June 25, 2015

Shady Haven

Trees grow slowly around here, but we're finally starting to enjoy some shade in the backyard.  The northeast corner above has become deliciously shady during most of the day.

While looking at this view, it's hard to believe that the backyard was barren of anything except lawn when we bought the house in 2007.  Dwarf 'Thumbelina Leigh' lavender shrubs are blooming at bottom left, and soft yellow perennial foxgloves (Digitalis grandiflora) lean toward the bench at right.

There is still plenty of sunshine in the backyard, but we are especially grateful for maturing trees during our current heat wave.  We are supposed to reach 107 degrees Fahrenheit (41 Celsius) in a few days, with temperatures hovering around 100 for the next week.  Our average high temperature in July and August is usually 84, with June even cooler.  This is the price we pay for a gloriously mild winter, I guess.

The warm season has run through many flowers prematurely, but I'm finding the differing shades and forms of leaves pretty enough even without a lot of flowers.  In fact, I'm planning to replace the roses at the focal point of the backyard sunny garden with a 'Red Dragon' contorted filbert.  The filbert won't bloom but will have beautiful twisted branches all winter and interesting maroon leaves for much of the growing season, while the roses only spend a couple of weeks at their peak each year.

Of course the garden still features plenty of flowers and deadheading chores in some areas.  'Peach Blossom' Astilbe above is finishing up a few weeks of lovely bloom.

This is the same view from a wider angle.  Just look at how full and fluffy the 'Shademaster' honey locusts have grown!

'Let's Dance Big Easy' mophead hydrangeas and 'Pearl Deep Blue' bellflowers (Campanula) grow happily under the honey locusts, with some pink 'Giles Van Hees' Veronica in the background.  No, the hydrangea leaves are not supposed to be chartreuse.  They're just iron deficient this year.

The 'Hall's Purple' honeysuckle continues to scramble up the swing set.  Recently I read that Hall's Japanese honeysuckle is very invasive through its berries, but this purple-leaved form has not produced any berries for me.  I haven't seen any suckers, and I keep it trimmed around the base to avoid rooting at the nodes.  

 Here's another shot of a honey locust, with a chartreuse 'Sutherland Gold' elderberry shrub (Sambucus) at right.  A 'Fama' pincushion flower (Scabiosa) blooms lavender at bottom left.  I really love this variety of pincushion flower, as its blooms are large, showy and long-lasting on the plant or in a vase.

The other corner of the backyard (southwest) is also filling in with green.  The columnar 'Spring Snow' crabapple trees (Malus) along the west side of the fence don't provide much shade midday, but in the evening they cast long shadows across the yard.

'Bridal Veil' Astilbe is in full bloom in the shaded part of the white garden.  The white spikes echo the variegation on the leaves of 'Jack Frost' and 'Looking Glass' Brunnera below.  White delphiniums lean drunkenly in the background, just begging for me to give up on them and plant something easier.  Now I'm definitely in the editing stage of gardening, with finicky or lackluster plants giving way for better choices - often repeats of plants that are working elsewhere.  Not that I'm going to be doing much gardening until the heat recedes, of course.


  1. Absolutely outstanding.... your design and coordination of color and texture is amazing... I am truly impressed with the beauty of your gardens! Larry

  2. Love your gardens! So sorry it took so long for me to explore them via this blog.

  3. Our weathers this year have been the complete opposite. Your garden is looking wonderful right now and is a real credit to your thoughtful planning and consideration for each plant. If only I could be so focused!

  4. You have beautiful shade garden! This is exactly what I like - a lot of green and splashes of color here and there.
    Astilbe Bridal Veil is performing very well in my garden. It spreads, I take divisions and plant them in other parts of the garden.
    We also have a very dry summer. This morning, there were thunder and lightning, we were so excited to have a big rain, but.... there were just several drops...
    I hope we'll have some rain!

  5. GORGEOUS!!! It looks like a park! :o) Very well done. :o)

  6. What a lovely oasis. I hope you have been taking advantage of it to take some moments just sitting and enjoying your beautiful garden. -Jean


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