Friday, August 27, 2010

The Grove: The Shadier Side of the Yard

Potted Palms hang out in the Grove, my new shade garden.

M Y   G A R D E N — Most of the flower photos I've posted on this blog have been from the sunnier sides of the yard. I've only planted the shady side this year, what I call the Grove in memory of a like-named section of my parent's property, and have been tinkering with it all summer. Most of the perennials were moved here after flowering, so there won't be much to see until next year, but there are a few interesting tableaux.

Dragon Wing Begonia. This plant thrives in filtered sunlight, and absolutely loves its placement this year in the newly landscaped Grove. Mary gave me this "annual" seven years ago. I cut it back and move it indoors each fall and it has done well wherever I've lived. Last winter I left it on the common sun-porch, where it was doing fine until one of the other tenants left the door open for several days, and I didn't notice it in time to close it. This plant and a couple othes were frozen. I brought this plant back to life in the spring from ONE leaf, the only leaf that didn't freeze and die. 

I moved my new pinky-blueish-lavender Hydrangea to this shadier spot in July. Just as Mary said it would, the pale pastel flowers are mellowing to an awesome cranberry color.

Solomon Seals. After doing some reading, I decided to move the Solomon Seals that came up unexpectedly in the new backyard, into my shade garden. The white bell-like flowers have given way to blueberry-like seed pods hanging down on these overgrown Lily-of-the-Valley-like ancient perennials. Make sure to click on these to enlarge them to see these very cool, very plump berries. I'm pretty surprised they've turned such a deep, dark bluish-purple color—the flowers were creamy white.

I also have my Christmas and Thanksgiving cactuses hanging out in this area for the summer. Moving them outside for a few months does wonders for them. I lost my oldest cactus last winter, after several years of declining health. It was 114 years old. The oldest one I have now is a very healthy-looking 92. My Thanksgiving cactus is a baby, it's only 35. I'll post photos of them at a later date. The oldest one is not very large to tell you the truth. It has been pruned and trimmed several times in its life, and has probably made at least fifteen additional plants which have been given to friends through the years.


  1. I love shade gardens. My dad loved to grow fuchsias and once after my folks moved to Hawaii we smuggled in a brief case full of cuttings for him. I wouldn't recommend doing THAT now, the penalties are quite sever. But he missed his beloved plants so much it was the least we could do.

    Just got the attached sent to me, now this guy is Dancing with the Stars material for sure. Enjoy!

    It look like he could balance full glasses of water on his shoulders and not spill a drop.

  2. Very nice Casey.

    The Grove sounds like a chic nightclub, but it suits a chic shade garden very well, too.

    It's nice of you to give the leaves and berries their due. Too often, the flowers get all the press.

    Friends of Foliage.

  3. I love the foliage of my plants too. I think perennial gardeners have to love the leaves and seeds/see pods, because the flowering season is such a short time with most of them.

    Annie, i can't get that link to work, it keeps jumping to MY Yahoo email page for some reason!

  4. OK, I will see if I can get it to work tomorrow. I might have to try another link and not the email link.

  5. Makes me wish growing season was just starting!! I came back with coneflower seeds from my dad and have some other colors of hollyhocks I am dying to plant plus a few other things I want to try...Need to put in some mums too I think...should be interesting to see what I wind up with...I usually "just plant" wherever..

  6. Hi Mare! welcome back, we've missed you! glad you saw your family though. I've had years when I could pick whatever I wanted to at the nursery each spring, pick the plants and colors exactly complementing each other. And I've had years when all I could grow was whatever was given to me, or whatever I could scavenge. It doesn't really matter, as long as I'm digging in the dirt, i'm happy and i can make the plants happy. I'm sure you're the same!