I’M OFTEN ASKED by frustrated gardeners how I managed to get my big old hellebore plants to grow so lustily—as if they are finicky, or difficult. To me they seem easy, but since reader questions persist, I decided to ask the guy with 6 acres of mature plants and decades of hellebore-breeding experience, Barry Glick of Sunshine Farm and Gardens. In my latest radio-show (transcript highlights are on the jump if you prefer to read, not listen) we also covered when to divide woodland wildflowers, and some deer-resistant recommendations for the shade garden, too. [read more…]
The workhorses of the garden's lowest tier, groundcovers must be tough and easy-care. Whether for sun, shade or even that toughest spot, dry shade, an archive of my most reliable and beautiful ones.
IT PUSHES UP OUT of the ground all crazy-colored and not green, the way some of my favorite early-arising native woodlanders do presumably to disguise themselves from hungry awakening herbivores. And then Jeffersonia diphylla, or twinleaf, proceeds to distinguish itself in other ways, too. Put it right alongside the pathway so you can appreciate all its aspects up-close: [read more…]
I KILLED, OR AT LEAST MAIMED, ITS UPRIGHT COUSIN. TWICE. But the prostrate-growing Japanese plum yew, Cephalotaxus harringtoniana ‘Prostrata,’ just keeps happily stretching its legs—and arms—on my back hillside. A handsome, heat-tolerant conifer that creates a sprawl of semi-glossy green groundcover in the shade…even though it’s many times wider than any book or other reference promised. More of a good thing, I guess you could say, and also deer-resistant. [read more…]
SHADE IS A TRICKSTER, CAPTURING AND RELINQUISHING territory as years pass and woody plants grow—or are damaged or lost. Twenty-five years into gardening on one site, some former “shade gardens” here now bake, and even more spots that were sunny—well, you get the changeable, unpredictable picture. Thankfully, for the latter areas, I have old clumps of lower-light plants to divide, including those in this new slideshow of my top 54 shade subjects. I included some woodland-garden shrubs and trees for those seeking to manufacture some shade of their own—or wanting to add more understory structure to what nature has provided. [read more…]