I was tired of my boring shady bed and of the big green blob that my garden had become. I wanted to fix it and I wanted to fix it now. It didn't matter that it was raining and that the best time to transplant anything is the spring and fall. As a matter of fact, by doing it all in the rain, I wouldn't have to water. Now that makes perfect sense.
Before the rain started, I should have taken pictures for the perfect Before/After post. But I didn't. I just ran outside, ripped out plants, cut down branches, and grabbed my shovel.
Out came the overused kalimeris, the storm damaged salvia, and the hidden white pot filling the spot I couldn't find a shrub for. Hellebore were moved, and variegated columbine put in their place. Years of planning and overanalyzing my dry shade had helped me create a shade garden full of thriving plants but it was boring, as in stuck in an elevator with a taxonomist boring.
Fix No. 1
This area had previously housed a big white pot because I couldn't find any variegated shrubs that would thrive in dry shade. So I just filled the spot with a pot and called it a day. But after removing several branches, my shady spot became bright enough for a callicarpa 'Duet'. This variegated beauty berry attracts wildlife and can tolerate mild drought.
Variegated foliage will keep a shade garden from looking like a plant cave.
I hadn't planned on moving the pot here but I couldn't budge it any further. I added a variegated sweet potato vine and some coleus. I needed color and interest but didn't want anything too bright.
Coleus doesn't actually like dry shade but I don't mind giving it a little extra water. It's a cheap solution while I decide how to brighten this area.
Fix No. 2
Redesigned last fall, I love the shady parts of my garden but need more color, zip, pizzazz. I pulled out some kalimeris, a tough perennial that thrives in dry bright shade and is overused in my garden, and a mystery euphorbia that goes dormant every summer.
A moist, mild summer had left the soil loose and cooperative so I moved some hellebore to make room for purple heuchera, coleus, and 'Leprechaun's Gold' variegated columbine. It will take another year or two for this area to fill in.
I love this!
These coleus were root bound and dried out but thriving - my favorite combination. I like a plant that laughs at adversity.
A homemade iron plant stake that marks the mouth of the soaker hose.
Fix No. 3
Zinnias, tansy, and black eyed susans (rudbeckia hirta) grow well in hot, bright sun. A cypress vine is climbing the bird house.
Summer in the DC area can be unpredictable and stormy. The last couple of storms brought high winds that kept breaking branches off my salvia 'Maraschino'. Tired of the carnage I moved the salvia to my sunny bed and replaced it with an ornamental grass, miscanthus 'Little Zebra'.
I redesign this area every spring as I look for plants that will block the curtain and can withstand high winds. I think I might replace the zinnias this fall with another 'Little Zebra'.
Is that a curtain on the outside of the window? Why, yes it is! Made from mildew resistant marine cloth, it absorbs the intense afternoon heat and solves the problem of reflected heat frying my plants. The miscanthus, which was slightly crispy when I bought it, will eventually block most of the view of the curtain.