Hard as it is to do all the heavy work in my “low maintenance” garden, there are times when I just stop and enjoy the view. One of my favorite gardens is my shade garden, in a secluded, really out of the way spot next to my deck. When the garden has grown and I can finally relax, it is an excellent place to sit and watch things happen, or not. Life slows down here. The sun doesn’t intrude until it’s ready, and the plants enjoy a respite from the hot summer climate.
This is a combined planting of Blue Giant Hosta and a species hosta called Aphrodite. She had some trouble in another location, but seems to be coming back in her new spot. Although she is crowded by the rather immense leaves of her companion, she maintains her space and in time shoots up the most fragrant, lovely white blossoms uncommon for most of the hostas you see out there. Look her up, if you want a nice surprise in summer that’s unique.
My woodruff has spread gaily throughout the shade area, and managed to cover the ground to the extent that weeds are now less of a challenge. That’s all I can ask, although I have to pull an occasional interloper to be able to relax here. Woodruff is a wonderful herb. It flowers in May, and has a distinct scent. The scent is magnified from dried leaves, so you don’t have to pick the flowers – just handle a couple of the leaves once in a while to be reminded of spring’s fresh growth. Nearby are an October Red hosta which is noted for its dark red stems, and a smaller hosta that grows near the edge. And don’t forget the dark red leaves of my only type of huechera. It’s probably Purple Palace, and it’s one of two that flank the plants here in the shade.
Each spring the Christmas Fern reappears, to my delight. Here are the fiddlehead-shaped tips just unfurling. It is prettiest now, I think. Toward late summer it will bow over, and create its own ground cover. The woodruff is growing underneath it now, and helping to prevent weeds from sprouting. I do have trouble sometimes finding the source of a vine, but this plant with its evergren leaves helps to manage that.
Companions are good for each other. This shade garden eventually should meld one into the other, and create an occasional-blooming, fragrant cover to view at any time of the day without being in the bright sun.
After all, sometimes a shady deal is a good thing!