[gardeners] My new shade bed

Terry King (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Mon, 25 Jun 2001 15:47:52 -0700

Well it official now, I've earned an Assistant Accounting Certificate and
have a break from school until I decide to finish my AA.  Now I can chat

Earlier this spring I planted a new flower bed inside the north end of our
circular driveway.  The area is about 20' long and about 12' wide in the
middle and contains eight trees, Larch and Douglas Fir.  For the past
several years this spot has been the dogs favorite place to dig dust hovels,
so you can imagine how dry and dusty it was.  Last summer when I installed
our new patio I dumped the soil we dug out in the dog's holes around the
trees and some friend made a nice rock edging.  The edging survived the
winter and the snowplow so I figured it was safe to plant.

Because its so dry and mostly shady I had a hard time deciding what to
plant.  Finally I decided to look at what grows wild in similar areas in the
forest around me.

In the wild dry shady areas here are found Aquilegia canadensis, False
Solomon's Seal, heart-leaf Arnica, Johnny Jump-ups, Clematis occidentalis
and Snowberry.

After realizing how much would grow in this spot with a little TLC and while
browsing at the local nursery I decided on a motif of Columbines and hardy
Geraniums with a few Hostas mixed in to give a woodland feel.

After I added 4" of old hay stems the sheep didn't eat, dry cow manure, and
some grass clippings I planted:
1 each of the hostas - Big Daddy, Francee, Silver Crown, and Frances

1 each of the hardy geraniums - Ballerina, Patricia, Bevan's Variety,
Johnson's Blue, G. pratense 'Victor Reiter'(a purple leaved variety), and G.
phaeum 'Samobor'(the closest I've seen to a red flowered hardy geranium and
it has zones in the leaves).

1 each of Aquilegia - Cardinal, Dragonfly, Colorado Violet & White, Crimson
Star, McKana Hybrid, and one that is supposed to be Woodside Strain
variegated with pale blue flowers but is actually a golden colored with
white flowers.

2 Mini Star Aquilegia with short spurs, planted along the border

3 Cameo Rose & White Aquilegia, planted along the border

Then to fill in I planted:
        Lily of the Valley in between the trees but I may have to replace
with real
False Solomon's Seal if it proves too dry.
        2 Dwarf Goats Beard
        2 Birchs Hybrid Campanula
        1 Cenataurea Bella
        2 Little Leo's Leopards Bane
        2 Royal Purple Corydalis (a purple leaved variety with pale blue
planted along the border
        2 Crazy Daisy's (double flowers Shasta Daisy) planted on the sunnier
        2 Orange Phlox, (its probably too shady and the orange may clash but
I had
to      have them and figured this was a place where they would not get
so far  so good.)

Then along the inside edge that will have grass growing up to it I planted a
row of Snow on the Mountain - Aegopodium, where if they get invasive the
trees will slow them down on one side and they can be mowed on the other.

I topped the whole bed with small bark chips and it is bordered on the
outside by the native river rock edging mentioned above.

All the plants are widely spaced so competition for water won't be too bad.
I've been enjoying the blossoms of the geraniums, Crimson Star (the center
piece of the bed), Mini stars and Cameo Columbines, Royal Purple Corydalis
and the Birchs Campanula. The other Columbine have not yet bloomed and the
hostas are just sending up flower stalks.

I may have to move some of the more sun loving plants if they don't bloom
well but for now all look like they are thriving.  I wish I had purchased
another Francee hosta or two.  It is magnificent and looks wonderful against
the reddish bark.

I'll try to get a photo sometime this summer and post it to a website.

E. WA. zone 4