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Shade Plants that kick aster ;-)

Posted by christinmk z5b eastern WA (My Page) on
Tue, Jan 15, 13 at 18:43

Rouge asked on another thread what types of unusual/rare shade plants I was wanting. I'll start another thread on it rather than hijack that post completely ;-) Not all are exactly "rare", but most are at least interesting I think (least to my way of thinking!).

Here is the "dream list" I have stashed away on my computer. It's rather a bittersweet read for me everytime I look at it because a) I have very little good shade left, unless I were to grow some of these guys in containers... b) some might not me available here and c)some are super $$ ;-)

Anyhoo, here she be (and if anyone wants to post their own "shade plant dream list" here feel free!):

-Anemonella thalictroides- 'Shoaff's Double Pink' and maybe 'Green Dragon' or others that are double

-Anemonopsis macrophylla

-Asarum splendens- silver mottled foliage. Z6 hardy?

-Asplenium scolopendrium Fern- any of the CRESTED forms
-Corydalis solida, & Blackberry Wine & George P. Baker...oh heck, any and all ;-)

-Deinanthe caerulea 'Blue Wonder' (started some D. bifida, the white flowered species, from seed a couple years ago. At least I think that's what it is, either that or the first weed that barely grows an inch a year, LOL!!!)

-Disporium Cantonese 'Night Heron'- variegated forms??? would rather have some of the unusual polygonatums instead...

-Epimedium epstenii & chlorandrum or membranaceum- possibly others

-Glaucidium palmatum- pink form only

-Helleborus- Any or several to f these: *Swirling Skirts(double white with green tint early on) or Mrs. Betty Ranicar----- From the Winter Jewels Series: Onyx Odyssey(dbl. black)- Jade Star(sin. green w/deep purple veining)- Amber Gem (dbl. peach/pink)- Golden Lotus (awesome dbl. yellow)

-Polygonatum Green Hankies & Betberg-- P. hookeri- (I dread to think how $$$ some of the rarer variegated, silver striped, and golden varieties are!!! When Asiatica was still around they were well over a hundred bucks each, lol)

-Porteranthus (Gillenia) trifoliate (trifoliata) 'Pink Profusion'- pink bowman's root! (wonder just how pink this guy is??)

-Sanicula carelessness- blue sanicle- looks like meadow rue-like only blue!

- Syneilesis aconitifolia (Shredded Umbrella Plant)- (where to put, where to put???)

Vancouveria chyrsantha

I would also like some Double Hepatica, but I know those would cost a small fortune, lol. I think Asiatica once had one listed at over $300 ;-)

One plant I do NEED for the shade garden is a Rodgersia. I'm just having a heck of a time deciding which one I want! All those on the Rodgersia thread here (awhile ago...) were sooooo tempting ;-]
CMK


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Shade Plants that kick aster ;-)

Pretty fancy list! :-) I stick to pretty basic stuff these days because a lot of my shade is pretty tough conditions. I focus on making pretty/interesting combinations as much as possible. Green and white are the dominant colors.

Rodgersia you definitely need. I prefer Rodgersia aesculifolia, which I think has the nicest shaped leaves - which get huge! And if you like huge leaves, you need it's relative Astilboides tabularis! That one needs lots of water. It grows best for me at the end of a downspout that is also near a neighbour's downspout, so when it rains, the Astilboides gets lots of water! This is some astilboides in late May before they're full size:
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I like white corydalis - it's almost evergreen and blooms from very early spring until late November. It's almost a groundcover here, filling in around other things.

I like big leaves so have quite a few of the big-leafed hostas, especially the blue ones. I finally found an Empress Wu hosta late last summer. It's supposed to be the largest hosta. I hope it survived the late planting and does well this year....

I'm itchin' for spring already and looking at 2012 photos, planning for this year. So I'll bore you with a few pictures of things I particularly like in the shade garden here :-)

I really like this young fringetree which I planted in the patio hosta bed in 2010. The big old white ash tree that shades much of the backyard will inevitably succumb sometime soon to either or both of EAB or old age, so I've been planting ornamental trees that can live with the ash for now and which will help protect the shade plants when the ash eventually dies. You can see some of the white corydalis in the background in this picture:
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This picture is less about specific plants than about what I'm trying to do to make a sort of tunnel/arbour effect with the beautybush against the house and the white redbud tree under the red oak. I like how it's developed so far but more growth and more pruning is required to fill it in.
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This is a silver combination I'm working on - Jack Frost brunnera, El Nino hosta and Branford Beauty fern (too small to be visible yet in this picture). The tall white-flowering plant is Persicaria polymorpha, which does surprisingly well in shade. There is also an Emerald Gaiety euonymus just visible on the left. It all makes for a startlingly bright spot under the shade of the white pines, especially when viewed from the back porch or living room window.
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This is a picture from 2010 but it's a combination I look forward to every May when the trilliums bloom. The trilliums have been seeding around like mad the last few years so the babies will soon be starting to bloom too.
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For the most part these days, I focus on making - in Gertrude Jekyll's words - 'pretty incidents' with not uncommon plants - although I'm always on the look-out for suitable new things for the garden! Spring can't come soon enough for me!


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Thanks so much CMK for starting this thread and what a great first follow-up post 'woody'...wonderful pictures!

As always it is so difficult to quantify how much/little sun permits the plants listed in this thread to thrive (or maybe at the least...hold their own).

In any event just below are the (somewhat unique?) plants that I so enjoy in the shade areas of my garden.

- Persicaria "Golden Arrow" (one of my favorite plants in our garden regardless of the light aspect)

- Aralia "Sun King" (wonderful chartreuse colour)

- Chelone lyonii "Hot Lips" (great flowers, great foliage)

- Corydalis Lutea (a bloom machine)

- Columbine "Origami Blue & White" (just love those flowers)

- Brunnera "Jack Frost" (I know you all know this i.e. the true importance of foliage in a garden but I kind of thought this was a bit of a cop out...a mantra for people liking hostas ;); but it finally did sink in for me for real seeing my JFrost nestled in amongst some other shade plants.)

- Anemone in the "Pretty Lady" Series (these dwarf Japanese anemones are an improvement over the traditional much taller, much more spreading anemones)

- "Sweet Autumn Clematis" (I am always surprised at how well it performs in relatively low light)

- Spigelia marilandica "Indian Pink" (such unique flowers)

This post was edited by rouge21 on Wed, Jan 16, 13 at 8:57


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RE: Shade Plants that kick aster ;-)

Do you "Shadys" have experience with Actaea ('Bugbane'?) in a shade garden?

I see newer varieties listed in 2013 catalogues...specifically
"Misty Blue" and "Chocoholic".


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Actaea is a great part shade plant. I've heard some folks grow them in a sunnier site, but I find they burn to a crisp here if they don't get a bit of shade. The only diff between 'Misty Blue' and the species is that the cultivar has a silver sheen to the foliage. I wasn't all that impressed with it at the nursery, although looks may improve in an actual garden setting.

Here is my A. simplex 'Atropurpurea' at the edge of my shade garden:
Actaea simplex 'Atropupurea'- bugbane, A dark leafed bugbane that starts out in spring with blackish/chocolate burnished foliage that to more of a dark green as season progresses. Stems remain a dark color. Late fall blooming with terrible smelling creamy white flowers.

-woody, I didn't know Astilboides bloomed tails ;-D That really is a cool plant. Adore your fringe tree! Love the idea of a silver garden (pairs so nicely with white, btw). Have you ever thought of planting some silver foliaged hardy Cyclamen there? I started some from seed and they are AMAZING. Plus they like it on the dry side!
That R. aesculifolia does have the best looking flowers. Too bad they are white...I tend to go for color. I was thinking of giving either R. pinnata 'Firewroks' or 'Superba' (the pink version, guess color ranges?).
CMK


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CMK wrote: One plant I do NEED for the shade garden is a Rodgersia. I'm just having a heck of a time deciding which one I want!

Last fall I picked up my first RODGERSIA...."Bronze Peacock". (I really should have put a marker for it as I am not precisely sure where I planted it).

If it does return I will plant more. I see in my nursery's on-line catalogue they list a couple of varieties that I don't recall seeing previously i.e.

"Cherry Blush" and "Bloody Mary"


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CMK - I tend to cut the flowers off both rodgersia and astilboides pretty quick - it's really the leaves you grow them for. The flowers are just a messy distraction! Astilboides flowers, in particular, seem to be too heavy for their stems and flop over easily, so off with their heads!

I've not tried too many hardy cyclamens here. The ones I've tried have either died out or only put up a couple of wimpy flowers now and then. I'll look into silver-foliaged ones.... I really like silvery foliage - and white variegation - in shade. Along a path that runs from the silver area to under the pines I've started trying to make that area into a golden path by planting bright yellow-green things. That's harder to do in the conditions there - not too many things in the right colors like it, but I'm determined to make it work :-)

Rouge - all my actaeas are planted in shady conditions.


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-rouge, thanks much for mentioning those other cultivars (although you HAVE made it more difficult to decide now ;0) I like that Bloody Mary. I wish R. podophylla 'Rotlaub' had pink flowers instead of white, I am IN LOVE with the shape/coloration of the foliage on that one (particularly after seeing Scotty's pics of them!).

-woody, love the idea of a gold themed area. You must have more will-power than I do to accomplish that- I've tried to do color themes before and other shades always creep on in eventually ;-) I understand, gardening in dry shade can be difficult for sure!
CMK


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CMK - most areas of my garden have color themes. It makes it easier to resist impulse purchases. But a color theme doesn't necessarily mean everything has to be the theme color - but the colors added have to harmonize with the theme color. So the 'pretty in pink' driveway border is predominately shades of pink for instance, but has blues, purples and whites - and yellow tulips in early spring before the pinks start. The 'hot' bed on the south side of the driveway shades from pale pink to peach to orange/rust to vivid reds, with lots of sage green foliage (literally - culinary sage, ...) and dark red-purple foliage of Ninebark. There are blues there as well - clematis and the sage flowers - as well as white. But the hot colors dominate and the others play a supporting role by harmonizing with them.

I find it works much better than polychrome 'anything goes' and really makes plant selection easier. When I started gardening years ago, I was more 'into' having lots of different plants. I became dissatisfied with the result of that and gradually moved to this approach - which still allows me to 'play with lots of plants' but gives the garden a stronger organizing color priciple to go along with stronger lines in the physical shaping of the garden. There's a saying that you make your best gardens in middle age... :-) I'm on the high end of middle-age these days and I definitely think my garden has improved as I got older and do less on impulse.


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CMK I see you have mentioned "Polygonatum" a couple of times in your opening post. For sure Solomon's Seal is a very reliable plant in a shade garden. Now last season there were announcements of a new variety of Polygonatum called 'Double Stuff'. Pictures show the white margins are exceptionally wide on this variety. However I don't recall reading any posts from GW members re the success of this plant in their garden. I am just wondering if any of us have experience with this plant this past season.

Here is a link that might be useful: Double Stuff

This post was edited by rouge21 on Sun, Jan 20, 13 at 8:09


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Woody, I think you've hit the nail on the head with my problem. I have no color-themed gardens! So, I go out and buy plants (that I don't need but have to have) and then walk around the yard holding them saying "hmmmm...now where the heck are you going to go?) Then I usually play a nice round of musical plants before I've planted said plant and re-situated 4 others! At least a themed garden would keep me organized so that if I bought a gold foliage plant I could narrow down at the very least what border it would go in. It would possibly cut down on the impulse purchases, but then again, I'm not so sure!

Christin, if my 'Shoaff's Double Pink' ever does anything I would be able to divide it and give you a chunk. But alas, it has been limping along for a few years now. I keep hoping each year it will get bigger, but it just stays this teeny-tiny plant. I do have some spare umbrella plant that I can send you. And I bought glaucidium (3 of them planted in a group) but can't remember if I got pink or white. Hence the reason following Woody's color themes would help. If it was in a white garden, I would at least know what color I bought!

I also love all kinds of shade plants especially epimediums, hellebore, double bloodroot, trillium (including my most expensive perennial purchase ever of a double trillium---that I HAD to have), umbrella plant, tree peonies, jack in the pulpit, ligularia (so many different varieties out these days), ginger, ferns, toad lilies, and I'm sure many more that I just can't think of right now. I find I'm always drawn to the shady plant section of any nursery to see if there is anything new I have to add to the garden.

Woody, what is the plant next to your Persicaria polymorpha. It looks like there is possibly a japanese maple behind it.


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-rouge, I did see that 'Double Stuff' awhile back. It is too similar to my other variegated Polygonatum (P. odoratum 'Variegatum' and P. x 'Striatum') for me to get one. If I had unlimited space I would probably get it for the sake of comparison, but as it is I kind of only want cultivars that are distinct and not so similar to each other. Now a variegated one I would snap up in a minute is 'Byakko', which has white radiating from the inside (by the stem I mean). $40 kind of seems like a lot for it though, lol. 'Fireworks' is interesting, though I can't decide if I think the variegation is cool or anemic looking!! There is also a variegated form of P. humile, but I only see one source for it and I'm not sure how "good" they are. I nearly killed my keyboard with drool when I saw that plant, LOL. ;-)

Susan, that is so sweet to offer some Shredded Umbrella Plant ;-) Do you remember how your Glaucidium is doing?? I'm so tempted by it, but can't help wondering if it will be one of those picky shade plants that survive but never thrive ((like that Kirengeshoma of mine!!!).
CMK


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thyme - do you mean the JM beside the shed? The angle of the picture is deceptive - the JM is 8-10' away, across some paths, from the Persicaria...) That is a 'Waterfall' JM - very finely cut leaves that turn a beautiful orange in the fall. (I can't find any pictures of it in the fall - will have to take some this year!) It's a small cultivar - only supposed to get to be 8-10' tall and wide but has a beautiful shape. Well worth growing.

Color-themed spaces don't stop impulse purchases but the impulse is a bit different - i.e. you see a plant you hadn't thought of and it hits you that it would be perfect in the golden garden, or the hot bed, or whatever.... If you see something that looks interesting but doesn't 'fit' anywhere, it's easier to resist it - or you figure out where you could make a new themed area that would suit it! (I've completely run out of space so can't do new areas unless I rip out an existing one!)


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Hi Woody, I'm pretty sure I see the JM next to the shed with the lighter green leaves. I had a 'Waterfall' for a number of years and what beautiful fall color. One winter the voles completely girdled it and we lost it. It was so sad. But, what are the darker leaves in front of the JM? I just can't make it out in the picture if it's a shrub, or a group of perennials? Thanks


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Thyme - The rabbits had a go at our 'Waterfall' last winter, nibbling anything they could reach above the plastic tree-protector spirals we put on in late fall. But it bounced back well in spring.

Most of the dark foliage is large Solomon's Seal. There is also a large blue hosta in there too (can't remember which one at the moment....) and there is candytuft (Iberis) spilling over the log edge at the front.

In this picture looking down from the living room window you can see some of the paths, and that the Persicaria (hidden from view by the vertical window frame on the right) is further away from the JM than is obvious in the earlier picture.
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This is one of my favorite areas of the garden and is the part of the garden most visible from in the house. And you can see that the color theme here is green and white... :-)


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P.S Thyme... Oh yeah.. there is another JM there... In the picture above, can you see the somewhat yellow-green blob where the path starts to curve under the pines, in front of the young variegated Wolf Eyes dogwood tree? That's a young golden Full Moon Japanese Maple which is part of the golden path I'm working on making heading under the pines.


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woodyoak wrote: That's a young golden Full Moon Japanese Maple

I just planted the same JM (Acer shirasawanum 'Aureum') this past November...my first JM!

Can you give me some details about yours? of course I do hope you really like yours.


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rouge - I planted mine in 2011. So far it's looking good. It's still too small to be putting on much of a show, but it's doing what I want it to do in that spot. I think we'll both like it as it grows :-)


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Thanks for the info Woody. I like the look of that Solomon's seal from the distance of that first photo. It looked very layered.

I should have mentionedd JMs when I was talking of my love of shade plants but guess I didn't think of it on the perennials forum. I love shade shrubs and trees, well, shade gardening as a whole in general. I have about 10 japanese maples and I really enjoy them all. I have 3 that I hope some day will form a bit of a canopy over our brick pathways from the garage. The snow does a job on the laceleaf maples each year, but they bounce back surprisingly well. You can't beat the fall color!

Looking up one of the paths from the driveway:

Further up the same brick path towards the arbor:

Looking back from the farmer's porch towards the driveway as the color continues up the pathway:

This is a fairly new area and I'm still tweaking it a bit. There are a few shrubs that I'm not too happy with that I'll have to remove, but it's shaping up quite nicely.


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Fab pics Susan. I really like that last one- not sure I have ever seen it from that angle. Your new pathway looks great too...
CMK


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CMK wrote: rouge, I did see that 'Double Stuff' awhile back. It is too similar to my other variegated Polygonatum (P. odoratum 'Variegatum'

Have you noticed that Polygonatum odoratum 'Variegatum' has been named the 2013 Perennial of the Year?

Here is a link that might be useful: Perennial of the Year


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I planted a variegated Solomon's Seal a number of years ago. I found it to to be a wimpy plant that couldn't take the rather tough conditions under/near the white pines. There are still a few stems there but it has never expanded into a noticeable clump. The big Polygonatum commutatum, which is mainly what I grow, thrives wherever it is and has a lot of grace and presence.


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-Doug, no, I didn't know it was plant of the year. Interesting. Kind of strange to me that a cultivar that has been around SO long is only now being nominated...although now I look, it says the POY has only been around since 1990, so I guess they have some catch-up to do!! ;-)
CMK


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My nursery specializes in shade plants, & there are lots of great shady characters not mentioned yet!

Carex siderosticha 'Variegata' or even better... 'Silver Streams'

Carex morrowi 'Ice Dance'

I prefer Clematis virginiana over C. paniculata mainly because it's native. They can both be aggressive and self seed into natural areas... at least C. virginiana belongs in the US. :)

Geranium macrorrhizum 'Variegatum'

Geranium phaeum 'Margaret Wilson'

Pretty much any hellebore ('Golden Lotus' has been amazing, 'Onyx Odyssey' has pooped out)

Kirengeshoma palmata has been a great grower for me and is huge. 4'x4' every year.

Lamium orvala 'Silva' not your typical groundcover lamium... this one is upright and has big flowers.
Leucosceptrum in general. They need a better common name than Japanese Mountain Mint, because mint is a dirty word that scares people. These are well behaved clumpers.

Salvia koyamae a big 2-3' tall and wide yellow flowered salvia for shade. Not a super flower show, but great plant.

Sanguinaria canadensis - bloodroot. A great native that has short lasting flowers and awesome foliage. I WISH there were a variegated version.

Solidago flexicaulis 'Variegata' A goldenrod for shade. This one has foliage splashed with gold. Not aggressive, but give it some space... 4' wide.

Pretty much any Tiarella, Heuchera, or xHeucherella. Especially the creepy kinds.

Uvularia grandiflora like solomon's seal but finer textured with peundulus yellow flowers from the tips.

That's not to mention all the great woodies like Jap maples, Hydrangea, Lonicera, Tsuga, Taxus, Eleuthrococcus, etc etc etc!

The Plant Geek
www.confessionsofaplantgeek.com
www.facebook.com/botanophilia
www.botanophilia.com


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CMK wrote:

Not all are exactly "rare", but most are at least interesting I think

Christin, I encourage you, if you haven't already done so, to surf over to 'teza's blog'. He is obsessed with acquiring rare and unusual plants for shade.

Here is a link that might be useful: interesting shade plants

This post was edited by rouge21 on Sun, Mar 3, 13 at 10:55


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-Doug, I have already got his blog on my 'favorites' ;-D That blog is DANGEROUS to the unusual plant lover for sure!

You should check out this blog too if you haven't seen it already: Barry's Blog, A Sense of Place

It features a lot of other neat-o plants/shady plants too...
CMK


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'woody' wrote: The tall white-flowering plant is Persicaria polymorpha, which does surprisingly well in shade.

My 3 year old PP gets sun from about sunrise till maybe 11 am.

And you can see it would benefit from more overhead direct sun as it so leans towards the light.


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That's probably more sun than my Persicaria in the patio bed gets! What is casting the shade on yours? Mine is under the high shade of an old white ash. This picture is from June 20th, taken from the back porch. You can see the trunk of the ash in the background.
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Some of the persicarias in deeper shade here are just starting to bloom now - the shade obviously delays flowering - and will flower less than the one on the patio where the shade is higher and brighter. Even with fewer flowers I still consider them worth growing in my shady areas. 'Shade' is a highly variable thing so you have to experiment a bit to see what does well where. Since a lot of my shade is high shade under mature or maturing trees, it's brighter than shade under lower-growing or younger trees or shade from a building.

Sometimes the leaning-to-the-light can even be used to advantage. I'm trying to find a picture I have of the veronicastrum under the oak leaning for the light - it looks a bit like gooseneck loosestrife, without the invasive problem! I finally found the picture... not the greatest picture! It's from Aug 2005 when the plants in this bed were only a year or so old. The veronicastrum no longer leans like that as the oak tree it's under is taller, and the neighbours' green ash tree casting shade from the south has thinned out considerably as it's succumbing to EAB. So shade, and its affect on plants, also changes with time.
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Don't be afraid to experiment. If it doesn't work to your taste, move the plant and find a substitute - goatsbeard perhaps....?

This post was edited by woodyoak on Mon, Jul 1, 13 at 12:16


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Thanks for the those pictures 'woody'. I like seeing other people's plants...the same plants I have...fun to compare.

For my "Polymorpha", just to the right of the plant, just out of the picture is an impenetrable dense mass wild trees. So it gets *no* sun on the backside.

And now it is large enough that soon it will fall over completely with a heavy rain or stiff wind :(. I really should move it but I have absolutely no place to put it.

This post was edited by rouge21 on Sat, Jul 6, 13 at 5:33


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Woody, I know I am repeating myself, but your gardens are just so amazingly wonderful. They always inspire me-and then the galloping gardeners wreck something else I've planted and I know in my head that I need to wait before trying to emulate you...

Of course, my heart leads me to the nursery anyway! :)


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Thanks Cyn! Do you have enough paths - in the right places - to keep those galloping gardeners out of the important stuff? Our dogs - visitoring ones as well as ours - have newer caused problems in the garden because they really do prefer the 'path of least resistance' when racing around the garden :-)

I was just out WALATing and took a bunch of pictures. Once I get them organized I may post a bunch, focussing on the plants that have been discussed in recent threads. I'm generally happy with the backyard garden (except for the weeding that needs doing!) but am increasingly unhappy with the front garden. It is badly in need of an overhaul! It has become a spring garden and later summer garden but is in a lull now - there is stuff going on but not really eye-catching from a distance. Parts of it will likely become a shade garden as the trees and shrubs mature further. Some of the large, tall perennials need to be yanked in favor of lower, more colorful things - I foresee a lot of heucheras moving in! I've been planting a few different ones in the past year or so to see how they like it out there. So far, so good.... So next spring is looking to be a tear-out-and-re-do event! I will let this year play out as-is while making an assessment of what gets evicted and what will replace them....


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Christine, most of the plants on your list were unfamiliar to me, so I just spent a while looking them up. Defintely some great plants on your list.

If you're interested, Plant Delights just put Deinanthe caerulea 'Blue Wonder' on sale. And Fraser's Thimble Farms sells Double Hepatica for only $75 a plant., lol. (Actually that nursery has a lot of the items on your list.)

Thanks for introducing me to a great group of plants.

And Woody, I wish I could see your garden in person. Truly gorgeous.


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