Monday, November 7, 2011

The First Year of a Shade Garden

This year I put in a shade garden on the north side of the Red House.   I love shade gardens and was really excited about planting it.  Here is a look at its progression this year.


I tilled up the area and added compost.


I added 'Candy Mountain' foxgloves, 'June' hostas, white bleeding hearts, ostrich ferns, pink impatiens, and Double Fiesta Olé Purple impatiens.

I loved the white bleeding hearts.  Hopefully they will return next year even larger!

I added the foxglove to my shade garden as they tend to fry if they get too much sun here in North Carolina, but I think this was a little too much shade for them.  Next year I will try foxgloves somewhere with a little more sun.  The drainage issues that my clay causes is another challenge for them.


In June I had planted a Clematis pitcheri and some violets I had grown from seed.  It's August, and the violets are still going strong!  (Ignore all the weeds..)


This month saw my favorite addition to the shade garden - a little moss garden.  As you can see, the impatiens loved the cooler weather.  The Clematis pitcheri bloomed, but it really needs to be in a sunnier place next year.

Clematis pitcheri

 Impatiens are still going strong!


Things are winding down in the garden now.

This winter we hope to do something about the drainage issue with the path, as it right now it channels water down from our sloping back yard and becomes a soggy mess when it rains.

One thing I wish I had in the shade garden was a small seating area.  It's the only part of the yard that I want to be in during the blisteringly hot summertime!  The big log seat you see there on the other side of the path is in sun for most of the day.  

 Maybe next year...


  1. It is so nice to watch the evolution of a planting bed. You did a great job. It is so beautiful and will be even more beautiful next year.

  2. Great choice of plants! I love the white bleeding heart and the hosta.
    What is the edging, river rocks? I like the free flowing form :)

  3. I love your format and being able to see the garden change from month to month. It is really pretty, and so colorful. Oh, definitely add a place to sit. Isn't it amazing how fast plants can grow?!

  4. Looks great and has come along nicely in its first year! Well done! I really like the stump! I have several as well and I use them to put pots on and as they rot I put plants in them. They love the decaying matter.

  5. It is always fun to plant a new bed and watch how it develops. I only have a one place which gets no sun and find it very hard to know what to plant there. You reminded me that one year I did have impatiens there which was very colorful, like yours. I love the white C pitcheri. I have a purple one but have never seen the white form. Have you planted any bulbs for a spring show?

  6. So far so good! I love my garden bench under the Japanese maple on the shady side of the house. I see you've got a little maple tree of your own started there. Aren't they the prettiest little things?

  7. How fun to watch your garden grow. Enjoy the progression as the plants fill in. A comfy place to sit and enjoy the cool of the shade would be a great addition.

  8. ALways great to see a garden grow with Before & After shots. You've done a great job Indie, can't wait to see it grow more next year xx

  9. Very interesting to see how the bed progressed and which plants did well. I like both the pink and white Bleeding Hearts but the white one does show to advantage in the shade.

  10. It's always exciting to plant a new bed and watch its progression. Yours is looking great in its first season.

    I have had limited success with foxgloves, for the same reasons you gave. I still am trying to find the perfect spot where they can grow to their potential. Surely, in my huge garden, there is bound to be someplace they will be happy!

  11. Sage Butterfly - Thank you! I am looking forward to seeing what I have to work with after the annuals die off and I am left with the perennials.

    Evelyn - The rocks are actually rocks that I've dug out of my garden. We found a lot of rocks when digging a patio out, so I thought I would put them to good use!

    HolleyGarden - Thank you! I am a very impatient gardener, so it is good for me to go back and realize how much the plants actually did grow :)

    Karin - I love my stumps as well! At least something good came out of cutting down our giant oaks that became diseased. I have three sections of stumps in the garden.

    Lancashire rose - Mine does seem to be more white than most pitcheri. The tops of my blooms are a lavender color. I haven't planted any bulbs in the shade garden yet - I have been so busy with other areas of the garden - but that is a great suggestion!

    Katie - I love Japanese maples! Sadly mine is going to have to move, as it is really too close to the house and gets too much sun.

  12. Garden Sense - I do think a seat would be a great addition - I'm going to have to look for a good one!

    Jane - Thanks! I'm hoping my perennials will really grow next year, especially the bleeding hearts!

    easygardener - I actually do have some pink bleeding hearts in there that I planted later on so I never got to see them bloom. Hopefully they'll do well next spring and look good next to the white ones!

    debsgarden - I love foxgloves so much, too! I'm hoping after a bit more amendment, my garden will be more agreeable for them!

  13. Thank you for the welcome and stopping by my blog. Your shade garden looks incredible, especially since it's the first year. I'm curious, I love Violets and you said your grew yours from seed. Any specialy tips you can give me. I've actually started looking at Violet seeds, but I really don't have much experience with growing from seed.

  14. Garden Fairy - Thanks! Last year was the first year I grew them from seed, so I'm no expert. I planted the seeds in those big plastic trays with the seed starting pellets. I kept them in a cool, dark room until they sprouted and then afterwards gave them more light. I followed the directions on the seed starting tray as far as keeping the cover on at first and then gradually exposing the seedlings to the elements.

    Good luck with growing yours from seed!


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