Revamping shade garden

bwh_ks(6)July 2, 2012

We had a multi-trunk Eastern Redbud that lasted about 20 years, until our last big thunderstorm (bummer). We had developed a shade garden underneath it that was doing well in a semi-circular shape, with a sandstone walk along the straight edge. The redbud had been in the center of the garden.

The garden is bordered with monkey grass, and includes several hostas, two different kinds of hydrangeas, a score of day- and tigerlillies, a viburnum, some vinca, some annuals and a whole bunch of coneflowers, which have just gone wild - I didn't know they loved the sun that much - since the redbud's demise.

Our first thought had been to just replace the redbud, but a local gardener we respect had suggested putting something interesting in the center to provide the shade the hydrangeas and hosta need - something like nandina or a fast-growing annual like a castor oil plant - and put a shade tree outside the garden to the West - like an oak or pecan.

The garden gets sun at two different times (b/c of a large silver maple to 10 yards to the S), from about 10am to noon, and from 3 or 4pm to sundown.

Attached is a picture for reference - the lamium has died out since this was taken, and the coneflowers are behind the bench.

Any thoughts?

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There are flowering shrubs that will mature & provide shade. I'm in a warmer zone, so not sure if these will work in your zone.

for maritime NW gardens, but some are hardier (includes photo & description)

plant profiles & more (many hardy to 0 degrees)

Nandina is beautiful & castor dramatic (maybe not too late this year).

Most of my gardens receive shade from tall fir trees, so have dappled sunlight throughout the day. I plant nearly any perennial that is listed for part sun & just see if it works. Some don't bloom & just flop, but others work fine. I've enriched the soil with composted manures and keep it mulched so moist not dry.

Masterwort, Astrantia - long lasting late spr - fall frost bloom (plus flowers dry well for winter)
Japanese anemone - spreads freely, but so showy midsummer until frost. Would lean against the hydrangea & stay more upright.
Lady's mantle, Alchemilla mollis - foamy yellow long lasting blooms that fill space between plants
Sweet William - biennial habit, long blooming
Crocosmia Lucifer - a hummingbird favorite
Meadowsweet Filipendula rubra Venusta - tall towering cotton candy like blooms for about 3 weeks in summer) spreads a foot a year if it likes the spot - give it dry shade & it might not spread so much. Also slow to establish, so expect blooms the 2nd summer after planting. The white version is also nice & pops in the shade.
Bleeding heart Gold Heart - if kept moist will have nice foliage all summer long here. The last of the blooms fell off last week. Another hummer favorite.
Heuchera - 2 that I've had success with are Palace Purple & Caramel. The others were either overrun by a groundcover, didn't establish by winter, or root weevils ate them.

July 2011 of garden planted in March where we used to have the raised duck & rabbit coops you see in the background. Rich soil.

Hope that helps,

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 1:29PM
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