You’ve always imagined a bright sunny cottage garden full of bloom and color. That’s always been your vision of a real garden, the type that you’ve always wanted. However, your perfect house, in that wonderful neighborhood comes with shade trees, Rhododendrons, Hostas, and Ferns. Your whole concept of gardening has to change and evolve. Instead of riotous color, you will now have to look for interest in subtle variegated leaves, varied textures, and in the patterns created by dappled sunlight filtering through the tree canopy. You’ll soon discover with a little research that there are more shade loving plants than you had realized and learning about them will lead you on a new adventure.
Perhaps you’ve always loved Japanese Maples – now you have the perfect location for one in the protected understory of your mature trees! A dark corner can be brightened with a golden hued plant such as Sum and Substance Hosta. You’ll come to learn that variegated plants are best used as accents, to pop against a solid background rather than jumbled together with other variegated plants. Plant a Toad Lily (Tricyrtis), and in late summer you will enjoy the purple speckled orchid like blooms on the arching branches. You can also develop an appreciation for the lovely silver and purple patterns in the Japanese Painted Fern, and the amazing light blue Forget-Me-Not flower types of the Siberian Bugloss (Brunnera). Lenten Roses will start your season, sometimes blooming as early as late February. Lilies of the Valley will provide a heavenly scent in early spring while Astibles will give a long bloom time mid season if you select early, mid, and late blooming varieties.
You will create curving pathways in your shade garden that lead visitors to surprising vistas. Perhaps someday you will add a bench, sculpture, or water feature as another layer of interest. Over time your shade garden will become established, multilayered, calming, and serene. Best of all, you will enjoy spending time in your shady paradise on hot humid summer afternoons while those gardening in the sun have been forced to retreat, awaiting cooler temperatures. You will truly love to garden in the shade.
–Provided by Oakland Delaware