Before this area was a typical problem North-side yard... the kind of place where grass dosent grow and run-off washed out any mulch. A large oak just on the neighbors side of the fence adds to the shade. With only a kiss of sun for 30 minutes in the mid-day in summer, this is our only deep shade area in the garden. You can see down to our full-sun perennial border at the far end... baking in the afternoon heat. A couple years ago, with only mud and ideas, Brian started with a simple bubble diagram with the central path and general heights of plants along the wall and fence. It made for a great way to plan a beautiful garden and still "plop" some of those clearance plants in as we find them.
Possibly my favorite plants in the area are the Ghost Ferns (Antherium 'ghost') (left), a cross between the Japanese Painted Fern (A. niponicum var. 'Pictum') and the Lady Fern (A. filix-femina). This variety has the best characteristics of both partent plants, with a stunning color and more up-right habit. White blooming Nandinas (Nandina domestica 'alba') (right) add some structure and contrasting lime-green new growth. The flowers are quite stunning as well.
These soft 'Blue Angel' Hostas (Hosta 'Blue Angel') filled a big gap in the shade garden to complete the main part of the path. A gift dug from the yard of one of Brian's co-workers, we split one giant-sized Hosta into 3 still giant size clumps. I am almost embarrassed to say this is the first Hosta I have owned, but having limited shade I was drawn to other textures...
... like the beautiful, glossy, foot-wide leaves of the Giant Leopard plant (Farfugium japonicum 'Giganteum'). In late-October these unique plants are topped with yellow aster-like blooms, but the foliage is really the star of the show.
To help hide the neighbors fence, we added a Climbing Hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris). It is the perfect pick for the spot, as it grabs on to climb surfaces with small hairs along the stem. I gave it a trellis to give it a head start, but now it is slowly searching along the fence for the light. It flowers later than the other hydrangeas, usually starting in mid-June here. Speaking of Hydrangeas, the 'Endless Summer' (Hydrangea macrophylla 'Endless Summer') is looking stunning behind our thinking-spot, an East-facing area that is shaded from the afternoon sun.
The Southern Wood ferns (Thelypteris kunthii) add a magical feel... we sit here often and look out on the garden to unwind from the day.
"Take a course in good water and air; and in the eternal youth of Nature you may renew your own. Go quietly, alone; no harm will befall you." ~John Muir