Help with a shade garden

melaroma(6)June 15, 2012

I am helping a friend with her shade front bed. We made the bed curvy and bigger than the narrow linear bed it was to begin with. We also tilled and added compost. This bed only gets about two hours of early morning sun and remains shaded for the rest of the day. In addition she has an apple tree planted in her front yard which is located to the left and front of this bed about 15 ft away and does add shade to the area as well.

She liked the hydrangeas in my yard so she decided to buy a blushing bride and a Bella Anna but she'd like to acquire some more. She also bought two hostas and a black snakeroot. She also likes the look of ferns and would like to add some to her bed but I don't have much experience with ferns. At the front we planted some impatiens that she had already planted in the spring.

I am looking for ideas on what plants we should use and where to plant them. She likes tidy looking plants and wants pinks, purples and blues. I was thinking of adding some foxglove and hope that they reseed well after.

We also need something tallish for the back corners of the bed but as she has an overhang in that area it cannot exceed 5 ft. Also, I am wondering since the apple tree does frame the house if we really do need something tall there.

Here are pictures of the bed in 9:30 morning sun. I have placed the plants in spots where I think they might look good in but we haven't planted them because we haven't decided yet. Any ideas? (We still have to till the very left corner so that grass clump will be gone soon).

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springwood_gardens(6B Pittsburgh)

I assume she doesn't mind some foliage in front of the windows? There appears to be room for up to 5 full size hydrangeas in the back. One at each corner, one at the window divider, and one near the ends of each window.

I would certainly squeeze a Nikko in the corner by the steps. It would stay at around 5' in zone 6, and they don't die back as bad as ES. They do not disappoint as foundation plants! I'd also recommend Lemon Daddy for the foliage contrasted by pink/blue flowers. Or, something like Preziosa, whose wine colored flowers contrast great against the dark foliage. You might also have room for a Cityline or two up front between the larger hydrangeas. Most only get 2x2, which is about the mature size of a hosta.

--------------Wall ----------
.........Front Yard.........

The distance the pots are from the wall looks fine for planting. I would arrange them by a combination of size, bloom color and foliage color - whatever looks best from afar.

Now after all this you'd think I'm partial to hydrangeas? haha

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 3:02PM
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Dont know how much help I am other than to tell you a few hydrangeas I do good with in very little sun. Forever & Ever Blue Heaven, FE Summer Lace, Endless Summer Twist n Shout & one you have already picked ES Blushing Bride. Nikko & Lemon Daddy are great Hydrangeas but bloom on old wood and in our zone will require winter/spring protection to have successful flowering every year. Just not my cup of tea anymore to protect hydrangeas in the ground. Many Macs/Big Leaf Hydrangeas require a good amount of sun to reach their full potential. The ones I have listed do great in similar sun conditions in my yard. Sounds like a good area for Hostas and Astibilles also. Good Luck & Have Fun!

P.S. In my experience Foxglove need more sun to reseed & flower well.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 5:29PM
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Springwood, I am impartial to hydrangeas too, I have 9 going on 10... LOL. I do love hostas too as they add texture and color.

Hydrangeasnohio, I have been drooling over the twist and shout but I would be getting that for MY garden, lol.

My neighbor finished her garden and it includes: hydrangeas BB, Bella Anna and some others, blacksnake root, hostas, liriope and impatiens.

Unfortunately for me I like having something different and no one else in the area had hydrangeas,especially not babied and spoiled rotten ones like mine :P so while I am flattered that she liked my garden so much that she wanted to do something similar in her garden it saddens me to not have something unique anymore :( And since I LOVE my hydrangeas (everything is planted around it and only planted if they enhance the hydrangeas) it's not like I can replace them with something new that would be different.

But I am happy for my neighbor that she likes her new bed, I'll just have to make new beds in the front yard and incorporate new interesting plants.... DH is going to be thrilled about this :)

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 6:33PM
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