Tag Archives: planting a shade garden

Anniversary Garden

The hubs and I celebrated our fourth anniversary over Memorial Day weekend. We are a sucker for tradition and stick to the classic list of anniversary gifts. Each year it has been fun to come up with something clever to give one another. We’ve conquered paper, cotton, leather and this year fruit or flowers. While I may beam from a dozen roses, surprising my husband with a basket of fruit or homemade jam just didn’t seem good enough. Therefore, we decided to go in on our gift together.

If you remember last year, I talked about planting a shade garden. We worked on ripping up the old ground cover from the side of the house and took out some shrubs. By the time I was motivated to plant, it was too late in the season. This year, we gave each other the gift of beautiful landscaping and had fun picking out flowers and sprucing up the side walkway of our house.

To dedicate the shade garden, I painted a rock I found in our yard with our anniversary date. I freehanded the letters in pencil and painted them in with some leftover paint I had laying around the house. Now, as we walk past our pretty flowers, we both feel a little extra love.

I researched the best flowers to grow with little sunlight in Wisconsin. We already have bunches of purple daylilies whose blooms we have been enjoying lately. We have also mixed in a few varieties of hostsas. I wanted to add some color at other parts of the season, so I added some astilbes and coral bells to the mix to brighten it up. While you may not be able to see them yet, I also placed Northern Sea Oats to give some height and depth to the garden. We fixed up the edging and added some cypress mulch. We couldn’t be happier with the transformation!

I will share more pictures with you later in the season and next year, when our small plants blossom and bloom!

Do you stick with the traditional anniversary gifts? If so, I’d love to hear your clever ideas!

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Planting a Shade Garden

Ever since we moved into our house, I’ve had dreams of walking down our stone path to the backyard with colorful bursts of flowers spraying in all directions. Besides planting a few hostas here and there, I don’t have much experience with planting in the shade. I decided this year is the year. So here is what I am working with:

My husband and I started by ripping up all of the ground cover. Helpful for soaking up water and keeping the soil moist, but not the look I want to go for. I am sure we will be working to get rid of this completely for years, but for now, we have this:

And if you are paying extra special attention, you’ll notice our newest edition in the back. Our  brand new, eco-friendly, garden-loving, sewer-helping rain barrel! I’ve been entertaining the idea of getting a rain barrel for awhile now. I love the thought of using the wonderful rain water that would otherwise fill the gutters, and pool in the small dip in our yard. Using it to water our plants and herbs sounds like a much better idea, so we buckled and bought the Fiskars Rain Barrel. And so far so good!

So now that my rain barrel is in place and my ground cover is ripped up, I will make the trek to the garden shops this weekend to pick out my shade plants. This side of my house faces northeast and is bordered by some large oak trees. The plants toward the front of the garden get some sunlight throughout the day, but anything planted toward the wall, sees almost no sun. I’m more interested in planting perennials so I only have to plant one time rather than planting and replanting every year.

I want to create depth by having some taller grasses and ferns in the back, interspersing colors throughout. Here are some species of plants I’ve found that I am going to try incorporate in my dream shade garden:

From left to right, clockwise, Astilbe Fireberry, Lilyturf, Lungwort, Coral Bells. (whiteflowerfarms.com)

Ultimately, I want to create a look similar to this:

http://www.livdesigns.net & www.perennialnursery.com

And out I go to start the process. If anyone has any suggestions on great shade perennials, I would love to hear them! I will post my pictures once my garden is in full bloom. What is your garden project this summer?



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