For better or worse, this has become a shade garden, at least parts that border a strip of forest along the southern edge of the property, in front, and along the northern border where dozens of trees I’ve planted over three decades have grown in. This leaves only an area in the center of the rear garden where there’s a spot of sun, which is mostly occupied by the large koi pond. Otherwise, only a few small areas receive any more than a few hours of direct sun. And, it’s not so bad. In fact, I think I might prefer the shade rather than a sun baked garden.
Wood spurge requires a bit of pruning to keep the spreading perennial from invading the spreading evergreen Plum yews.
Certainly, there are limitations. Finding enough soil to plant in between maple roots can be a challenge, but an aggressive wood spurge (Euphorbia robbiae) has spread through the worst of the driest shade, and hostas and ferns have managed to make the rest of it look presentable without too much effort on my part.
Gold star (Chrysogonum virginianum) slowly grows to form a mat of foliage, even in root filled soil in the shade of maples and tulip poplars.
In shade, flowers are a bit more limited, but then the gardener must learn to appreciate varying textures and shades of green. Which, I do.
Large leafed hostas with corrugated leaves resist browsing by deer.
Sporelings of Sensitive fern appear throughout the garden. Here it is growing between stones in gravel at the edge of this constructed stream. The hosta was transplanted , but blueish-green hostas seedlings regularly sprout in shaded parts of the garden.
Japanese Forest grass is slow to become established, but after a few years it grows vigorously. It is a splendid addition to the shade garden, and a wonderful complement to hostas and other broad leafed plants.
There are two distinct flowers on Twist Encore azaleas, this light colored flower which occasionally has a purple stripe, and a solid purple flower. Like colors are usually clustered on separate branches.
Twist Encore azalea is a sport of Royalty, with flowers that range from almost white to the solid purple of Royalty. Twist is the most dependable reblooming azalea in my northwest Virginia garden.
In part sun or shade, flowers of Stellar Pink dogwood rarely show any more than a trace of pink. As a younger tree Stellar Pink had disappointingly sparse blooms, but after a few years it flowered heavily. Once every ten years some mysterious combination of weather results in flowers that display more pink.
Medio variegata hosta beneath Ostrich ferns
Arrowwood viburnum at the forest’s edge.