Monday, May 6, 2013

Spring Shadow and Light

  Of all my gardens, I think I get the most pleasure from my shady garden.  Everyone thinks gardening in shade is a challenge, but the reality is, if you plant the right stuff, it's a charm.

Ferns Unfurling ©Barbara Kaufmann 2013
 My tiny shady garden is best enjoyed by strolling through it, looking for tiny treasures since many of the woodland flowers that bloom there are tiny and can  best be appreciated up close.

  My shady area is underneath my weeping cherry, which itself can be planted under taller trees.  I added some shade shrubs that grow wild in the woods in the Northeast, like andromeda and rhododendron. 

Delicate Epimedium.....
   Next I put in ferns, lots and lots of ferns.  These lovely plants, although shy and retiring, can show off the dappled light that filters to the floor of the garden.

.....also comes in pink
 Some of my favorites shady perennials are  are dicentra, epimedium, lobelia, wild geranium, lady's mantle, anemone, daffodils,  astilbe, primrose and lenten rose.

Daphne scents the whole garden
  Some of the best shrubs to plant in the shade include the above mentioned andromeda, rhodos, daphne, viburnum, red- twigged dogwood and hydrangea.

Viburnum just opening

Jonquils- these late bloomers light up the spring shady garden

Lenten Rose starts to bloom in March and is still going strong!

Solomon's seal with vareigated leaves looks great in shade

    The flowers and flowering shrubs, light up the dark corners all spring and summer  and into the fall.

  This selection, along with the ferns and hostas, give the shady garden interest in every season. (And best of all, the weeds are not very aggressive in the shade!

  The other morning, as I watched the sun slowly begin to awaken my garden, this poem arrived unbidden:


Spring Light

the Light begins
 to move
 across the sky
slowly it creeps north
awakening my soul,
opening my sleepy eyes 
after the dark night of winter,
the sun's warmth
soaks into my bones,
lighting the way,
 the earth begins to hum
with budding potential,
green unfurls its tiny flags
and then my heart
opens to new possibilities,
take me, 
spring Light.


Thought for today:  Gardening in the shade can be rewarding and inspiring!


  1. How pretty these are. The light seems to hit each just right.

  2. Barbara, I love fiddleheads! Ferns are just amazing plants--all of your plants are gorgeous--quite impressed ;-) And your poem is uplifting and perfect--big smiles!

  3. I find the plants which enjoy shade are really very relaxing on the eye. I am trying to think of a shade plant which screams and shouts "look at me!" Can you think of any? Perhaps they don't need to shout - their quiet beauty makes us look at them anyway.


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