Garden Photo of the Day

The Transplanted Gardener

Adapting to a new climate

Welcome to Elizabeth Kring’s garden in Plano, Texas.

After spending my entire gardening life in California, where virtually anything will grow, we were transplanted to Texas, where gardening is a challenge. The first year, I planted a sun garden in the side yard that was a complete disaster. I forgot that heat and sun aren’t the same thing and that the two crape myrtle trees would leaf out and cast significant shade. And the top of the garden, which should be in the sun, actually gets shade in the afternoon from the fence. So I started all over and now have a transitional garden from shade to mostly sun but not enough sun to successfully grow veggies, even though I continue to try tomatoes.

Notice the line of shade from the fence. The tomatoes are in pots, as we have squirrels and bunnies who decimated my first year’s attempt at farming.

Japanese tassel ferns (Polystichumpolyblepharum, Zones 5–8), heuchera, hellebore (Helleborusorientalis, Zones 4–9), sasanqua camellia (Camelliasasanqua, Zones 7–9), and Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum sp.) all seem to thrive in the shade of the crape myrtles (Lagerstroemiaindica, Zones 7–10). The homemade fountain from a couple of pots found at an estate sale draw in a cardinal family every year.

A mystery clematis I dug up from under some bushes and gave a trellis. Apparently it wasn’t happy and decided to add white to its repertoire.

St. John’s wort (Hypericum sp.) has the most beautiful yellow flowers in spring. The ground cover is veronica Georgia blue (Veronica peduncularis ‘Georgia Blue’, Zones 6–9) and comes back every spring with cobalt blue flowers. Somebody had to “taste” the Hosta ‘Guacamole’.

Even without full sun, the blue fortune hyssop (Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’, Zones 4–10) came back and should be covered in bees later this month when they bloom. This was the first year for Pow Wow echinacea (Echinaceapurpurea ‘PowWow Wild Berry’, Zones 4–9) and Scabiosa ‘Butterfly Blue’ (Zones 5–9).

The sundial is almost useless, but it reminds me of my first year and how fortunate I am to have a shade garden in which to grow hellebores.


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    treasuresmom 06/21/2019

    Love that mystery clematis. It is all so pretty & especially that you can garden in shade & with bunnies.

    1. Ashleytenhoeve 06/21/2019


  2. User avater
    simplesue 06/21/2019

    Based on the "lemons to lemonade" concept, I like to say "If life gives you a garden full of stones- build a garden path." And it looks like life gave you a shade garden or at least a semi-shade garden and you have made good use of your situation! Love the photo with the Crape Myrtle, ferns and fountain you made out of pots. It's such a relaxing scene. Makes me want to stop and sit there and watch the Cardinals swoop in for water. I could no imagine adjusting to a whole new climate/planting zone as you have. Must be a real challenge, but it seems you've figured it out just fine!

  3. User avater
    meander_michaele 06/21/2019

    Nice job, Elizabeth, getting a handle on the growing conditions of your new locale. There's usually an almost brutal learning curve through the first year since one has to learn the shade/sun ratio as the seasons progress. I love the foliage combinations that shade conditions allow... like ferns, heucheras, hostas, and Solomons seal. You've found a beautiful balance.

  4. btucker9675 06/21/2019

    The ferns and fountain under the crape myrtle are so lovely - looks so cool and inviting. Wonder if whoever tasted the Guacamole hosta had chips, too! : )

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