Looking For Shade*

may-4-2009-016-2There is not a lot of shade here in the Fairegarden. Other than the tall pines at the edge of the property and a multi trunk young silver maple, what little shade there is comes from trees we planted. The oldest trees are a row of Hemlocks, Tsuga canadensis that were planted along the fence line at the top of the slope, behind the knot garden. When they were planted by the semi adult offspring, there was no knot garden. There was a tangled thicket of wild things, including rotting apple trees full of wasp nests. That space had been cleared momentarily for the building of the fencing to surround the main house, the only house at that time. Those conifers have grown to over twenty feet in height and have been spared by the insect damage from Adelges tsugae (Woolly Adelgid) that has taken down these trees in the wild. So far, anyway. I love the colors of the baby cones, a good reminder of the beauty of greens and blues together in the garden or out.october-26-2008-064-2Planted on the same day are a row of Pyracantha coccineas along the eastern border behind the shed. Click here to read their story. On the shed is a giant windchime purchased in Texas. Finding the right spot for this behemoth has been a problem after Ferngully died. Those tall strong branches were the perfect home for this massive musical marvel. The last hemlock of the line can be seen in the corner. This is a shady retreat but a little hidden from the rest of the garden. april-12-2009-024-2Structures have been built to seek respite from the blazing sun. Kitty decided to enter into the camera shot with a quick leap up the six by six ten foot tall posts. What an athlete. The rising sun in the background gives a preview of the rays to come. By the way, the giant windchime has been moved to this arbor, built last summer by offspring Gardoctor. You can read that story by clicking here if you wish.january-4-2008-056-21These two adirondack chairs, plastic from the grocer’s last year, were to be situated under the arbor for comfortable seating with a good view of the garden. A couple of problems were discovered for that idea. First the ground slants quite dramatically under there. It is in the process of being built up to level with leavings from the garden that are not good for the compost bin such as twigs, weeds and larger woody perennial stalks. We could get a load of soil, but that would be too easy. The second issue is the lack of shade. Even the cross beams allow too much sun during hot summer days for our comfort. Many vines have been planted along the posts and someday will provide that needed shade.may-3-2009-063-2For now these Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Boulevard’ shrubs are allowing this exact placement of the chairs to be a cool relief for a quick sit down break between gardening chores or strolls.may-3-2009-066-2There are many plants growing here that would appreciate some more shade, like this unknown Thalictrum dug from a friend’s mountain property years ago. Maybe there will be an ID from this nearly blooming photo.may-3-2009-070-22There are several woodland plants that are managing without a lot of shade, like the Epimediums. This one is most likely E. sulphureum. They have been divided and spread about without keeping track of their true identities.april-21-2009-024-2This woodland lover, Erythronium ‘Pagoda’ has bloomed poorly the last several years and would love to be moved to the back woodland garden corner. Maybe division would help the blooming pick up a bit?april-19-2009-050-2We adore the heuchera family, especially H. villosa hybrids like this H. villosa ‘Miracle’ given us by two offspring, Brokenbeat and Chickenpoet. More shade would let them reach their full potential foliage-wise.may-3-2009-069-2A new addition to this corner by the slowly composting ferngully mass is Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Lemon Daddy’. A birthday gift from offspring Semi, now all four of the offspring have been mentioned in this post, strictly by coincidence. The yellow leaves are already brightening a somewhat dull spot. Blooms will be a bonus.may-3-2009-059-2The term somewhat dull rather than pure D dull was used to descibe this area, because there is still a shot of color here before summer begins. One of the last to bloom deciduous azaleas, R. ‘Cannon’s Double’ is showing off amid the self sown seedlings of dark blue and purple columbines, Aquilegia ssp. This one sits a little off from the hedgerow of azaleas and cannot be presented in the group shots of those beauties. One more creature looking for shade to wrap up this offering to the Gardening Gone Wild monthly Garden Bloggers Design Workshop topic of Made For Shademay-3-2009-077-2It is Kitty again, this time hiding out in the green and growing taller Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ grass.


(All photos is this post were taken with the Canon Powershot A720 IS.)

*Idea from the song title Lookin’ For Love (In All The Wrong Places) by Johnny Lee.

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35 Responses to Looking For Shade*

  1. Hi Frances, I can provide you with a lot of shade… but you’d have to come over here! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Beautiful photos. You have such interesting plant combinations. Your azalea is exquisite! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I hope to get a post finished on this subject, too… however, I’ve been posting shady posts for awhile, now that Spring has arrived!

    Hi Shady, thanks, but we will wait the shade to grow here. I know you are an expert on shade gardening and look forward to seeing your post. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Racquel says:

    True shade is at a premium in my garden too Frances. I create my own with Nandinas/Hydrangea paniculatas trimmed up into tree forms.

    Hi Racquel, thanks. I love those peegees in tree form and have a couple. Mine are not giving much shade though. The loss of the giant maple was such a hit here. We are working on the trees we have planted to keep growing. The dogwoods especially are beginning to give some shade to the slope and there is a row of river birch along the west lower fence that is huge! Talk about a fast growing tree.

  3. gittan says:

    Hi Frances, I’m doing the opposite. Trying hard to plant some more trees BUT I don’t want the shade. My garden is in the wrong direction and that brings us more shade than we want. The new walled bed will include a place where we (finaly) can sit in the evening and have SUN! That ‘Miracle’ was a beauty! I do love those Heucheras as well and have a small collection that keeps growing =)

    Hi Gittan, thanks. Many of the heucheras do not like our hot humid summers, but I love the few that do with H. villosa in their makeup. I do like the sun in winter and will sit in a spot then, bundled up when the sun does shine. We have more than our share of sun in the summer however. Good to hear you will now have a choice spot to soak up the rays. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Hi Frances

    You’ll have to create some extra shade and get addicted to growing ferns!

    I’ve recently discovered just how beautiful heuchera are. I recently bought some ‘caramel’, first ever heuchera purchase.


    Hi Rob, I am already addicted to ferns! You would be surprised at how many of them can take quite a bit of sun. Caramel is one of the H. villosas that do well here. I adore that color! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. tina says:

    I love the shade, though it can be challenging. Those hemlocks are mighty mighty special. I love the evergreens. I think once your red bud gets bigger it might give you some shade? That’s where the woodland garden is located right? It’s been a while. I say go get some soil, build a small patio under the arbor or over your deck and you will be all set. Love the blue of the chairs!

    Hi Tina, thanks. I think what you might have seen back in the woodland corner is the coral bark maple? I do have forest pansy under the pines where there is shade already most of the day. If I said the word there would be an overbuilt patio under the arbor in the blink of an eye. I sometimes prefer the slower natural way, it also gives me a good place to dump all that garden waste and make a good base for a bed around the arbor too. The men in my family don’t seem to be able to build anything small. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I planted one hemlock in our garden. It is so tiny I can’t imagine it growing so big. Maybe you need aderondack chairs for your hilly spot. They are made in that odd slant to set on the mountain sides comfortably. Great photos.

    Hi Lisa, thanks for that. I wondered why they lean back so far! HA

  7. Brenda Kula says:

    If I’d known you wanted a fast growing vine, I’d have sent you some of my harvest of Hyacinth bean vine seeds from last year. Now I don’t have any left. I ordered them from Renee’s Heirloom seeds. Those vines grow very quickly and the leaves are pretty big.

    Hi Brenda, that is generous of you, thanks. I actually took some of those bean seeds from the seed exchange that Monica sponsored and have planted them in a planter under the arbor! Great minds, once again. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Sweet Bay says:

    Love the โ€˜Cannonโ€™s Doubleโ€™ Azalea. It’s gorgeous.

    One thing I’ve noticed about shade — it never seems to be where you want it.

    Hi Sweetbay, thanks, that color and flower form is unique among the azaleas. It is very easy to grow too. How interesting what you have to say about shade, see the next comment! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Shade is a weird thing – it is usually in the places you don’t want…

    I love the leaf color of your H. macrophylla
    ‘Lemon Daddy’

    Hi Ewa, thanks and welcome to the alternative universe? I thought for sure you had visited since I moved to wordpress. Sorry for missing that and you are now on the blogroll, where you belong! Funny you should say that about shade, see the previous comment! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. teza says:

    Ahhh, the joys of gardening in the shade – no sunburn! I love your H. villosa ‘Miracle’ – I have ‘Tiramisu,’ the new sister-hybrid, but it didn’t really give the colours that it boasted on the tag! Hopefully this year!

    Your Erythronium is divine! Between it and Trilliums, I am hard pressed for a more beautiful ephemeral. Oh, what colour are the flowers (or masses of stamens as the case usually is) on the Thalictrum? How tall is it?
    I may be able to help ID it…. the nursery where I worked last year carried no less than 10 different species and they quickly became a topic of lustful interest… go figure! Gotta’ love that new camera, but we must remember it’s the photog who creates the wonderful tapestries that the lens captures…. stunning work as always!

    Hi Teza, thanks. I was longing for Tiramisu, maybe my desire has now cooled. I will wait to see how yours performs this year. The Erythronium has white flowers, although the flowers look like shredded bits and the flower stalks are tall, between four to five feet. It has finally seeded around and there will be a nice stand of it in the corner when the seedlings mature. It was dug from a shady woodland area in the Smokey Mountains not far from us. The leaves have that sort of Aquilegia look, with sort of blue cast. It dies back completely in winter. Hope you can ID it from that info. I am sure it is a Tennessee native. Those photos are from the old camera, it is still the go to one for now. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Doing great with that camera! The cones look like ornate Easter eggs hanging on the limbs…ofcourse I also see faces in clouds!

    Hi Princess, thanks so much. You do know that is the old camera, right? You are indeed an artistic person. I am in love with both clouds and those cones. The colors are something I had never noticed before. I believe they will turn solid green before going brown later in the year.

  12. Patsi says:

    Pretty pretty pretty even pretty kitty !
    What are the row of gray low grass like plants in the second chair picture? Very cool.
    Haven’t been in the garden for weeks…hope I don’t have the same bug problems like in past years.

    Hi Patsi, thanks, and Kitty says purrr. The grass is blue fescue, an evergreen workhorse here. The color is fantastic and it takes to dividing very well. I use it to fill is spaces until I figure out what to plant there. Sometimes it gets to stay, like in this more shady corner. I really love it with the Halcyon Blue hostas. We have had so much rain, we fear the insects will be mammoths.

  13. Hi Frances! Aw, the baby blue cones are soooo sweet as are the little trout lilies. Noogie! And I’m sure I’ve remarked before that Kitty looks like Fiona. Is she a dilute tortie? (BTW, I answered your comment about clothes for Chicago on my blog. K!)

    Hi Monica, thanks for the info on the dress code for SF. I do have a new purse, light weight but big enough for those things. Kitty is a solid gray, like a Russian Blue if he was a pure bred. He is very sleek and a large boy, even though he is neutered. Your Fiona and Jimi are beauties too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Catherine says:

    Sometimes I feel we have the opposite problem. Too much shade. I love ‘Lemon Daddy’, what color will the flowers be?

    Hi Catherine, thanks. The tag said it would be the standard macrophylla either light pink if alkaline or light blue if acid. Ours is acid and they are normally blue. Late frosts often zap the blooms of most of my older varieties that bloom on old wood. Dooley, the original plant for the Endless Summer hybrids will bloom on new and old wood and when it blooms is always blue. Hydrangeas have been problematic here with the drought of the last two years. Lots of rain this year might turn it around we hope.

  15. At least you have lots of flowers to choose from to plant in the sunny areas!

    Hi Gisele, so true. We are lucky to have both sun, lots of it, and some shade to be able to grow most plants. The thing we lack is wet. We have none of that with our hill, the slope continues on down the other side of the street to a creek at the back of our neighbor’s property.

  16. Gail says:

    It may not be as shady as some shade gardens, Frances, but the images sure do evoke the cool air of shade and the sweet smell of damp earth! I have that same thalictrum and have the tag someplace! I’ll look for it! gail

    Hi Gail, thanks. There are shady spots, small areas of welcome relief in summer. Good deal on that thalictrum. I rarely take photos of it, it is difficult to get a decent shot and not that showy anyway. Now that it has seeded about, the impact will improve. I love the foliage.

  17. chuck b. says:

    You just need a beach umbrella to go with those chairs.

    Hi Chuck, we do need a beach umbrella. I think we retired the open tent thingey that we always take to the beach last year. Maybe several. ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Sonia/Miss Bloomers says:

    Such a beautiful array of flowers and photographs. Love you blog! Miss Bloomers

    Hi Sonia/Miss Bloomers, thanks and welcome. So glad you enjoy visiting. ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. marmee says:

    lovely first photo but so are all the others. we have good amounts of both sun and shade. i like having both to see where things do best…i was wondering if you have had your heuchera go to flowering? are you supposed to let that happen? or trim them off>? thank you.

    Hi Marmee, thanks. Many of the heucheras are flowering now. We leave them, for many of ours will seed about giving exciting new leaf colors. Most of the babies are a mottled green, but we love and keep them all.

  20. Kanak says:

    Stunning views again. Great combination of plants…I like the colours of H.Vilosa miracle and the Epimediums.

    Hi Kanak, thanks so much. There is not a lot of thought that goes into the combos, just looking for a place to stick something most of the time. Once in a while it works out, like those blues, a happy coincidence. ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Randy says:

    I never tire of seeing photos of your wonderful garden! Just beautiful!

  22. I’m so glad your hemlocks are escaping the blight in the wild; I think that’s one thing gardeners can do for wild populations, maintain healthy versions of afflicted plants.

    I took your pyracantha link and was gratified to see that you have some of the same childhood memories I do. One of the first plants to impress its personality on me.

    About the Erythronium: I’m not clear if this variety is related to our western version (it has a similar color), but since you mention heavy rains in one of your comments, I will say that the wild Erythroniums here grow on slopes and don’t get summer water.

  23. DP says:

    Kitty seems like she’s having a wonderful time outside, climbing and frolicking in the garden.

    The pagoda flower is lovely. I hope you are more successful with it in the future!

  24. commonweeder says:

    This post could have been named Looking for Shades of Green. I don’t know that you were trying, but you’ve given us so many shades of foliage. Everything is so beautiful in tennesee.

  25. Jackie says:

    The blue chairs are so beautiful! I love that color! They look great in the garden. I’ve got lots of shade where I am… hey I’ll trade ya. LOL –Jackie

  26. Barbara says:

    Frances, I’ve never noticed the little cones on my hemlock when they were that beautiful blue & green. I’m going to go out and see what I can find on mine. Funny how life goes, just as I’ve learned to cherish all my shade, we’ve started to lose a number of our old trees. Although I’ve found that the neighbours’ trees – even in their advanced age often manage to put out new branches to fill the canopy left empty.

  27. joey says:

    You are right on in your eye-catching photo about blue/green, Frances … love my hemlocks also. They are near the house (surrounded by them at the lake) and shade one of my hosta/maidenhair fern/astilbe beds and do I ever the heuchera family! Always a joy visiting your fairegarden … it’s very hard to leave!

  28. Sue says:

    You live in a lovely area, there! Another reason not to have the chairs under the arbor could be, if you have birds like mine, they like to sit on top and use it as a restroom. I like the close up and farther back photos. Your cat looks deep in thought.

  29. greenwalks says:

    Hi Frances – I guess everything is bigger in Texas, including windchimes! I love the blue-green of those cones, and I was just thinking the colors of that azalea with the purple columbine were so breathtaking as I read your description, it looks pretty un-dull to me! Thanks for sharing your camera info, I have some birthday money burning a hole in my pocket to replace my broken Nikon and had been seriously considering switching to a Canon. Now I’m sold!

  30. Whenever I visit your blog, my mouth is always wide open! Well, it’s the same here too – I have no shade, well of course, you can’t expect shade in terrace, can you? I gotta live with that – at least for now. Interesting foliage – the best feature of your posts.

  31. mothernaturesgarden says:

    The little blue cones are charming. I need more evergreens in my garden. Your garden is inspiring. I haven’t had a wind chime in some time. I may make a Mother’s Day suggestion.

  32. linda says:

    Oh my goodness Frances, your gardens are just so darned gorgeous!

    If I could I’d gladly box up some of my shade and send it down your way! I must admit, though gardening in it presents challenges, I love the cool shade and gardening in it’s growing on me.

    Hi Linda, thanks for that. A shady spot is so welcome here with our hot summers. Finding relaxing places to sit and contemplate the garden are treasured, even if the sun allows so many plants to grow and prosper. ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. Genevieve says:

    Frances, I am in love with your shady plants. That Erythronium makes me swoon! I’ve never seen that cool Heuchera variety either. Neat-o. I love the way your photography makes me see even common plants in a new way.

    Hi Genevieve, thanks, what a nice compliment. H. Brownie is worth seeking out if you can grow heucheras. It is the fastest growing one we have.

  34. hayefield says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this for the GGW Design Workshop, Frances. I love your shot of those blue chairs!

  35. Pingback: GBDW - Made for the Shade Wrap-Up

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