July 16, 2009

Shade Gardens at Seattle Temple

After planting so many trees in the past year, I realized that I had better study up on shade gardening for the future. While in Seattle last month, my husband and I visited the temple where we were married a decade previously. The extensive grounds include mostly shaded gardens. Pictured above are variegated solomon's seal, burgundy heuchera, fern-leaf bleeding heart, and blue and green hostas.

This shot of the same bed includes a fern and variegated hosta. I have noticed that the softer colors in my front yard are looking washed out lately in the harsh summer sun. Isn't it nice how these colors blend together in the shade?

A periwinkle clematis wound its way through a Japanese maple tree. I wonder if they ever prune it or just let it do its own thing.

I really love this gentle color of blue-violet. I'm using it as the connecting color that will appear in all the color schemes around my landscape. Campanula, lilac, wisteria, delphinium, columbine, big blue liriope, cranesbill geranium, nepeta, lavender, bearded and siberian iris all offer blooms of this color.

There were many different types of Japanese maple growing on the grounds. The leaves are pretty from afar and up close.

If you look closely, you'll see the pink on these variegated leaves. This tree was luminous in the shady bed.

I'll definitely be buying some of these trees when more shade is available in my yard. They're rather pricey, though, so we'll have to start with small ones. The owner of the nursery nearby my house had to dig up a 45 year old lace-leaf Japanese maple while rennovating his backyard this spring. He's selling it in a pot as big as a small swimming pool for the not-so-affordable price of $3,000. Thankfully smaller versions are much less expensive.

It was nice to see more mature hostas around the grounds. With hubby's encouragement (hostas are his favorite plant), I've been collecting various cultivars this year. We have somewhere around two dozen different types right now, but most of them are tiny.

This tri-color hosta was especially showy. Any guesses as to which one it is? 'Great Expectations', maybe?

Here is a closer view of the unnamed delight. I'd love to get one like this. Hosta leaves show more texture and pattern as they mature. Maybe one of the baby plants I'm growing will look like this in a few years.

There were dozens of this type of hosta planted around the grounds. I suspect they are 'Francee', a vigorous white-edged hosta that would be easy to divide and replant . . . again and again.

There weren't as many heucheras as hostas. Perhaps these are 'Crimson Curls' or 'Chocolate Ruffles'.

Here is a final shot of a mature (!) tree and hostas. I enjoyed the elegant colors and peaceful feeling in these shaded gardens and hope to create a similar feeling in my backyard through the coming years.


  1. What great shade gardens. I am with you on that Japanese Maple with the variegation! One to make sure to add to the garden! I like mixing Hostas and Heucheras and there are so many varieties now.

  2. Those hostas and J. maples are sure mighty pretty. I agree I think your mystery hosta is a Great Expectations.

  3. Hi VW~~ Beautiful. In the last several years I've concluded that gardening under the canopy of a shade tree is the way to go, especially when in the heat of summer. That is an amazing stand of heuchera and the white edged hosta. And it's very nice how the clematis wends its way around the plantings--very classy. These are very inspiring photos. On your side bar: Wow you really do have an impressive hosta collection.

    Your photo of the mystery hosta looks a lot like my 'Great Expectations.'

  4. Hi VW

    That's a very tasteful colour palette you using.

    I like Hostas also, together with the right tree choices should deliver a feeling of tranquility.

    I'll keep an eye on your tree progress and choices as I have you down as something of a blogging authority on such stuff!

  5. Thank you for visiting me today. I love that you gave us a tour through someone's garden! You can learn so much from other people - not to mention gaining a LOT of inspiration!

  6. Hi VW, what a serene garden at this special place to you and your husband. The hostas were healthy and lush, mixed with ferns, a delight. The variegated maple was breathtaking! It would really brighten a shady nook. :-)

  7. Wow, it's really beautiful there. I love the clematis growing through the shady area, a great idea. The Japanese maple looks just like our 'Orido Nishiki' which is a very pretty and fast growing one.

  8. You are making me wish I had more shade VW! Beautiful pictures...I feel like I've been there in person before. Maybe/maybe not but thanks for sharing!

  9. Hosta is a fine landscaping plant. It surprises me that its one of the most common ones that I hear homeowners say they don't like. Not a lot of people feel that way, but just more say so about it than other plants that come up in conversation. My favorites are the ones with bluish leaves. The bigger the better. MDV / Oregon


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