away for the weekend: shady gardens

Monday, May 21, 2012

shady gardens

After living in a series of new construction homes, eight years ago we moved into our current home - Circa 1930 (ish). I have always loved the character of older homes - or so I thought.This one has been a bit of a challenge learning experience. While Greg will speak of wiring that looks as though it was installed by Ben Franklin himself, one of my biggest dissapointments has been complete lack of flower gardens.

How can a home survive 80 years without flowers?

I'm working to rectify this situation. My yard is VERY shady. See that massive tree trunk?

I am in awe of this majestic oak. Sometimes I just gaze up at it.

I call this garden my "Survival of the Fittest" garden. Plants need a strong will to survive all of the shade.
My Columbine are pretty happy this year.

And my Siberian Irises are starting to bloom.

There is a shady strip of land between our driveway and our next door neighbor's. When we first moved in, it was a weedy wasteland. One hot summer day as we weeded the area, I said to him - "just you wait and see, in a few years we won't need to do this anymore. It will be so lush!"
He laughed and kept on weeding.

We've spent the past few years dividing and sharing hostas, lily of the valley and irises.

It's getting there.

What are your gardening challenges?

I am joining
Mary at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday
Jami at An Oregon Cottage for Tuesday Garden Party
Sherry at No Minimalist Here for Open House Party

Thanks for dropping in!


  1. You've made some wonderful choices for your flower beds...and that tree! Oh, I love big old trees. They make a home so much more inviting and cooler, too!

  2. Hi Karen, Thanks for stopping by Sall's Country Life! I had to return the visit...OMG that tree is awesome! Maybe we could do some trading? I'd give anything for some big healthy shade trees out here on the plains of South Dakota!! And all those beautiful shade loving plants that won't grow worth a hoot in my yard!! Your shady retreat will look pretty darn inviting in July when it's 110 on the prairie! Keep up the good work, it all looks beautiful!!

  3. Love your lush "weedy wasteland"! Great choice with the hosta and lily there. I am also envious (even with all the shade) of your huge tree! We live in a newer neighborhood and there are no trees yet. We tried to start some but the drought last year and a strange disease came through and killed them both. Back to square one for us.

    Take care!

    1. My past homes have been in newer neighborhoods, so I understand what you mean. Hopefully you'll get some more favorable growing conditions. It can be surprising how quickly some trees will grow.

  4. I gardened in deep shade for over 25 years - I love many of the shade work-horses: hostas, columbine, ferns, fuchsias. Now I'm in the bright sun, but still partial to my shade-loving plant buddies!

    1. I love many of the shade work-horses, too. Most are pretty low maintenance - which I really like. But when I'm plant shopping I'm drawn to the brightly colored sunny plants. Thanks for visiting!

  5. Our last house was a 1930's house and was overrun with flower beds. It was a nightmare keeping them maintained (which we failed at miserably), but it was really pretty when everything was blooming. Hostas and wildflowers are great for shady spots! I wish you were closer and I'd share some with you since our current house also came with an abundance of flower beds!

  6. Gardening in the shade can be really challenging, but you have done a magnificent job! Those columbine are amazing! My gardening challenges are a lot of rain for most of the year, which can really wipe out a plant's root system, way more so than cold weather does, at least here in the Pacific Northwest. Thank you for sharing the lovely flower pictures in your post!

  7. Our home, circa 1929, had yews all around the foundation. Ugh! Now we have lots and lots of flowers and shrubs. So different from 14 years ago!

    Your shade gardens look fabulous!

    1. I think yews must have been popular then. Our house had a bunch of them, too. Like you, we pulled them out and put in flowers. Thanks for the compliment on my gardens!

  8. Oh my goodness, Karen, your beds are gorgeous! You've done a fantastic job dealing with shade- I commend you. :-) And the formerly weedy side yard strip? Wow- I bet your neighbor is thrilled that you guys moved in!

    With each house we've rented or owned, I've ALWAYS wondered what people were thinking with regards to the landscape- am I really that odd that I'd like to look out and see something pretty? Seems so- our current house had a major fence that the owners spent a lot of time and money on (lovely orangey color), but the view from the kitchen window (you know, the one you stand at all the time...) was of a cemented-in dog run and green raised septic covers. Ugh.

  9. It is looking beautiful! our gardening challenge is 3 acres of grass, in a zone 3. We just moved in last year, but are looking forward to landscaping and creating gardens =)


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