Garden Photo of the Day

Hostas and More for Shade

Gardening beautifully under trees

Welcome to Cherie Walda’s shade garden.

My husband and I live in Fort Wayne, Indiana. We moved here in 1987 to an acre of land with maple, pine, ash, and hickory nut trees. Grass and plants refused to grow among the maple tree roots and shade. We then discovered hostas, and that began the addiction. Now over 300 different varieties of hostas and perennials have come to live among us—or we have come to live among them. Recently my husband has included raised beds to accommodate more plants and to thwart the maple tree roots.

Ten years ago we lost ash trees, so now we have more sun, allowing us to include more varieties of sun-loving plants.

Including hostas in all textures—smooth, rippled, and corrugated—resulted in a feast for the eyes. The question was how to get more color. What a labor of love to accomplish this goal. I love cobalt blue, and I discovered blue wine bottles. Perfect! Then after joining the Indianapolis Hosta Society, I was able to collaborate with other shade garden enthusiasts. With much research, I discovered hellebores (favorite), Virginia bluebells, lambs’ ears, bleeding heart, Pulmonaria, celandine poppies, Epimedium, mountain bluet, jack in the pulpit, and more.

My favorite hostas include ‘Sagae’, ‘Elvis Lives’, ‘Pineapple Upsidedown Cake’, ‘Sun Power’, and ‘Blue Angel’. Oh heck, I love them all.

After 32 years of garden passion, I look forward to the challenge of maintaining my garden as I grow older. Most of the plants are perennial, so spring is low maintenance and like Christmas in May. Adding some tropicals and coleus in pots adds vibrant color and allows me to move the plants around to the perfect spots.

After retiring in 2017, I joined the Trillium Garden Club in Fort Wayne. I have added wonderful garden friends to share my garden joys and challenges.

Perennial hosta garden with blue bottles.

Ajuga (Ajuga reptans, Zones 3–9) and creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia, Zones 3–9)

Watering can with a variety of shade perennials

Mini hosta bed, with other perennials in the background

This raised bed is a tribute garden to my mom, who passed away in 2018.


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    treasuresmom 05/23/2019

    I adore hostas. I just got big (or what I think is big) into them last summer. But as you & many others know, we have to prepare for those years when we are not as able to tend our plants. Thank you for sharing.

    1. cwalda 05/23/2019

      Yes I think maybe I will find a young person to help when It is too hard for me. Maybe a big Hosta sale. Haha. Enjoy!!

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 05/23/2019

    I really enjoyed your comments as well as your photos, Cherie. For those of us who also "suffer" from plant
    loving-itis, your journey was familiar although influenced by your growing conditions. Some people get addicted to daylilies because they have so much sun; whereas, you were drawn into the wonderful world of hostas because of all your shade. It's cute how we all have our favorite varieties...mine are 'Guacamole', 'Rain Forest', 'Stained Glass' and 'So Sweet'.

    1. cwalda 05/23/2019

      Yes It’s good to know I’m not the only one who has the passion. I love “so sweet” too. We have had so much rain and cool weather that the hostas just love. They have grown so much just over the weekend. Enjoy ?

  3. User avater
    simplesue 05/23/2019

    Love the cobalt blue bottles in the garden, a favorite of mine also! Everything looks really well established and thriving in your garden, and low maintenance also, which is what I myself am striving for, having moved and starting a new garden in my 60s...not as easy as it used to be, but I'm pretty much done now. Looks like you have also completed yours. Looks nice, and love all your Hostas and then you have the bonus of the tall shoot of flowers from them! Thanks for sharing.

    1. cwalda 05/23/2019

      Yes, I have most areas covered. I have a hard time not adding plants with new personalities to the family. There are always a few weeds that want to claim space. I will move some hostas that are encroaching on others to a spot where they can star.

  4. btucker9675 05/23/2019

    What a wonderful garden - love the turtle stepping stones! Also love your blue bottles - I used blue cava bottles on my bottle tree. What a chore it was emptying them! HAHA!

    1. cwalda 05/23/2019

      Blue bottles are the anchor for hard scrape and are there for every season. Very pretty in snow and fall leaves too. It is a chore to drink their contents.

  5. User avater
    CynthiaDow 07/09/2019

    Very nice!

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