General Discussion:

Garden Lost


Messages posted to thread:

From:Date:Zone:
lone thumb18-Mar-01 02:23 PM EST   
Susan18-Mar-01 04:51 PM EST   
Brian @ P&P Plants19-Mar-01 10:35 PM EST   
JoanneS20-Mar-01 01:07 PM EST   
JDB23-Mar-01 11:46 PM EST   
The Budding Poet24-Mar-01 01:02 AM EST   
JoanneS29-Mar-01 01:55 PM EST   
ingrid31-Mar-01 10:32 PM EST   
ingrid31-Mar-01 10:32 PM EST   


Subject: Garden Lost
From: lone thumb
Zone:
Date: 18-Mar-01 02:23 PM EST

Towering trees on east ,south and west planted on neighbors property have gradually rendered my garden unrewarding. Any suggestions?


Subject: RE: Garden Lost
From: Susan
Zone:
Date: 18-Mar-01 04:51 PM EST

Shade/woodland gardening can be more fascinating than the more common sunny border. I, too, have very little sun in my yard. I have a row of mature (60-80 feet tall, ~ 30 ft spread) white pines across the back, a similarly sized Black Ash on the back lawn, a huge mature Blue Spruce in the front yard and miscellaneous tall old trees and shrubs on the neighbors' properties. I have a boggy corner and heavy clay soil to boot! This will be my second year of gardening in this house and the garden last year was shaping up to be the nicest I've ever had!

Basically, I'm creating a woodland garden and using the characteristics of the area as a strength. Usually a woodland garden is a deciduous one so my evergreen trees add a little complexity - acid soil and no early spring sun before trees leaf out - fortunately though, white pines have a fairly airy canopy and the lower 10-12 feet of limbs have been removed, so I do have enough light.

I'd strongly recommend buying Judy Glattstein's Made for Shade book - it's only about $20 in a high quality paperback. It will both inspire you and serve as a reference for plants to seek out - what zone are you in? I have a bit more choice in southern Ontario than an Alberta gardener would have... Look to local forest habitats (do you have a near-by botanical garden?) to see what grows there. If you want to plant more than hostas and impatients, you will find you need to explore native woodland species for interest and color. Foliage will become an important part of the garden - consider color (variegated foliage becomes important in lighting dark areas); color; and form (mix round leaves, 'strap' shaped leaves, deeply indented leaves and ferny foliage - don't stick to just one type) all become essential garden tools. One of the lovliest ground covers I've found for shade is 'Beacon Silver' Lamium - it postively glows in dark areas but in a soft and subtle way - it's never garish and is far more interesting than the commonly planted and boring Pachysandra!

The important thing is not to be discouraged by the shade and the trees. You can build an intersting and beautiful garden that, in many ways, is nicer than the more common 'cottage garden' flower beds. Good luck...!


Subject: RE: Garden Lost
From: Brian @ P&P Plants
Zone:
Date: 19-Mar-01 10:35 PM EST

There are rights that you have above your property. One is that no one can impede your rights to the Sun. I cities before a tall building can be constructed, the adjacent property owners have the right to object to their loss of sunlight. I would check it out with your legal bodies and find out if your right to sunlight is being damaged. Let us know what you find out as there are others that have the same problem.


Subject: RE: Garden Lost
From: JoanneS
Zone:
Date: 20-Mar-01 01:07 PM EST

I live in an area of very mature beautiful old trees, in zone 3A. No one around here gets much sun. I found it a great challenge to garden in so much shade because I love flowers. Here's a list of things I've grown successfully for years in almost full shade: Impatiens (the new doubles look like little roses) some explorer roses, some varieties of clematis, phlox, iris, campanula, canterbury bells, lilly of the valley, monkshood, anemones, peony, and for that boggy part, a hyrdangea. If you live in a warmer climate, I bet there are even more beautiful things to grow.

In my city, anything that overhangs over on to your property you can cut, but you have to give what you cut to the person who owns the tree. However, is it worth alienating your neighbours?


Subject: RE: Garden Lost
From: JDB
Zone:
Date: 23-Mar-01 11:46 PM EST

People always seem to want to change what mother nature has given them. I would love it if my neighbours would grow more trees (they all cut them down as they are "messy"). Use plants that would normally grow in the microclimate you have and you will enjoy your garden more. You should love being in your garden, and if you have a fight with your neighbours, you will never enjoy going outside again.

As for plants in the shade garden, try ligularia, hosta, and one of the hundreds of ferns.

Good luck.


Subject: RE: Garden Lost
From: The Budding Poet
Zone:
Date: 24-Mar-01 01:02 AM EST

This thread brings to mind a story from my youth. My dad took pride in his beautiful garden and the magnificent old trees growing in our backyard. Unfortunately several branches extended across the property line and were a major irritation for the little old witch living next door. When dad was away at work she convinced her husband to cut off all the offending limbs and several more to boot. When dad got home, he quickly noticed the butchery and quietly asked for an explanation. The witch took the offensive and with her cackly voice launched into a series of insults and curse words that would put a lumberjack to shame. From my vantage point, I was stunned to see my hero retreat. He returned shortly though with a pair of snips and without a word cut her loaded clothesline. It had extended across the property line and had been anchored to one of our butchered trees.

My suggestion..... check your clothesline before protesting!!


Subject: RE: Garden Lost
From: JoanneS
Zone:
Date: 29-Mar-01 01:55 PM EST

How about this. My neighbour was confined to a wheelchair, advanced stage of MS. She had 24-hour homecare, but her yard started to get messy and overgrown over the years. Plenty of Manitoba Maples multiplied and thrived under this neglect, along the property line on both sides. She would lie in bed and watch the seasons through these trees, the trees coming into leaf, the birds, etc. It was one of her few pleasures. We certainly didn't mind the trees, and just learned to garden around them. The older couple on the other side of her property hated her trees. They decided to put in a fence and took that opportunity to "trim" the trees, which, legally they were entitled to do up to the property line; however, they went so far as to enter my neighbour's property to cut down a tree not on the property line. I mean, they really went too far. If a tree was on the property line, they cut it back way past the property line. They waited to start their work until the careworker went on her lunch break. Once my neighbour realized what was going on, I got a frantic call when the careworker returned and immediately drove home to intervene, but it was too late. Of course, some of the trees that they left, were now unstable. Nature, however, takes care of things, and the next spring one of the trees they damaged, fell over in a severe wind storm. Guess where it fell? The older couple incurred a large bill and plenty of inconvenience fixing their damaged roof.


Subject: RE: Garden Lost
From: ingrid
Zone:
Date: 31-Mar-01 10:32 PM EST

I have a lot of shade, too (Edmonton, zone 3). I agree with the respondent who suggested variegated foliage to brighten up shady areas. there are some near pulmonarias (excalibur, opal, etc.), plus variegated hostas (with either white, like Patriot, cream or yellow markings), as well as some sedges (carex morrowii variegata). In my deepest, darkest corner I have my snakeroot (cimicifuga, underplanted with gingko craig hosta. There are some lovely pink or white flowering astilbes and meadowsweets, too, whose flowers seem to last a long time. I planted golden creeping jenny in front of my hosta beds to perk things up - limey yellow always does!


Subject: RE: Garden Lost
From: ingrid
Zone:
Date: 31-Mar-01 10:32 PM EST

I have a lot of shade, too (Edmonton, zone 3). I agree with the respondent who suggested variegated foliage to brighten up shady areas. there are some near pulmonarias (excalibur, opal, etc.), plus variegated hostas (with either white, like Patriot, cream or yellow markings), as well as some sedges (carex morrowii variegata). In my deepest, darkest corner I have my snakeroot (cimicifuga, underplanted with gingko craig hosta. There are some lovely pink or white flowering astilbes and meadowsweets, too, whose flowers seem to last a long time. I planted golden creeping jenny in front of my hosta beds to perk things up - limey yellow always does!


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