Sunday, May 13, 2007

shady face.

finally, finally, finally! i spent all afternoon digging around in the front yard - pulling out those invasive norway maples that had sprouted everywhere, ripping up dandelions left and right, and scooping up leaves into a garbage bag.

now that the ground is clear and the weeds are gone, i can start thinking about what i want to plant out there (lucky for me, my neighbors seem to have only a passing interest in the front yard so i have free reign, mwahaha).

i've finally come to terms with the fact that my yard will never be anything but a shade garden, and despite my irrational hatred of impatiens, the ones that i sucked up and planted last year (after my geraniums keeled over and died from lack of sun) actually looked really nice.

so, here we go: let's take a quick look at the shade plants (and flowers) out there.

first up, impatiens. i don't know why i disliked these for so long, but they do fabulously in the shade and flower continuously throughout the summer. they do like a lot of water, at least in my dry, tree-dominated yard, but perk right up when you water them. definitely getting some of those this spring, probably in white.

next, bleeding hearts. i love these plants SO much, but it never even crossed my mind that they could be an option for my shady front yard. this morning, while walking through the neighborhood, i suddenly noticed them everywhere, in pink, in red, and even in white. the flowers are so delicate and so...dangley. i love them and they've made the list. probably going for red. in the leafy category, we've got hostas, which are easy, come back every year, and provide lots of different shades of green to cover the ground. i've already got tons of these going in the yard. oh, and the big floppy leaves look great when cut and placed in a nice clear vase. of course, these do bloom sometimes, too, but i think they're rather undramatic.
i'm also thinking of trying some polygonatum, or Solomon's seal (though i'm having trouble deciding whether it's weedy/invasive). it seems to do well in partial shade. they grow about 3 feet high, and in late spring / early summer develop clusters of bell-like flowers that hang down. for ground cover, i might try bergenia, with it's large, leathery leaves that are green for most of the year, but turn a wonderful red or bronze color in the fall. they also produce clusters of small, bell-shaped flowers that can be pale pink, ruby red, or deep, to see if my local garden shop actually carries any of these....will report back shortly.

bleeding heart from catmadogma; hosta from spikeblacklab; solomon's seal from lookin glass; bergenia from daclaren

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