My shade garden, used to be anyway

lafleurs1July 24, 2013

Half of my garden was designed for light/dappled shade with morning sun, and the other half gets sun through 1 p.m. and late afternoon sun, enough to grow roses. I really liked the way the Francis Williams hostas came up at the shady end in a big round like a shrub and filled in that space, I was not quite through refining, always feeling it was a work in progress, but recent property line changes have resulted in burning my Francis Williams.

This picture is showing the sun streaming in after the trees went down, but before the fence. I will post that in another post.

Recently, in the past two years I have been overwhelmed with changes on the next property over, first a lot of trees went out and a landscaper came in and did a nice job, but then that owner left mid way, and the newest owners have put up fence along my yard, where the lady who left was contemplating a row of arborvitae for screening.

I was waiting on the arborviate screening so I have added nothing in the meantime, and since the trees went down, the hosta burns every afternoon, even with the six foot fence. The space along the fence can be planted by me, even planted with arborvitae, they were going to be the Dark (Nigra) Green. So, I planted one, but I have found that it might not get enough sun there for it to perform. The top of it gets sun, and looks nice but the bottom has defoliated.

The problem space is three 8 ft. fence panels wide (24 feet.) Above the fence and in a shaft of sunlight to the back 1/4 of the garden there is intensive afternoon sun all afternoon long, especially from 1:30 to 6 p.m. I used to have dappled sun, and would face my chair in that direction for drinking beverages and reading, but now we have to keep moving our chairs.

Along the fence I have dug out the roots of the old trees and made a four foot wide bed to start, the fence is at least 1 foot from the property line, and does not follow a straight line. (There are no actual straight lines or perpendicular corners, this is new england.) I can plant in that 3 panel space to start with. Should I just cover it with arborvitae to start and then dig out and plant another row with other plants? Can I put a tree where there is only a guarantee of 4-6 hours of sun? How about any of these: dogwood or dogwood variety, redbud or pansy redbud? And where to place it in relation to the evil Norway Maple graciously shading our afternoons, and the white pine? There is about 10-12 feet from the garden bed to the fence, with a grass path, and it is a swale, and the beds seem raised, so I would have to enlarge the back bed for it.
How many feet away do you plant from a stockade fence?

So, would you put more Dark Green arborvitae, how many, two more be enough, they end up looking more like christmas trees; Would you dig out frances williams and what would i put there? Is there enough light for a quickfire hydrangea, they get big and round and there is a lot of space, but it would look like nothing in winter; I am feeling evergreen challenged but have hopes of more rhodies and more refining at the end of the summer. I can do about $200-$400 plants at a time, all my labor and maybe, except for a tree, they need to ride in my car. I am also considering a conical green boxwood shrub in the bed, next to where the frances williams are.

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This is the fence. In winter.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 5:46PM
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This is what it is looking like with a few more plants growing this spring and summer.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 5:52PM
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and another along the fence

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 5:54PM
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From the path, you can see there is depth between the raised garden and the back bed.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 5:59PM
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I am having just a bit of difficulty taking in your predicament but I am thinking that this area along the fenceline is now just too sunny for the hostas? If you can grow roses and what appears to be salvia, dianthus and nepeta in such close proximity, too much sun doesn't surprise me - these are all sun lovers.

Personally, I'd rip out the hostas and relocate to a shadier area. You could replace with a more sun tolerant hosta - many of the gold leaved forms are - but you also have the choice of filling in with whatever else you like. LIke the hydrangeas :-)) Not evergreen of course, but you could add more arbs if enough room. As for the trees, skip the redbud - needs full sun but the dogwoods will take varying degrees of sun or shade just fine.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 8:07PM
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I forgot to put the hosta for you to see, it is two seasons bigger now, and appears in the early garden. Also, since this pix the rhodie pictured died and the two little ones got bigger. Do you think there is enough sun for hydrangeas?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 8:18PM
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I have planted the roses and nepeta, irises and salvias in the right hand end of the bed, they get eastern sun. The left half of the bed, does not get complete morning sun, and when I planted the hostas there it was dark except for dappled sun. The morning sun travels about two thirds of the way to the left and hits the front side of the new wood fence for a few hours, but not at dawn, more like ten o'clock.

I guess the question is, how to get shade at that end, again, dappled sun would be great, verticals would be great, but arborvitae don't let sun trickle thru, so what to plant that would like only half a days sun from six feet up, and if the Frances Williams is just too light sensitive for the kind of light streaming from the west in the picture. Or live with the sun and change the plantings. Or get Frances a shade umbrella.

If the Frances hosta goes I will move it deeper into the shade or in front of something, then what, put a rhodie there? It is about 4 feet wide and substantial in the balance of the garden. A Scintillation like the others or something else. Scintillation is a really early bloomer. I am not sure a later bloomer would look good while the spent ones are dying. The light has been perfect for rhodie flower development. But that has improved since the trees went, and then I would not want to go higher than 8 feet along the fence with anything.

Do you think the part sun would be enough to sustain Quickfire? I like the big fluffy round it makes; and the pink it turns is nice. I am seeing those in full sun here in N.E.

Other suggestions, and also, should I be planting a tree/trees? the trees that came out were maple and birch not particularly specimens, wilder looking, but in the next yard, not as close to my garden. Any yews that might work with my funny sun? Anything that is not arborvitae or rhodies? I can find my way to those choices without much help.The sunlight is about 5-6 hours worth, intense.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 2:10PM
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