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Chartreuse, emerald, jade, and lime are visible in the gardens now; the perennials are emerging. It always amazes me how sparse the landscape looks this time of year. Come June the borders will be overflowing with color.

The different shades of green in the front borders remind me of Ireland.

The different shades of green in the front borders remind me of Ireland.

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My favorite garden is my shade garden growing under our Oak tree.

The reason I love the shade garden is because I love the beauty of foliage. The varied sizes, shapes and colors of leaves are refreshing; some fern like, others broad and bold, fronds, blades, and needles all add interesting texture to the landscape. The saying goes: “opposites attract”. Placing plants with different foliage next to each other adds beauty to the garden.

Two favorite shade plants are: Japanese Forest Grass, a small grass that has yellow and green leaves, and Corydalis lutea; it has fern like foliage with tiny yellow flowers.

The Corydalis reseeded itself in the grass; the different foliage makes a lovely contrast.

The Corydalis reseeded itself in the Japanese Forest grass next to the heart shaped leaves of the Forget-me not plant. All three plants make a lovely contrast.

The before and after pictures of some beloved plants:

The before: This plant is Alchemilla Mollis. The common name is Catmint 'Walkers Low'.  The cupped leaves hold droplets of rain that shimmer like diamonds.

The before: This plant is Alchemilla Mollis. The common name is Lady’s Mantle. The cupped leaves hold droplets of rain that shimmer like diamonds.

The after: Lady's Mantle in June; covered with sprays of dainty yellow flowers.

The after: Lady’s Mantle in June; covered with sprays of dainty yellow flowers.

The before: This plant is called Nepeta 'Walker's Low'. The common name is Catmint.

The before: This plant is called Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’. The common name is Catmint.

The after: 'Walkers Low' Catmint covered with spikes of purplish blue flowers in June.

The after: ‘Walkers Low’ Catmint covered with spikes of purplish blue flowers in June.

And lastly:

The before: Buds of the Chinese Tree Peony.

The before: Buds of the Chinese Tree Peony.


The after: The Chinese Tree Peony blooms in May.

The after: The Chinese Tree Peony blooms in May.


A Tree Peony is not really a tree; it is a med-sized shrub. The beautiful large flowers are magenta and 8' across.

A Tree Peony is not really a tree; it is a mid-sized shrub. The beautiful large flowers are magenta and 8′ across.

Happy Spring!
xxoo

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