Arming myself with spade, plants, and beer, I spent some of the early evening yesterday trying to add what color I could to the front of the house. This, as regular readers may remember, is the most problematic area of the GWI property. Although it handles spring bulbs very well, once all the maple trees leaf out, nothing much will flower there. And then there is the root situation, which makes planting perennials difficult. In other words, it is that most dreaded of all garden environments: dry shade. So I make do with hosta, rhododendron, other shrubs, pachysandra, lamium, more hosta...and you practically need a jackhammer to get any additional varieties of those in.
A few lilies have managed to hang in there—I do admire the resilience of bulbs—but their stems are long, thin and always need propping. It¹s kind of pathetic how they stretch this way and that, looking for the sun that is just not there.
Anyway, the only way to add some cheerfulness is with shade annuals. They don¹t spread as they would in a sunnier situation. (As I have commented before, most shade plants merely tolerate shade; they don't prefer it.) So I jammed the plants in there, in a sort of random pattern, and got the hell out of the area.
At this time of year, I turn with great relief to the side and back gardens, which despite their many and various deficiencies, are still filled with scent and color for most of the summer. It¹s a whole different world on the other side of the gate: