Monday, March 28, 2016


By Mary Kennedy                       
How does my garden grow? Not too well, I'm afraid. The thing is, I have a very shady backyard and the dirt is like clay. A long time ago, I decided the best thing was to have a small strip of grass in the back yard and let the rest go "au naturel." I call it "the woods," and it's a quarter acre of trees (plus a little ground cover) that provides homes for birds, squirrels, raccoons, possum and the occasional skunk. (even though I'm a big-time animal lover, I don't encourage Mr. Skumk to come calling. )
What do you grow on a shady lot with poor soil? Well, Hosta, of course. And you can go for different varieties and colors, and try to make it look a little interesting.
Astilbe is a good choice...                    
Astilbe comes in a lot of different colors and is quite hardy in a shady garden.                                            

Don't be stingy when planting Astilbe. Instead of a few lone plants, try to plant masses of them together to make more of a statement.
Caladiums are also a good choice. Don't forget to dig up the bulbs next Fall and save them. Here in the northeast, they will freeze if you leave them in the soil.
And you can never go wrong with ferns. They're practically indestructible and they love the shade.
Lily of the Valley are delicate, lovely and they adore the shade.
They also do well in pots....and I always keep some at the edge of the deck.
You may not have the beautiful flowering plants that my characters Ali and Taylor Blake enjoy in sunny Savannah in the Dream Club Mysteries.
But with some careful planning, you can have a lovely shade garden that provides beauty and tranquility, as well as a nice refuge for wildlife.  Next week I'll tell you about my herb garden and share a delicious recipe.  Happy gardening!
by Mary Kennedy