Shade is “The Dark” in a forest garden.
Forest Gardeners work with varying degrees of shade as the sun moves across the sky each day, animating shadows as they dance across our gardens from dawn until last light.
As the hardwood trees and shrubs leaf out and begin to grow, areas illuminated by the sun all winter and into early spring disappear into cave like darkness.
Grottos appear in deep shadow cast by surrounding trees.
So we light up the darkness with variegated shade loving plants which enjoy the moist, cool, shadows.
We celebrate the contrast of light and shadow with brightly patterned, foliage, but few flowers.
Bits of chartreuse, creamy white, pink and silvery grey reflect what little light may be; illuminating our shade gardens and “glowing in the summer ‘s darkness.”
Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014
With appreciation to Jennifer Nichole Wells for her
One Word Photo Challenge: Glow In the Dark
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I must tell you that your post a while back about begonias inspired me to pick up three this weekend at the plant stand. A deep red and burgundy rex, a snail rex and a tuberous yellow/orange bicolor. They will love the shady front porch this summer and I hope to bring them in the fall. Maybe I’ll make them a humidity tray and hope they won’t get too cold at night, but that is very far away, isn’t it? 🙂
Dear Eliza, I’m so happy to hear that you have adopted some Begonias to enjoy on your porch this summer. The tuberous bi-color will likely grow much better for you than they ever do for me. Either our humidity is too much for them, or I don’t have the right knack to keep them going. I have much better luck with the Rex and the canes. I just adore the snail shell leaves. Please post pictures of your new beauties!
The Rex Begonias do like to stay warm. Please bring them indoors to a bright window when night time temps begin to dip down into the 40s. A humidity tray is a nice way to help them along. Rex will sometimes appear to “die” back to the ground…. even for months…. and then when the conditions please them again will sprout new leaves. They are growing from a rhizome. Enjoy the day, Eliza, best wishes WG
Thanks for the cultural notes, I didn’t know about the dieback. And, oops, it’s been chilly out there the past few nights! Oh, well. Let’s hope for the best!
Sheltered, close to the house on your porch, you might get away with a few nights early in the season, Eliza. I ‘d bring them in for the evening any time the forecast takes night time temps below 45- which is stretching it. They are tropicals. Many of my tubers died back this winter while indoors. But, they are sending out new leaves now. So long as the tuber lives, there is hope the plant will flourish again. I gave up on a beauty last spring, when all attempts to revive it inside failed. I gave the pot of soil to my husband to “fill in holes”, and he dumped it under some shrubs near our foundation. Imagine my delight to find my favorite Rex Begonia growing happily under those shrubs several weeks later! It lived there all summer, gorgeous. I dug it up and kept it alive in my office all this winter, but it died back a few weeks ago. I gently transplanted the entire mass of soil and tuber to the new shade garden I’m building, among the Caladiums…. photos to follow, I hope 😉 Best wishes for a great day! WG
You have amazing patience, but I can see you are amply awarded! Great story about your favorite Rex.
47 last night and I brought in the Red Rex. Coolest spring we’ve had in many a year.
Your Rex is lucky you’re taking such good care of it. Plants (and children) teach patience. Several decades as a middle school teacher, and patience becomes second nature 😉 Best wishes, WG
It’s a good thing you aren’t providing addresses here because I would be sneaking over to dig a clump of that hosta. Beautiful!
And these friends are so generous you just might leave from a visit with a division. You’ve met them 😉 It is an especially beautiful Hosta- and huge! Best wishes, WG
I love the first hosta photo, great shot! The lighting is perfect. I wish I could grow fig tress here on the mountain but our weather is too cold for them. Before we moved up here I had 5 fig trees! 🙂
I thought of you with that Hosta photo. It grows in a pot, on a high deck with steep steps to keep it safe from the Bambis.
Amazingly, many of our figs appear to have died back to the ground here this year. So sad to see all those branches still bare. I”m leaving them be for another few weeks with hope in my heart… Some figs are hardy to Zone 5, Michael. Maybe you just need the right cultivar- or to grow a dwarf variety in a pot you can store somewhere out of the cold all winter. Sorry you’ve had to give up your figs! So very sad…
Hope you’ve dried out a bit from the weekend rain. We are finally getting some tonight. I spent several hours watering this AM just to get my newly planted things through this 95F day. The thunder is a welcome sound, for once 😉