Saturday, March 11, 2006

made in the shade

We have lived here for 30 years now and for many of those years I have bemoaned the fact that we didn't have enough sunshine to grow flowers or even grass. But we liked the trees and the shade too much to do anything about it. I eventually discovered shade-loving hostas and am happy growing them in the yard, along with colorful annual flowers in boxes on the sunny deck. We eventually stopped trying to grow grass and just let the yard do it's own thing, now it is covered in a soft carpet of moss, it looks great and feels great to walk and play on.

When we rebuilt the deck a few years ago, we had to move some forsythia bushes (yellowbells) out of the way, and for lack of a better place to put them, planted them in the woods just off the driveway. I kept thinking I would move them out somewhere, but just look at them this spring, don't they look great in the woods?

So when I read a recent blog post about woodland gardening, it started me to thinking. Maybe we have been going about all this wrong, bringing in the wrong plants and bushes and watching them fail. Maybe we should just go with the woodsy setting that we have and expand a little on that. Be one with the woods... Mother Nature knows what works best, just look at the soft mossy lawn she provided and how great the yellowbells look peeking out through the trees.

The book, The American Woodland Garden was recommended, and after several days of looking at it online and a couple more days of it being in my shopping cart at Amazon, I made the purchase. If nothing gets done in the yard, at least it is supposed to have some great pictures!


Abandoned in Pasadena said...

Woodland gardening is different but it is rewarding because a woodland garden is more in-tune with the natural surroundings and doesn't stick out like a sore thumb. I lived in the woods for many years and what I did was to relocate shady loving plants, flowers and ferns that I found growing in other parts of my property.

I'm sure that you have taken a walk in your forest and have seen pretty little flowers growing here and there scattered out. Bring them to where you want them and plant them in bunches.

Do this for every season and you will have a continuous arrary of flowers & follage and they will thrive because you put them right back in their natural habitat.

As you can tell I lived on a budget at that time so buying Hostas were out of the question...But I did have one of the prettiest yards and walkways and everyone thought that we had just picked the perfect spot to put our cabin on...where all the flowers & ferns grew.

BTW there is a grass that grows in the woods, but then you have to mow a lot. I can't remember what it's called but we had grass. I like the moss's softer & pleasant on the bare feet.

Thanks for the information on the book...I may give that to my son & daughter-in-law as a gift because they now live in the woods and she is having a difficult time getting her flowers to live.

doubleknot said...

You have the right idea - go with what grows naturally with the woodland. We lived on five acres that went from scrub down hill to a swamp so you can imagine the varity of wild plants that grew there. The people before us left the back yard a waste land of dry sand and no shade but after transplanting oaks from the swamp and getting some fruit trees going the grass started growing so thick I would cut it for my rabbits and chickens. It was fun - wish I could go out to the old place and see what it is like now but I think I will just keep my memories like they are.
Your flowers are lovely under the trees.

jellyhead said...

That sounds like a lovely idea. Good luck planning your new garden!

Finn said...

Great idea Susan, I do think the bushes you relocated look wonderful blooming there.

I know for quilt book reading that Gwen Marson, who lives on Beaver Island, up near the Staits of Mackinaw has a very wood "place", and she plants jonquils and daffodils all through out her woods. They bloom in clump here and there where you'd least expect them...I found it just enchanging to see them.

TUFFENUF said...

What a beautiful view you have!

Kerri said...

Spring comes quite a bit earlier to you down there in Georgia. Your forsythia are lovely. A woodsy garden should be really pretty and fun to plant. Good luck!