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New Garden Inspired by the GPOD


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Today we’re visiting with Nicki Snoblin in Lake Bluff, Illinois.

Greetings! Back in April you published an entry titled “Bob’s Japanese-Style Garden,” and I immediately thought of an area in my yard where I could use a similar approach. We had a wedge-shaped bed containing a large horse chestnut tree, bordered by a sidewalk and our deck, with absolutely nothing growing under it. The spot is sunny in early spring but mostly in deep shade once the tree leafs out.

I collected several large rocks from elsewhere in the yard, and then my husband and I visited a nearby stone yard and bought an assortment of small to medium granite rocks to supplement what I had. I built up the corner of the wedge with rock and used the rest to create sort of a rock-garden look.

Deeper under the tree, I plan to put in some spring ephemerals that will give us early color but be finished before the deep shade arrives.

Many thanks to Bob for the idea!

raised garden bed full of shade plantsHere’s the area as you approach it from the side yard. The front section is a raised bed containing annual begonias and coleus. The purple oxalis (Oxalis triangularis, Zones 7–10) in front is in a pot that’s hidden by the rocks. (The plastic planter box will be replaced by a hypertufa trough my husband is making for me—an idea that came from another GPOD contributor.) In the background, there is a large-leaved hosta (Shadowland ‘Diamond Lake’) in a pot (which I hope will survive aboveground here in Zone 5b) and a heuchera, also in a pot.

close up on the small garden bedThe brick edging on the right under the horse chestnut tree (Aesculus hippocastatum, Zones 3–8) was already there.

garden bed from another angle showing off containersThis is the view from the deck and our family room. In the foreground along the edge are several clumps of sedge. In the far background on the right you can see our beloved tricolor beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Tricolor’, Zones 4–7) showing its spring color.

garden bed under constructionThe bare bones of the project in early May

various flower colors in springVirginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica, Zones 3–8), bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis, Zones 3–9), and a few tulips and daffodils in my spring garden

light pink tulips in bloomA new addition this spring were some fabulous ‘Angelique’ tulips. These were extremely long-lived flowers in the garden.

large light pink peony flowerThis is one of my very favorite peonies. I dug it up from my parents’ yard many years ago; it’s more than 60 years old. To me it’s the quintessential peony.

yellow peonies in front of red rosesItoh peonies and roses now in bloom


Have a garden you’d like to share?

Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!

To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.

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