The Trials and Tribulations of a Shady Gardener

April 29, 2011

  Let me begin with the disclaimer that I am an absolute novice gardener and I have been known to have a black thumb on occasion.  I do take an interest in what goes in my flowerbed, but usually I pay someone to bring the plants and plant them.  But this year I decided to do it all myself.  I have had a really tough time with my flowerbed this spring.  You see I have a north facing home and my flowerbed is mostly in the shade.  I detest shrubbery and I adore flowers, so you can tell that I have quite a dilemma on my hands.  A few years ago I planted some Day Lilies in my flowerbed along the border where I do get patchy sun.  They are pretty big, but they are only in a few spots and I wanted more variety and color. I Googled Texas shade plants and could find nothing that flowered and that I thought was pretty.  I went to the plant store and found nothing except for Impatiens.  Not cute.  I was yeaning for Gerber daisies and Snapdragons and all sorts of sun loving pretty blooming flowers!  I knew that I had a tiny patch that saw sun for about two hours and I did plant three little Snapdragons there.  Snapdragons, I read, were good for part sun.  I was hoping and praying that they were going to be happy.  I also planted some Lobelia in another part that gets about 2 hours sun as well.  I knew there were no alternative to the Impatiens so I bought a few different types and tried them out.  After about a week, the impatiens began to grow on me and my Snapdragons looked very sad.  The Lobelia was droopy.  I added some Caladiums that had little blotches of red in the leaves for some variety.  No flowers, but at least they are pretty and flower-like.  But I had to dig up the Snapdragons and plant them in a container in my south facing back yard.  Well after about another week the Impatiens were fluffing out.  They were flowering and every time I backed in or out of my driveway I was gazing at them.  The Lobelia looked like it was dying, so I dug that up and planted it in my mom’s yard.  I gave in to the superiority of the Impatiens in a shade garden and bought more and planted more.  I also remembered that I had an Agapanthus once in a shady spot, so I bought one and planted it in a tiny, sometimes sunny, spot under my Japanese Maple.  I also got a Diascia and planted it where the Snapdragons used to be.  It was very clearly labeled “2 Hours of Sun” and I knew that would work! So now that I have stopped trying to make my shade garden into a sun garden, I am finally happy.  There is definitely a lesson to be learned and although I think it’s kind of obvious, I have never shied away from stating the obvious!  You can’t make a shady garden into a sunny one and you can’t make things be other than they are.  The minute you give up trying to impose your will, you will find peace! :) If you have any links to good Gardening Tips, I am obviously in need!  Send me some pictures of your gardening handiwork with a little back-story.  I’ll post them here and we can have a contest and vote for the best one!
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