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A shady pathway suggestions please

Posted by dottyinduncan z8b coastal BC (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 7, 13 at 18:23

We are reno-ing this breezeway and are looking for ideas. It is only 10 feet wide, very shady and is open to deer. the South wall is the shadiest of course, and I have planted a new rhodie in the widest part. I'd like to find something with brightness, probably cream or whitish to brighten the area. I think I'm going to have to give up on the Acuba and fatsias because the deer like them too much. The wall is blank but I can't think of anything to grow high in such a difficult area, perhaps some wall art would be best. The area where the chairs are is a cement pad that used to hold our oil tank. It can't be removed. Any ideas for improvements?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: A shady pathway suggestions please

lil bit of this might get your cream/white going.


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RE: A shady pathway suggestions please

Hmmm.... Is it wet or dry? It looks fairly bright with the white siding especially up higher.
...a trellis with a schizophragma, clematis, schizandra, or variegated honeysuckle or other variegated vine .....
Or a narrow conifer-- like a "Baldwin's variegated' Hinoki cypress, or Chamaecyparis obtusa. 'Snokist', or C.o. 'Mariesii'
A groundcover like a variegated saxifrage 'London Pride' or Chiastophyllum 'Jim's Pride'
or Peucedanum ostruthium - a variegated look alike for Bishop's weed. ...


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RE: A shady pathway suggestions please

The soloman Seal is wonderful! It certainly would add the brightness I'd like. And, Plantknitter, the suggestion of the vine is good, some great varieties shown. I was also thinking of a conifer, I think I saw one touched with creamy white at the nursery. More investigation to come. The soil is ok but there is clay underneath. There is irrigation in this area. Right now, it is getting a lot of summer sunshine but that only lasts for a few short weeks.


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RE: A shady pathway suggestions please

  • Posted by corrine1 7b Pacific Northwest (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 21, 13 at 19:39

If you can contain it variegated pachysandra is a favorite fragrant white bloomer of mine. The sweet fragrance in late winter is a pleaser.

It's vigorous enough that if you find the right brightly colored pot you can let the roots grow right through the bottom of the pot to stabilize & contain.

Could you position a bench on the concrete or arbor adjacent to it?

If you use this pathway regularly you may also wish to put a fountain there, so you can view the birds bathing in it. We have had great success with a pondless jar fountain that delights hummingbirds, robins, & the little ground birds dark eyed juncos on a regular basis. They each take turns using it. Last year we kept it going all winter & it didn't freeze up even in 13 degree weather.

Right now I'm loving our Ruby Spice summersweet blooms. It loves moist part shade, but is slow to leaf out in spring.


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RE: A shady pathway suggestions please

Thanks Corrine, some thoughtful suggestions. We have regular pachysandra at the other end of the pathway on one side and it is quite happy. I have been thinking of putting our little fountain on the cement, right now we have a couple of chairs that have been a Godsend with the hot weather! I'm not familiar with the Ruby Spice flower but I will google it. You made me think that my favorite plant at the moment is Brunnera and it would grow in this area. It's quite a lovely little pathway and I think it will just get better .


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RE: A shady pathway suggestions please

luzula sylvatica 'aurea' is a good shade plant for paths. might be hard to work into the "cream" scheme. barely needs water which is helpful.

Here is a link that might be useful: luzula sylvatica 'aurea' pathway.


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RE: A shady pathway suggestions please

Variegated hakone grass does well for me in all conditions. It's the only thing under my trees that doesn't demand water every other day in hot weather. Not white, but a lime green that goes well with many shade plants. It's lovely spilling onto a path.

I planted a variegated mock orange this spring that has wide white leaf margins. It can grow in sun or shade, though it doesn't like it too wet or too dry. I don't know about deer.


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RE: A shady pathway suggestions please

Variegated hakone grass does well for me in all conditions. It's the only thing under my trees that doesn't demand water every other day in hot weather. Not white, but a lime green that goes well with many shade plants. It's lovely spilling onto a path.

I planted a variegated mock orange this spring that has wide white leaf margins. It can grow in sun or shade, though it doesn't like it too wet or too dry. I don't know about deer.


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RE: A shady pathway suggestions please

How about a climbing evergreen hydrangea on a trellis? Color all year and some height, too. Oh, and it likes shade.

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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RE: A shady pathway suggestions please

The Hakone Grass would be a lovely addition. Lily, I tried a climbing hydrangea a few years back but it failed to thrive and never flowered. It was on the shadiest side of the pathway so perhaps it was just too shady. I would really like something high on that side of the path and I thought that would be great. I've just had some changes to the irrigation in this area so I'll be adding bark mulch and will decide the last few plants to put in. I appreciate all of the suggestions and help.


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RE: A shady pathway suggestions please

May Flowers, I went to the nursery this morning and the Hakone grass is lovely. I'll definitely look at incorporating it into the pathway. thanks for the suggestion.


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RE: A shady pathway suggestions please

If it gets any sun at all, it can actually look white on some of the stripes. It takes a season to get established, but soon you'll be able to divide the clump and put it anywhere you'd like as a balance to plants with larger leaves. Here's a photo from a few years ago. There's also a hardy fuchsia magellanica 'Aurea' along the deck, and that's another idea for a brighter spot in a shade garden. There are many fuchsias with variegated leaves. I don't know which ones perform well, but 'Aurea' is easy to find and very hardy. Mine is huge now, about 5 feet across!


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RE: A shady pathway suggestions please

  • Posted by corrine1 7b Pacific Northwest (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 28, 13 at 23:08

Fuchsias are lovely, but deer eat them. OP has nibbling deer.


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RE: A shady pathway suggestions please

Not nibbling deer, voracious, hungry vermin! May Flowers, your picture is lovely and the Hakone Grass is super. I'll post a picture when it is planted in the breezeway.


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RE: A shady pathway suggestions please

If the deer eat the hakone, maybe you could move it into a container on a porch. It's pretty in containers too.

We don't have deer here, but my in-laws did, and they had a huge smorgasbord, I mean, garden. They mounted motion-activated sprinklers about deer height and that kept them away and watered the garden.


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RE: A shady pathway suggestions please

How about an espaliered camellia? That would give you color all year round and some height, too.


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RE: A shady pathway suggestions please

I love camellias and according to Mr. Google, deer don't like them! Are there any varieties that don't have to be protected from rain in order that the flowers stay bright instead of turning brown?


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RE: A shady pathway suggestions please

Hi Dotty, I hope that some camellia gurus chime in. I first discovered espaliered camellias this spring at a local nursery. Before that, I just thought of them as a pretty shrub, like a rose without the thorns.


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RE: A shady pathway suggestions please

I think they are a beautiful shrub, handsome, dark green leaves and flowers are a bonus. We don't have many overhanging eaves on our home so have one growing in a pot outside a window under one little eave and it is like having a bunch of flowers in the house during its flowering time. It's such a pity that the flowers go brown with our rain. I'll ask on the other forum.


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RE: A shady pathway suggestions please

I like the espaliered camellia idea, look at the sasanqua varieties, they will be more amenable to trellis-growing. Another plant you might look at is the climbing hydrangea, although it might get too large and heavy for a wall-mounted trellis.

ONe of my favorite species for this situation is Sarcococca, sweet box. Like camellia it has dark green glossy leaves, and it has amazingly fragrant flowers along about February.

Hellebores, hardy cyclamen, sweet woodruff, violets, alpine lady's mantle, would all love the ground floor here. And, of course, more of that painted fern.


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RE: A shady pathway suggestions please

Himalayan maidenhair fern would be very pretty along the foundation at the start of your path. I have some in moist shade under a faucet and also on a side of my house where it gets no extra water in summer. It's easy care--you just cut it all back in late winter.

Another idea for edging is lamium. I know it can really spread in rich soil though. I have one of the silver ones with pink flowers.

I have to say I have a problem with the pink violets. Their seed heads pop and unwanted seedlings turn up all over my garden. 'Freckles' is well-behaved though.

Here is a link that might be useful: Himalayan fern

This post was edited by may_flowers on Fri, Sep 6, 13 at 11:25


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RE: A shady pathway suggestions please

If the link doesn't work (mine doesn't because I have pop-ups blocked), the link is to Great Plant Picks. That's a good resource because it's for the PNW.


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RE: A shady pathway suggestions please

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Wed, Sep 11, 13 at 16:38

I've had Camano Island deer clip camellia leaves. If you try to grow diverse plants on property where deer are not excluded you always have the limitations they impose hanging over you, with the possibility of long-ignored specimens being browsed to the quick during a hard winter - on top of everything else.

When I used to volunteer there during the early days of the Seattle Rhododendron Society taking over the Meerkerk garden on Whidbey Island I saw that the Meerkerks had non-rhododendrons planted in a fenced enclosure near the house, with most (but certainly not all) of the unprotected plantings being rhododendrons - that is how much selective pressure deer can exert.


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RE: A shady pathway suggestions please

  • Posted by corrine1 7b Pacific Northwest (My Page) on
    Thu, Sep 12, 13 at 16:52

Unfortunately, I can also report deer nibbling camellia.


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