Today we’re visiting Nancy Moore’s backyard to see what she’s created in a difficult, shady spot.
These photos of our shady backyard go from most recent (May 5, 2019) back to early spring (April 15, 2019). We live in Charlottesville Virginia, and I have been gardening for more than 20 years—but I have only started knowing what I was doing about three years ago, after I took the Master Gardener course. I have had to focus on shade plants and learn by trial and error—more error than not. In fact, when something does turn out well I am shocked! I rely on Taylor’s Guide to Shade Gardening a lot, and I spend a lot of time at plant nurseries.
Nancy put in this shade garden last summer because she was sick of looking at a weedy dirt-packed lawn. She says, “The whole sorry experience was pretty awful,” but the final result looks pretty amazing!
Another view of the new shade garden area, looking pretty great for what used to be a weedy lawn.
Nancy’s garden is surrounded by huge oak trees, so she chose plants that would thrive in those conditions. The tulips bring nice points of contrasting color to the green.
White flowers emerge from a foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia, Zones 4–9), a native wildflower that loves shade and blooms in the spring.
What is spring without some tulips?
The arching pink flower stems of bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis, Zones 4–9) does best in shady conditions. In hot, dry summers, it will go dormant later in the summer, leaving an empty space, but in cool, well-watered gardens, the leaves can keep looking good all summer long.
A beautiful arch surrounded by flowers welcomes visitors to the garden.
Have a garden you’d like to share?
Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!
To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.
If you want to send photos in separate emails to the GPOD email box that is just fine.
Have a mobile phone? Tag your photos on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with #FineGardening!
You don’t have to be a professional garden photographer – check out our garden photography tips!
Do you receive the GPOD by email yet? Sign up here.
We have a little clump of foamflower that planted itself out near the road. My husband mows around it all summer. Yours is so pretty. Love all you have done!
I like that you have several defined pathways through your landscaped areas. They are very welcoming and encourage a visitor to get "up close and personal" with your newly planted areas. Things are just going to get better and better looking and, congrats on making your weedy lawn stretch a thing of the past.
Nancy, your new shady garden is already more interesting and prettier than lawn. I can imagine you escaping the heat of Summer in the woodland sitting area surrounded by the new flowers and foliage
Good job, Nancy! Your plantings look healthy and happy, and you will be amazed even later this year how full things look. Next year and the year after will be even more spectacular. The hard work is done, and you can be so proud of the results!
Really lovely!! Inspired me to go out asap and get some foamflower.
Love that arch/arbor over the steps! Pretty shade garden, it adds so much interest to the backyard and in life in general. I learned through trial and error too. I read a lot of books but I'm sure you agree trial and error is the best teacher. Looks like you have had much success!
absolutely lovely! and way more interesting (and better for pollinators) than weedy lawn! This is going to be even lovelier in the seasons to come!
What a beautiful job you have done. I can imagine all the work that went into this, and in such a short time too. You're right, trial and error with shade is the only way to go. There are sooooo many variants in the amounts of sun versus shade in those so called "shady" plants, about all you can do is plant them and then hope for the best.
Log in or create an account to post a comment.Sign up Log in