A benefit of shade....

woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)August 17, 2013

The planting on the iron arbour in the front garden is giving a good demonstration of how shade can be valuable to help plants grow. In 2010 we stripped the arbour of the beautiful but overly vigorous honeysuckle (which had turned out to be Hall's I think) and replanted it with 'Henryi 'clematis and 'Emerald Gaiety' euonymus. A red clematis that grew with the honeysuckle has returned from the roots on one side so we've left it alone and planted a matching one on the other side. The left side of the arbour starts getting shade from the garage shortly after noon; the shade takes a couple of hours to reach the right side. We try to ensure that the right side gets more water to offset the additional sun but the plants very definitely prefer the comfort of the additional few hours of shade on the left side. It's going to take another year or two at least before the clematises on the right reach and cover the top of the arbour on the right side! Even the vigorous honeysuckle went through the same slow growth on the sunny side. The 'Luna Red' hibiscuses on the left side also bloom earlier and longer than the hibiscuses on the right side. So I never hesitate to try out 'full sun' plants where they get some shade because they can surprise you with how well they do with afternoon shade.

The arbour from the end of the path from the driveway:

You can see (by where the downspout extension is) that the garage is close by on the left (west) side. The big Viburnum opulus also adds shade on that side.

(The veronicastrum to the right of the arbour desperately needs to be cut down at this point! I wanted to leave it up for a few more days so rouge can see it but I think it's got to go now....)

A closer view of the arbour top, clearly showing the difference in the clematis growth!

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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

That is such a great arbor, Woody. Is that the one that you commissioned to your design? Are those lilies on the right of the arbor, with the old flower heads on them or is that the Veronicastrum you are looking to cut down? I'm wondering what that bush, tree is in the foreground in photo #1? Is that the Viburnum?

I have a lot of shade in my yard and I think for the most part, I'd have to agree that lots of plants like a little respite from the hottest part of the day, on the other hand, there are plants that I have tried to grow in 5 hrs of sun that sulk and are just thrilled if I move them into full sun.

I put two or three clematis on a large trellis in the past couple of years and right now, they are a tangled mess. I start out diligently trying to coax them to go where I want them, but then I get too busy or something and the next time I look at them, they're doing their own thing. Yours on the other hand, look like you are diligent in training them. Mine have a Hydrangea 'Pink Diamond' in front of the trellis that shades them a little at their base and enough room at the top to reach about 6 hours of sun.

I love your coneflowers, they have those drooping petals that I love and they look pink instead of purple, which I prefer.

This post was edited by prairiemoon2 on Sat, Aug 17, 13 at 17:12

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 1:41PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

pm2 - yes, that's the arbour Mario built for me - 10 years ago now. That was a fun project :-) I've largely given up on lilies here - lily beetles make such a mess of them! There are a few survivors that I just ignore now.... The veronicastrum is the stuff on the right that you can see has started to fall over. Once it gets to the point that most of the flower spike has turned to seed, it starts to flop over - from the weight of the seeds I think. Yes, the Viburnum opulus is the tall limbed-up bush - you can see the fruit starting to turn red if you look carefully. The fruit stays on the shrub most of the winter and is very pretty in snow. I certainly don't train my clematis in any organized fashion! As long as they're growing in the right direction, they're free to do whatever they want :-) I like to experiment a lot so I'm always willing to try things in odd places - sometimes it works better then you expect; sometimes not - but you always learn something either way....

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 5:30PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Well, what I like about the arbour is that it is nice and tall and it looks so sturdy. I seem to remember some photos of your garden when all the veronicastrum is blooming that look great. Maybe you'll post one, when you have time.

So you limbed up that Viburnum...I'm curious how you came to make that decision? I really like it, it is very surprising to see, isn't it? I bet you get a lot of comments on it. I guess that type of Viburnum is a large one, because the branches are so tall before it leafs out. It looks like an exotic. Nice job.

I used to experiment a lot but I haven't done much of that lately. Although this year, I experimented with peppers and bought two of each variety and grew one in a pot and one in the ground. That was very eye opening, how much better the peppers in the ground grew. You learn a lot that you can't really know for certain in any other way.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 6:40PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

The reason we had the arbour made was because all the ready-made ones we could find we too flimsy. This one weighs several hundred pounds I'm sure - it took two burly ironworkers to 'walk' it into place and it's set in concrete because if it ever fell over on someone they likely wouldn't survive the experience!

The pruning of the viburnum was dictated by my general pruning rule - i.e. if it's in my way when I pass by, whack off the offending bits! Since it's at the driveway end of the grass path past the garage, it would be in the way a lot if it wasn't kept limbed-up :-) The top of it also gets pruned to keep it below the roof of the garage usually, and it recently got an extra pruning on the top because the eavestroughs are due to be replaced soon so it needed some pruning for access. It's pretty when it blooms in early June. Fall color can be good sometimes but often is just so-so. But the flowers and the fruit make it a worthwhile garden addition. Here it is in June:

I'm not sure which veronicastrum picture you were thinking of.... My favorite combination with it is with the big 'White Moth' hydrangea and in this view which includes veronicastrum, the viburnum fruit and some 'Lord Baltimore' hardy hibiscus. This scene won't be repeated this year as DH accidentally cut back a lot of the 'Lord Baltimore' when he was supposed to be cutting down daisies! Oops....! :-)

That pepper experiment is one we did here too.... They definitely prefer the ground! Tomatoes too in our experience. Peas, beans, leeks, lettuce, and baby carrots on the other hand, do just fine in big pots.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 8:50PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

That arbour is not coming down any time soon then. That is heavy! I guess you could grow anything you want on that without worry about it pulling it over.

I'm going to remember your pruning rule. Something is in my way, I usually move it, but I think the pruning idea might keep some things from having to be moved. A nice creative solution at any rate, and one that I would not have thought of, and it worked beautifully.

That is a good amount of Veronicastrum. It must like your garden a lot. I tried growing it and I never see it. I put it at the back of a border and too much front of it was taller than it was and it never increased at all. That is very pretty together and I like the way the Viburnum frames the view.

Yes, tomatoes too, prefer the ground. I won't grow either of them that way again. Good to know some of these other crops will manage. I've done the pole beans I'll have to try some others. I can't help but wonder if it was in part my soil mix this year. What do you use?

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 2:44AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Pot-grown leek:

Pots of leeks, carrots, garlic and strawberries are stored in the garage for the winter. It is possible to harvest leeks and carrots from the pots well into winter.

Peas and a few other things - each pot of peas has a different variety, selected to give a long harvest by choosing different days-to-maturity:

When the peas are finished, a couple of pots are used to grow pole beans. The rest sit empty until they get used for fall 'mums, or as a temporary place to plant summer purchases until conditions are suitable for planting in the ground, or planted with lettuce or other fast crops, or planted with the current year's strawberry runners to replace the oldest pot of strawberries. The squirrels usually plant sunflowers (from seeds in the birdfeeders...) in a few of them!

Pole beans and hibiscus:

Scarlet runner beans at the red 'hummingbird' end of the south driveway border; squirrel-planted sunflowers; empty pots now filled with 'mums and pot ghetto plants....:

The driveway pots aren't particularly an outstanding aesthetic feature of the garden but they are fun things (but a PITA to keep watered!) The soil is just bagged potting soil - the type with 'water crystals' - plus a shovel full or two of compost.

What interesting things do other grow in pots? (We've wandered off topic here - perhaps a new thread would be good....?)

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 11:43AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Great photos of your 'farm' Woody. :-) It's great to find a way around a challenge. I have a little room out front for a few plants, but not as much as you do. Half my driveway is under the dripline of a mature maple, and we use the whole driveway for cars. My vegetable garden in the back is in about 6hrs of sunshine and that's it. Still enough for a lot of things but they never grow as well as if I had full sun.

I think I can fit another 4 large pots along my wide front walkway though. I had two out there this year, and I can do more next year. I just need to move a couple of plants in the bed along the walkway around.

That's a lot of peas and nice healthy leeks! What are the red flowered plants in the last two pots in that last photo?

I'd be interested in another thread on growing vegetables.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 1:25PM
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