea...thank you!!

  10. I love the bucket pond! Tammy at Casa Mariposa has one of these and it's such a fantastic idea. That creeping jenny is something else though. I've always loved the colour of it but you can see how far it's reaching out across the grass. She must be on that stuff constantly.

  11. A lovely garden. Her choice of plants are mostly different from mine, but I love what she has done with them. The ornamental grass especially. I do use a lot of Siberian Bugloss and Jacobs Ladder, but I use the straight species.

  12. What a wonderful and beautiful garden. Lots of interesting plants, and looking so natural. I really like the pathways and the little pond.

  13. Some great ideas here for my shade garden. Love the variegated Jacobs Ladder and that grass hiding the pot of bamboo. It's a lovely garden - so cool and relaxing.

  14. This really is a pretty garden, filled with texture and color, even in the shade. It appears to have Japanese influence with plant choice and use of stone, not to mention ornament and structure. It is like a stress free oasis.

  15. What a beautiful blog you have. Thank you for visiting me on my blog. Have a wonderful day.
    Bobbie Lynn

  16. Such nice touches in this shade garden. Instead of fighting the darker conditions by trying to use bold bright colored plants, she used simple forms --- the creative mixed-rock borders and edges, the rather delicate looking foliage textures (even using dark leaved plants), and swaths of creeping Jenny doing what it should, spreading light all over the floor of the garden.

    There was real thought in this complex garden design, not just an attempt to brighten up shade!

  17. Awesome garden! I love shady plants, as astilbe, impatience,hostas. All they have got very ornamental leaves and nice flowers.
    Great photos!

  18. Love how everything kind of blends together!

  19. What a lovely garden, I enjoyed roaming around it with you.
    I absolutely loved the bird cages plant pots and the tiny pond.xxxxx

  20. Fantastic garden, thanks again for pictures, really enjoyed them.

  21. Very pretty. I imagine you can't walk fast through this garden. So much to see, so much contrast in terms of foliage and colors. It makes you slow down so you can take in all the beautiful combinations. Even through the photos, I can feel the love in this garden.

  22. Ah, astilbe, we can't grow them like that down here. They look beautiful in that garden.

  23. I could learn a lot from this garden, especially the use of garden accessories. The birdcage-as-planter is an inspired idea.

  24. I love the tapestry of plants in front of the brown/black screen - just beautiful.

  25. I'm going to have to check into heucheras again. I have a shade garden that is very boring since it's mostly green hostas although in various shades. I like the idea of breaking up all the green with the purple and tan heucheras

  26. Just beautiful, I love everything about your garden, will be using some of your ideas, thanks for sharing

  27. Really lovely garden!most plants are herbaceous...what happen in winter?
    Apologize for my english...not my mother's lenguaje...

    1. Herbaceous plants die back to the ground and sleep through winter. Shrubs and trees maintain their skeletal shape of stems and branches. Evergreen shrubs and trees remain green and often provide shelter for birds on the cold days.


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