Today we’re in Maryland, visiting Mary Spencer’s garden.
May is my favorite month of the year and is when my shade garden comes to life. I have lived here for 23 years and have taken out just a single rhododendron and added hundreds of plants. My love of hostas shows no evidence of waning. I don’t know what I enjoy more—the plants or the many different birds that show up in the yard. I lost my husband of 42 years last August, and the garden is what keeps me going.
Yellow archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon, Zones 4–8) with silver-marked foliage and yellow blooms is a beautiful plant, but it spreads rapidly, so it needs to be sited where it won’t smother other plants.
The woodland garden is lush with plants, with huge ostrich ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris, Zones 2–8).
A flower-covered dogwood (Cornus, Zones 5–9) presides over the garden.
Spigelia marilandica (Zones 5–9) is a wonderful native perennial with incredible red-and-yellow blooms, here showing off in front of a hosta.
From low ground covers to taller growing perennials to shrubs and trees, every layer of this garden brings different textures and shades of green.
Bright color for the shade is provided by a variegated hosta and orange and white impatiens (Impatiens walleriana, Zones 10–11 or as an annual).
A container planted up with annuals and Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra, Zones 5–9) adds height to this shade planting.
Flower buds from a mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia, Zones 5–9) are in their wonderful balloon stage before popping open.
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