June 27, 2011

Green is a Colour Too, in Dappled Shade

Shade gardening in Toronto

There are days when I question why I gave up cubicle life in exchange for the joys of self-employment (wild income fluctuations, bugs, humidity, client "relations", etc.) But imagine enjoying your lunch surrounded by a setting like this on a bi-weekly basis. Such doubts rarely enter my mind here.

The clients' backyard is embraced by 100 feet plus high red oaks so the shade is never deep and oppressive as it is under, say, a Norway maple. Gardening and entertaining activities are very enjoyable due to this type of dappled shade. Certainly made my ham sandwich more delicious today.

Dappled shade garden with Japanese forest grass, Rodgersia, Halcyon hostas by garden muses: a Toronto gardening blog
Under dappled shade, enjoying my lunch
The particular part of the garden in the picture consists of a waterfall feature surrounded by classic shade tolerant perennials and shrubs. We have two types of Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra "Albostriata" and "Aureola", left and right respectively), Japanese painted fern (Athyrium niponicum var. pictum), "Halcyon" hosta, Rodgersia aesculifolia, and "Arnold Promise" witchhazel (Hamamelis x intermedia "Arnold Promise")  in the back.

I think we have a beautiful composition with contrasting foliage (linear vs. broad vs. palmate) and a soothing green palette that's easy on the eyes. With the trickling of the fountain on this warm late June day, it was hard to leave, albeit only temporarily.

Hakone grass Halcyon hosta rodgersia in shade by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Hakone grass, "Halcyon" hosta,
astilbes and Rodgersia in the shade 


  1. I run a nursery specializing in shade plants so of course I agree with you completely. In fact, I feel sorry for people who have a lot of sun because of the weeds and watering they ahve to deal with.

  2. Hi Carolyn,

    you're right, with a good layer of mulch and infrequent and deep watering, a shade garden offers a lot of payback for relatively little maintenance. Alas, many still want the English border in semi-shade, lol!