Monday, January 23, 2017

Shade Gardens - A Garden Tour in Edmonton

Here's a few pictures of shaded backyard gardens from the annual Edmonton Horticultural Society Garden Tour in July. Thanks to the artistic gardeners who allowed visitors to wander through and enjoy the serenity.  Under sheltering trees, these shade gardens recreate the feelings of well being found on a rejuvinating walk in the forest. 

Hostas and old wheel rim garden art - tucked away for discovery.
Meandering paths lead to quiet zones for contemplation and observation.  Hues of green -  to cool and refresh, are complimented by muted neutral tones of earth and wood. Decoration and seating are of grey concrete, antique metal, wrought iron of white or dark green, and natural wood - nothing jarring disturbs the calm, fresh ambiance.

Concrete fountain and cedars - time to relax. Behind, near the house, a comfortable area for dining. Colors are soft, mulch is brown bark, the trees provide shelter from the sun. 


Plants for shade in Alberta

Hostas do well in shade in Edmonton. There are many hardy varieties of these leafy perennials. Come springtime, hostas are not early risers, you have to wait for them, but once grown, hostas are beautiful. Every few years they can be lifted in late summer, divided with  a swift thrust from a sharp shovel, and replanted. Plant them in the ground - they do not overwinter well in containers in our cold climate. They don't thrive in hard clay soils either, so amend hard soils with leaves and compost.

A favourite shade flower is the annual impatients. They are super sensitive to frost, so only put them outdoors late in May.  They die early in September too, but they are so softly colourful - a treat for the eye in the shady garden. I grow them from seed, (start in late February - under lights). They are also easily propagated from cuttings placed in water. Once the roots have grown, plant them into potting mix to further root and then plant into the garden. Impatients require a loose, light soil and a steady supply of water - they like moist organic soil. I grow them in pots under trees. Dappled shade works well.


The hardy perennial ground cover lamium grows in deep shade. Each year it spreads out a bit, and seeds disperse. Pretty leaves, with soft purple or pink flowers. You may find it popping up all over.

I have had great luck with the  evergreen shrub Dwarf Balsam Fir. It thrives in dappled shade and has readily survived our winters. It's hard to find in Edmonton. I brought my first one from southern Ontario about 20 years ago. I now have 3 dwarf balsam firs, all in shade, and all grow well.

I admire my pretty shrub Blizzard Mock Orange - one of my favorites. It takes center stage beside the front door step.  Like the Dwarf  Balsam Fir, the Blizzard Mock Orange is not a huge shrub, so it fits in with smaller urban yards. Look for fragrant white blossoms on Canada Day.


                                     Concrete bench and urns suggest permanency.  Stop, enjoy and be well amidst the soothing greenery. 

White wrought iron and wooden table for a pleasant, private visit. Fresh, serene beauty.

Dappled shade for red petunias in rustic pots. Varied heights for interest.
Simple tranquility. A fountain along the path.
A small waterfall to a pond. Lanterns & candles for night enjoyment.
A conversation nook in the secluded 'side' garden.
Quan Yin graces the forested pathway. 
Greenery takes centre stage in a grey pot.
Buddha under the spruce tree.
Impatients in a pot.

Lamium in a pot.



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