Bringing Texture into the Shade Garden
It’s a new year, and it’s time to get the this year’s garden planned. I’m using the winter months to do some plotting and planning, including renovating and expanding an existing shade garden. My east-facing backyard receives morning light, with a dappled mid-day southern exposure. I’m using color and texture to bring this dark corner to life.
I’ll start by planting a beautiful form of Japanese maple called ‘Butterfly’. I’m avoiding pesky root competition from the nearby cedars by placing a large black urn at the back of this garden. It has an upright shrubby form, with beautifully variegated green leaves with cream margins, edged pink in spring. The leaves are slightly twisted and display great color as the margins turn scarlet to magenta in fall. To finish this focal point off, I’m filling the remaining space in the container with Proven Winners® Catalina® White Linen Torenia. These white snapdragon-like flowers have a unique yellow throat and are long lived, blooming from early summer until fall.
In front of the urn, I’ll space out an uneven number of Dicentra spectabilis ‘Alba’. This herbaceous perennial erupts from the ground in early spring, its long, gracefully arching arms dangle white heart-shaped flowers. This perennial is tall and makes a great statement in the back of garden beds. The foliage usually goes dormant by mid-summer, leaving room for summer performers to take over.
Directly in front of the bleeding heart I’ll sink a line of ‘Autumn Frost’ Hosta into ground. Just as the dicentra is fading, the hostas will start fully leafing out. I particularly like this low maintenance hosta because of its broad lanceolate leaves with frosty blue centers and extra wide yellow margins.
Along the front of the bed I’ve used Black Mondo Grass interplanted with Dolce® Key Lime Heuchera. The strappy black leaves perfectly contrast the frilly lime-green heuchera already in the garden. In composing this garden, I focused heavily on variegated leaves, multi season interest and high contrasting colors. All bringing texture and depth and light into my little shade garden.
© 2013 Proven Winners, LLC.