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.
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