shade gardens and spring wildflowers

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"Even casual study of an ecosystem reveals an abiding truth - that the relationships between things are as important as the things themselves. Living things have meaning in terms of what they do. Life does not know the dancer from the dance."

from: Eastern Deciduous Forest by Robert Q. Petty 


A Tiny shade Garden in downtown Chicago

shady bench
This small garden is growing in extreme shade.It was planted on the north side of a three-story greystone in downtown Chicago in 2001.

 

There isn't much sun because the neighbors on either side of this lot have large trees in their front yards.
flagstone path

 

plants
Because this is a city lot, the area gets lots of foot and auto traffic. The garden feels very snug and comfortable with its stone walk and bench.

a unique north side shade garden

bridge and bird houses
This shady backyard garden features a wooden bridge and colorful bird house "apartment building."

 

A wider view of the back yard, between the garage and house.
back yard

 

bird feeders

Bird feeders and a viewing bench complete the garden.

Click here to see more photos of this garden.


Spring Ephemerals and Woodland Flowers
In the earliest spring days, these little beauties poke their pretty heads through the snow to say hello to the sun.
Virginia Bluebells

Shooting Star
All of these do well in the woodland garden because they blossom before sunlight is cut off by the leaf canopy of trees.

Others keep their nice foliage until fall, like Virginia waterleaf, wild geranium (right) and wild ginger. Not a whole lot blooms in the summer, because of the rich, dark leaf cover, but bugbane, goatsbeard, woodland sunflower and blue lobelia add great interest, color and focus.

Wild Geranium

Goatsbeard

Goatsbeard can get almost 4-5 feet tall in the shade and has nice flowers. It adds summer excitement to the shade garden.


In the fall, the many goldenrods and asters, snakeroot and mistflower make the garden come alive again with color. Also, it is in the fall that the leaves on the woodland trees and shrubs turn gold, red and rust, while purple and red berries become available to feed the birds. The rich crimson leaves of the Virginia creeper vines (at left) signal the forest animals and birds that its berries are ready for them to feast on.

Virginia Creeper

celadine poppy
False Solomon's seal and celandine poppy highlight this old, dead log. In the fall, the Solomon's seal has a cluster of red berries, formed from the white flower cluster.

Our collection of woodland/shade plants also includes:
 
(Click on photos for more plant information )
Ferns
Columbine
Jack- in -the -Pulpit
Toad Shade Trillium

Ferns

Wild Columbine

Jack-in-the-Pulpit

Toad Shade Trillium

Spiderwort
Doll's Eyes
Wild Ginger
Waterleaf
Spiderwort

Doll's Eyes

Wild Ginger

Virginia Waterleaf

Bugbane
Blue Lobelia
Woodland Sunflower
Miterwort

Bugbane

Blue Lobelia

Woodland Sunflower

Miterwort


Our availability list is extensive. We grow many native varieties you cannot get anywhere. If you don't see what you want, just ask. We may have it available later in the season or may be able to get it for you.

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