Ideas for backyard garden living space

purple-anemoneJune 11, 2011

My backyard garden bed faces South, but there are some large trees, so I'd say its semi-shade to shade. There are some established plants - Weigelia, 4 Forsythia's that I pruned back heavily (on the right), peonies doing fairly well, lots of Violets taking over. The ferns and hosta's also do well. This spring I have planted bleeding heart, japanese anemone,2 astilbe, 2 snakeroot,1 geranium, 2 hydrangia's of which all are doing OK, but slowly and almost invisible. I planted a Pavement rose that died within 5 days (after a particularly rainy stretch).

I would love ideas how to beautify this space. Do I need to cut back on the violets (and then, what do I put in their place?) Also, its hard to dig in the bed because of all the tree roots, I am just grateful if I get a 1 ft x 1 ft hole without obstructions). Im pasting some pictures of the space - the first one of the bed as n whole and the rest divided into 3 sections from left to right. This is such a great forum and I received such handy answers so far, thank you.

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Do you want to stay with them hosta theme? If so,why don't you get some variegated hostas, green and white? They would brighten up the area. I had Soloman's Seal in dappled shade and it looked really nice with the hostas. I would get rid of some of the violas, I know they look nice but a small patch would be all you need. After you get rid of them you can see what yhou have left to work with. Then decide if you want a straight edge or curved flowerbed. If you want it curved, use a garden hose to lay it out. Play with it to get the look you want. I would also put some shrub against the fence. I have golden elder which I love but there are lots of different kinds. Here's a picture of my golden elder.

Hope this gives you some ideas. Marg

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 8:24AM
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Thanks Marg, I just picked up some Golden Elder and are going to plant them now!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 11:02AM
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I would add a clean line or enlarge the beds by using an edger. I would recommend removing the violets which are invasive. Perhaps trim the weigela from below so the cuts are not apparent. I like that you already pleached the trees and so all you need to do is to enhance the beds with more low and shade loving plants. In order to tackle tight spaces, you need to select small plants that can grow roots in tight spaces. Make sure you provide these plants with access to the soil beneath the tree roots. Use dibblers if possible.

So what kinds of shade plants. How about trollius, sweet williams, dead man's nettles, rhododendrons, astilbes, bergenias, virginia blue bells, japanese primulas.... so many to choose from.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 9:10PM
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Perreniel geranium (many, many varieties! with bloom times spanning the entire season), some verticle interest with vines (dutchmans pipe being one and depending on the amount of available sun perhaps clematis), colombines for spring flowers, and I agree that rhododendrons would be lovely in the space. And Ferns with the hosta.

Definitly edge your beds and I always think a curved line in the shade garden is somehow relaxing and very organic.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 4:49PM
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Thanks for the great ideas.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2011 at 4:31PM
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Beagles suggestion on making it curve is spot on. It will be terrific if you do this. Straight lines actually show a kind of 'tension'.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 9:59AM
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