Most of my favorite walks have been in the forests and woodlands of the NW. When we were looking at re-doing the pond gardens this year, I wanted to include a small area which would remind me of these beautiful and very peaceful walks---a shady, cool place to retreat to on a hot summer day; a special place to relax in within the larger garden scheme.
Now, even though this area is not completely done yet, I like it so well that we're working on enlarging it already (in case you don't know a garden is never really done but evolves and changes as time goes on)
So are you ready to go into the shade and see some of the plant treasures hidden within the shadows there?This is a brunnera, Jack Frost, and as you can see from this close-up the leaves are dramatic--beautifully shaped and colored...but that isn't all. The plant also has small blue flowers that remind one of forget-me-nots. Between the variegated leaves and tiny flowers it really stands out in the relative darkness of the shade garden.
A given in shady areas of the NW are ferns and our garden is no exception. In fact we have about 5 there so far and will never have a need to buy more. Why you ask? Well in the NW, or at least on our land, we have ample supplies of 'freebie' ferns growing in shady (and some sunnier) locations--under decks, behind buildings and in even more surprising areas! By 'freebie' I mean ones which we never planted.
The photo above is one of our larger ferns--and may have been given to me by my sibling who likes them as much as I . Don't you just love the new tendrils? The brown against the green is a gorgeous combination; unfortunately this photo doesn't give it justice:(
Another plant commonly found in the shade here (a NW native like the fern) is the trillium (see photo above; it's the little one near the hosta)). Although ours is a teeny tiny bitty plant now it will get much bigger in time. I really like to use plants native to our area---first because they are incredibly beautiful and second because they generally need lower maintenance in terms of water, light and other requirements, etc.You've already seen our new bleeding heart. I can report she is now happily planted and doing well. I will miss her beautiful white heart-shaped blossoms very much when they are gone soon--they're something I am quite fond of (there's a good photo of the blossoms on the right side of this screen)!
Several more shade or partial shade lovers ... an astilbe (an amethyst--will post when it's in bloom), some Mt Hood daffodils (some of my favorites; I bought even more this year), three more rhododendrons (Pioneer Silvery Pink--pic to right of screen, Hotei -- this will have yellow blossoms soon and then a photo here, a Ria Hardijzer--picture to right of screen too) and more...
This is a flowering crabapple tree--it's located very close to the shade garden so I'm including it here. It's a Prarifire and everyone seems to really love it--I definitely do:) Today we planted it and now need to choose some plants and possibly a small bamboo fence to surround it.
Well that's it for now--hope you enjoyed your walk in the shade. I'd love to know what plants you use in your shady gardens! Have a blessed week.
- Brunnera 'Jack Frost"
- Part of the shade garden-plants: Bleeding heart, hosta, fern, trillium, Pioneer Silvery Pink rhododendron and more:)
- Hosta, bleeding heart 'Alba', native NW fern
- Japanese Maple (acer palmatum)
- Crabapple (malus) 'Prarifire'
Note: If you are from the NW another native, shade to partial shade loving plant I have grown is salal. This is an evergreen plant with beautiful green leaves florists use in arrangements, flowers and berries. It is really a nice plant and will spread in time.