Monday, May 29, 2017

Planting a New Pacific Northwest Shade Garden

My Plants for Pacific Northwest shade gardens post of several years ago has been so popular that I decided to write about the new shade garden we started in 2011.

Here's a view from our kitchen window last year when the Foxglove and blue Campanula were blooming. The tree with the white leaves is a Japanese Maple called Floating Cloud. Creating interest in the front row with colorful foliage is a Chocolate Huechera and a chartreuse Feverfew. 
In 2010, we moved into a 1945 cottage in Seattle. The previous homeowners weren't gardeners, so there wasn't much in the way of plant life in our small city yard. The view out our kitchen window was particularly dismal, and we made it a top priority to change it. One problem was an ugly concrete retaining wall between our yard and the backyard neighbor's. To cover it up, we decided to use plants along the wall that would grow up tall and wide. Because the area is shaded by a large European Bird Cherry, we used shade-tolerant rhododendrons and camellias. Once they got big, they would create a lovely green screen year-round.

Here's what the back corner of the garden looked like in 2013, two years after we started planting things. You can see why we wanted to cover up the concrete wall, not to mention the metal stripping at the bottom of the neighbor's garage, which you can see above the wall. In front of the wall we planted four camellias that will eventually grow 10 feet or taller and three rhododendronsk that will also grow quite tall and bushy. In this photo, you can see the King George Loderi species rhododendron to the right of the tree. Full grown, it will be quite large.
Here's what that part of the garden looks like this afternoon. King George has grown up to almost cover the neighbor's garage window.

Here's a photo taken after we planted a Bleeding Heart between King George and the tree, Rhododendron Nancy Evans is in the front of the photo, and a tree fern is to her left. We filled in with some Irish moss for groundcover. Blue bells to the left came with the yard. I'm still trying to control them. :|

Rhododendron Anna Kruschke with her magenta blooms covers quite a bit of concrete, and very prettily.

Rhododendron Honey Butter, my personal favorite.
We've used Rhododendron Nancy Evans in several places. In this photo, she's in full bloom. The earlier photo shows the color of her buds, which have a lot of orange. Rhododendron Mrs. Furnival is in the upper left corner of the photo.
Behind the glider is a Chinese tree rhododendron. It will grow very tall. You may see why we've nicknamed her Audrey III. It looks like she's about to eat the glider. To the left of the tree rhodie is a Vine Maple tree. In front of the glider is a Chocolate Heuchera (aka Coral Bells) that provides foliage contrast. In the bottom left isOxalis ground cover. Ferns fill in between larger plants throughout the garden.
King George Loderi buds. The flowers in full bloom are huge.
Rhododendron Mrs. Furnival
We tucked Evergreen huckleberries here and there, and get to enjoy fresh berries in our pancakes in the summer.
We put in lots of Hostas of different colors and sizes to cover ground and create interest. Here's a blue-leafed one along with an Oregon Grape.
False Solomon's Seal
There are several types of self-seeding plants throughout the landscape. They come up randomly and fill in garden space with foliage and color. If I don't like where a plant has come up, I simply pull it out. In this photo are Forget-me-nots and Columbine in blue and white. We also have a lot of Foxglove with their dramatic tall flower spikes.
You might also like:
How to Plan a Garden
Plants for Pacific Northwest Shade Gardens

1 comment:

Paula said...

You always have a beautiful yard! Such talent. I don't even know where to begin with mine.