Monday, July 28, 2014

Shady Lady

Traditional Landscape by Bolingbrook Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Hursthouse Landscape Architects and Contractors

"To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment."
                                                                                      -- Jane Austen

I have a great fondness for shadowy gardens. Yep, I'm a shady lady for sure.

On the bald hilltop, it took eight years for the crepe myrtle to become a shade tree. As a novice gardener, it took me a while to catch on about what to plant where. In the fall, I'll be busy moving sun lovers to another area.

Until then, I've been reading about shade gardens.
Hydrangeas thrive in dappled light.
Traditional Landscape by Kansas City Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Richard Clayton Barrett

This home was designed by Linda Floyd. It's a fairy tale house, with ferns and ivy growing like crazy.
Traditional Landscape by San Jose Interior Designers & Decorators Linda L. Floyd, Inc., Interior Design

Another look at the shade garden. The foxgloves are in full bloom.
Traditional Landscape by San Jose Interior Designers & Decorators Linda L. Floyd, Inc., Interior Design

A path curves through a green-and-white shade garden. 
Doesn't it look calm and inviting?
Traditional Garage And Shed

Don't they look luscious against cedar shake?
Rustic Landscape by Andover Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Paul Maue Associates Landscape Architects

A border that delights the eye and imagination. The "before" and "after" is amazing. Not only did the hydrangeas add color, they gave a privacy layer.
This year, I bought several "endless summer" hydrangeas, 
and I have fretted over them like a new mom.
Ajuga is another good choice for shady areas. 
My mother says it's a bit invasive, but she adores the purple blooms.
Hostas are reliable in the shade. I love to plant them in front of huge hydrangeas so they'll form a green border. Below, they hug the edges of a path.
Traditional Landscape by Kennett Square Photographers

A fern border is ladylike. . . yet untamed (like Jane Austen's characters).
In this border, purple astilbe and pink-purple hydrangeas tower fetchingly over boxwoods.

Gardeners love the shade-tolerant foxglove, which is the mainstay of English cottage beds.
Mediterranean Landscape by Van Nuys General Contractors {environmental concept}

A shady path beckons, drawing you past white birch trees, where alliums float above lamb's ear and purple catmint. 
Contemporary Landscape by Winchester Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC

There's something to be said about a monochromatic bed. It's so pleasing to the eye, with shades of green and a charming mix of shapes and textures.
For moist, partly-shaded beds, you can count on the primrose.
Landscape by Vancouver Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers CYAN Horticulture

Hand's down, I love hydrangeas the most.

My impatiens are in part-sun, and they struggled until the crepe myrtle leafed out. Now, they've grown into a poofy border.

 My garden buddy, Zap, waits patiently while I pull weeds.

 What are your favorite shade plants?


  1. Each photo is incredible and very relaxing on the eye. <y favorites are hydrangeas, hostas, ferns, and of course boxwoods. I enjoy the smell of boxwoods.

    1. Love boxwood wreaths during the holidays!

  2. Pretty gardens. My garden is very shady so I am always tweaking my beds trying new plants. I have over eighty hydrangeas and many camelias that keep me busy. Hostas, coleus, impatients, begonias, phlox and yarrow are staples for me. I love foxgloves and grew them for years but they have become more expensive and harder to find in our area .My goal is to have more perennials that I like because I need less maintenance each year. Gardening is rewarding but you are never through. Very similar to blogging.

    1. Bonnie, that's a great plant list. I moved my foxgloves, and they aren't doing well. So true about the analogy between gardening and blogging!

  3. I've a fondness for shade gardens too! Your inspiration photos are lovely. Our back garden is a shade garden, though we lost a tree and parts get more afternoon sun now. It definitely changes the dynamic of things. I like to keep the shade garden simple with a variety of textures from green leaves. If I plant things that bloom, I like to keep to white bloomers. White blooms offer a cool feeling in the summer heat and reflect light at night.
    I agree with Bonnie……..gardening is very rewarding but one is never finished. There is always more to do!

  4. I am also in love with hydrangeas, they are very easy to root and several years ago we were given clippings by an elderly friend. Last year they bloomed beautifully, this year not a single bloom. :(
    We have lots of shade so the hydrangeas do get dappled light. Go figure??

    Mary L