The Corner Shade Garden

The Corner Shade Garden

One of my favorite little garden spots is the shade garden. It’s nestled into a little corner created by the layout of our house. When I began gardening here I knew I wanted a shade garden somewhere but our options were extremely limited. Most of the yard was full sun back then, but that’s changing. It’s a slow process, adding trees and waiting for them to grow, so until I could cultivate some really good shade spots the corner shade garden was the best option. It gets morning sun and afternoon shade which is just right for most shade loving plants.

Plants in the Corner Shade Garden
  • Oak Leaf Hydrangea
  • Hosta ‘Ginkgo Craig’ 
  • Hosta ‘Patriot’ 
  • Hosta ‘Unkown’ – I have at least 3 varieties of Hosta ‘Unkown’! 
  • Heuchera ‘Silver Scrolls’ 
  • Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ 
  • Heuchera ‘Midnight Rose’ 
  • Heuchera ‘Fireworks’ 
  • Heuchera ‘Mocha’ 
  • Heucherella ‘Stoplight’ 
  • Hydrangea ‘Lady in Red’ 
  • Astilbe 
  • Japanese Painted Fern
  • The central focal point of this garden is the oak leaf hydrangea. It ranks up there as a joint number one and two with lacecap hydrangeas on my favorite hydrangea list. OK the list is purely figurative – I really don’t have a list but if I did you can bet oak leaf hydrangeas would be at the top. It gets bigger each year which means I’ll need to transplant the heucheras and hostas gradually to new locations as the hydrangea grows. It really is an unintentionally perfect plan. As more shade develops in the rest of the yard I can move the displaced corner shade garden residents to new homes. It also gives me a great opportunity to split and divide them for more plants – you know, I think I like that!

    The air conditioner is a necessary visual abomination in the south. Around here if you don’t have AC in the summer…well…let’s just say you’ll be sipping a lot of ice cold drinks. When I was young in PA AC wasn’t a big deal, my grandparents didn’t even have it installed in their home and I can’t remember if we did either. I have an idea to disguise the AC that is a little different but requires some collecting of old materials. I’ll update you when I finally put together my plan.

    It’s a little rough around the edges right now. It needs more weeding, edging, and mowing. The great garden to-do list is always growing and ever present.


    Dave has written since 2007. He gardens on an acre and a half where he raises his 4 children. He enjoys growing vegetables, herbs, and propagating plants. Dave has a side business growing and selling heirloom vegetables and herb plants through Blue Shed Gardens and works as a real estate agent in Spring Hill, TN.

    This Post Has 12 Comments

    1. What a beautiful garden! I would have loved to walk there, and see all the gorgeous flowers! Thanks for sharing

    2. Hey there 'Dear Dave" !
      Your girls are waiting for that micro mini pond ! : )
      My garden is also in transition with more shade developing and I don't mind at all .. I know it is hard for you to believe but we have very hot humid summers most years and I too have a method of hiding the outside AC unit .. two xmas shape yews and some assorted plants .. does the job !
      I have a question for you .. I bought a Passion flower vine .. but while trying to get it off the too small container support , I sniped two major leaders .. I put them in water and they are in the house while I keep an eye on them .. do I have a chance of them setting roots in the water ? they have not gone through shock or look wilted .. it drove me crazy to have snipped them .. any advice to advance the root possibility ?

    3. Thanks Ann!


      I'd say (as I shake the magic 8 ball) Outlook Good! Most vine plants tend to root easily. We have passion flower that is growing wild here so I've never tried to root it. Most sources say to use a rooting medium but I think it should do fine in water. It propagates readily from seed though! We must have 10-12 vines growing in the sideyard. I hope we can beat the bunnies to the fruit this year!

    4. It has really matured nicely. I think you may be able to grow the heucheras under the hydrangea if you limb it a bit. I have a nice space under mine where hostas grow. Leave the flowers on and soon you'll be getting tons of baby oakleafs.

    5. Looking very nice, Dave. Ginko Craig is one of my favorite mini hostas. It multiplies quite quickly, in my gardens, so that I can either share or move some around to other spots. 🙂

      PS We did not have air conditioning when I was growing up. Somehow we lived through it! ha.

    6. Hi Dave, you and I have many of the same plants in our shade gardens. I agree, a little sunlight in the morning makes them happy. Speaking of lights, don't you love Heucherella 'Stoplight'? What a great plant. My Pinky Winky hydrangeas are finally big enough to do something this year. I'll let you know if they're pretty.~~Dee

    7. I like your shade garden – and you're right! A lot of these will be easily divided as your hydrangea grows! Many of our beds have similar plants to these and I'm dividing all the time! I have several fern that really have taken off! These help fill up space quite well, too.

    8. Dear Dave : )
      Thanks ! I just wanted to hear another opinion other than mine? haha .. to confirm what I suspected ?
      I feel like an idiot cutting the poor thing while I was trying to free it from over lapping itself a bazillion times ? A real DUH ? moment then 😉

    9. I have more shade developing under my Pagoda Dogwood. I wasn't too happy about it at first, but I am learning to take it as a given that I will have to move some plants and put some new ones into this area.


    10. Dave, You've some really lovely shade loving plants~Division is the best~the plants love it and you get more plants! gail

    11. Tina,

      Limbing it up is a good idea! I may try a combination of both moving plants (because I want a good excuse to divide them ;)) and limbing.


      I think mine are ready for some division. It's their third year here I think about time for some multiplying!


      Stoplight is pretty neat, although I'm partial to the full blooded heucheras. Especially 'Silver Scrolls'.


      Ferns are great. I remember my grandfathers woods when I was growing up was full of ferns. Whole swaths of land underneath the trees were filled with ferns and umbrella plants. All native and natural!

    12. Most of my shady areas are the same Dave (morning sun followed by full afternoon shade). I have one small bed that is all day shade & that's where my most picky plants are located. 🙂 Your shady bed is looking really good, love that Oakleaf Hydrangea. Wish I had room for a large one, I only had space for 'Little Honey'.

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