Garden Photo of the Day

Inspiration for Shade Gardens

The bog garden at Butchart Gardens

Today, frequent GPOD contributor Cherry Ong is giving us another look at a less-visited part of Butchart Gardens in British Columbia: the bog garden. (Her previous post is here.) She says:

Tucked away above the Sunken Garden is this beautiful jewel-box garden. I love shade gardens, and this one is absolutely beautiful. I think the planted mine carts add the perfect accent for summer. Wish my garden looked like this!

Mine carts planted with bright annuals bring a bright strip of color to this otherwise green garden.


A small pond provides visual contrast to the rich carpet of green. The waterlilies growing in the pond are unlikely to flower much in this much shade, but their floating leaves still make a beautiful statement. For water garden inspiration read this.


Contrasting textures are key to making an all-green planting like this work. Here the huge round leaves of butterbur (Petasites japonicus, Zones 5–9) in the foreground contrast with drifts of fine-textured ferns behind them. For ideas of bold-leaves plants to add to your garden, check out this article.


A look down the garden to the green lawn beyond. I love the moss-covered duck sculptures! They keep with the green theme but add another contrasting note.


Green isn’t just one color! This tapestry of foliage uses many different plants to create variation and interest. On the left, the large leaves of Western skunk cabbage (Lysichiton americanus, Zones 4–8) have a bright sheen to them. In the lower center, perennial impatiens (Impatiens omeiana, Zones 8–10) has a bright stripe of white down the center of each narrow leaf. Two clumps of blue-leaved hosta (possibly Hosta sieboldiana, Zones 4–9) contrast vividly with the greens around them. Read this for inspiration for designing with green plants in your garden.


A long view of the whole garden.


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    treasuresmom 10/03/2018

    Thanks for sharing, Cherry.

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 10/03/2018

    Hi, Cherry, so nice of you to share pictures of this part of the wondrously amazing Butchart Gardens. I hope there was a bench or two tucked away since shade plants often communicate soft whispers of serenity and the invitation to slow down and reflect a bit.

    1. perenniallycrazy 10/03/2018

      You’re welcome.

    2. perenniallycrazy 10/03/2018

      Yes there was and it was tucked away at the far end in a perfect quiet spot too.

  3. poest 10/03/2018

    Of course British Columbia is in one of the easiest Temperate Climate environments to garden in! Beautiful!

  4. btucker9675 10/03/2018

    Stunning... so peaceful and cool looking.

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