Messages posted to thread:

From:Date:Zone:
Heather25-Mar-02 09:28 PM EST 6b   
Carol26-Mar-02 12:44 AM EST 4a   
Susan26-Mar-02 07:42 AM EST 6a   
Heather26-Mar-02 08:23 PM EST   
Heather26-Mar-02 08:37 PM EST 6b   
Susan26-Mar-02 09:29 PM EST 6a   
27-Mar-02 09:21 PM EST   
Heather28-Mar-02 04:47 PM EST 6b   
Heather28-Mar-02 04:58 PM EST   
Susan28-Mar-02 05:51 PM EST 6a   
Greg29-Mar-02 11:19 AM EST 6a   
Heather29-Mar-02 02:40 PM EST 6b   
Susan30-Mar-02 08:03 AM EST 6a   
Heather31-Mar-02 10:32 PM EST   
Susan01-Apr-02 09:21 AM EST 6a   
Heather05-Apr-02 06:03 PM EST 6b   
Susan05-Apr-02 07:44 PM EST 6a   


Subject: Ideas for Deep Shade Shrubs
From: Heather
Zone: 6b
Date: 25-Mar-02 09:28 PM EST

I have a townhouse, with limited garden space in front.

Problem: Foundation front garden with large tree in front which blocks out most sun, also garden is under kitchen window that has large window awning over it, garden gets little sun exposure if any it is in morning. I've killed Rhodo's, Hydrangeas, both of which I love, now have another Rhodo,a hardier one, keeping fingers crossed. Will be removing a dwarf cypress tree another casualty soon!!! I'm hoping someone knows of any flowering shrubs

Any Ideas out there before I turn the garden to stone!!


Subject: RE: Ideas for Deep Shade Shrubs
From: Carol
Zone: 4a
Date: 26-Mar-02 12:44 AM EST

Did you test your soil?


Subject: RE: Ideas for Deep Shade Shrubs
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 26-Mar-02 07:42 AM EST

Soil near a foundation can be quite alkaline from the lime in mortar/cement, especially if this is a relatively new house, so Carol's suggestion is a good one. Rhodos require quite acid soil so that may be part of the reason they died. Hydrangeas are more flexible re acidity but require lots of moisture. Under an awning or a roof overhang, the soil is likely quite dry. However, that's a problem that is easy to modify by using soaker hoses - I'm a strong advocate of soaker hoses - very efficient in water usage and great at providing moisture in hard-to-water places like under evergreens or at foundations. There is a limited number of flowering shrubs that will grow in deep shade and hydrangeas are one of the best. I'd sugest you try them again but provide lots of water and make sure you buy a very hardy type like 'Annabelle' or Peegee.


Subject: RE: Ideas for Deep Shade Shrubs
From: Heather
Zone:
Date: 26-Mar-02 08:23 PM EST

Carol, I used a tester someone reccommeded but wasn't that great, I'm thinking now it is probably alkaline, like to find somewhere to take it to be tested, it is alot of clay


Subject: RE: Ideas for Deep Shade Shrubs
From: Heather
Zone: 6b
Date: 26-Mar-02 08:37 PM EST

Susan, thanks for replying, I'd like to find somewhere to take in a soil sample, near Windsor area, but haven't had much luck, Garden is too small to put in soaker hoses, not to mention a water outlet!! Share with neighbour! Would have to be a dwarf size hydrangea, but will look for Annabelle type. Soil was mostly clay, but did try to amend it, but maybe not enough!! New to this gardening hobby, but love it even though quite costly for someone who has to keep replacing things, any ideas how to make the soil more acidity, Since you seem to be much more knowledgeable them myself, what do you know about "Snowball" shrub, someone suggested it?? Thanks again for your assistance /


Subject: RE: Ideas for Deep Shade Shrubs
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 26-Mar-02 09:29 PM EST

No garden is too small for a soaker hose! And you don't need a water source as long as you can bring a regular hose to it and connect them together. I put a 'female' hose connector on the soaker and a 'male' on the standard garden hose; drag the garden hose to the end of the soaker and snap the connectors together; turn on the water and let it run for as long as needed; turn it off, disconnect the hose and put away the garden hose and you're done! Soaker hoses come in 25, 50, 100 foot lengths or you can buy 'blank' hose in whatever length yoiu need as you need and put your own hardware on it. If you have a small bed, buy a short hose and loop it back and forth. Cover it with mulch for greater efficiency. Maybe you were thinking I meant a more complex drip sytem? I just mean the black rubber hoses that ooze water - you can buy them at Canadian Tire, Home Depot or most garden centres. I have hundreds of feet of them in my garden - in my larger garden areas under my pines and in all beds along the foundation and in the driveway border where it gets really hot and dry in the summer. They are one of the smartest things I've ever done vis a vis the garden!

The Snowball is likely a Viburnum - there are several types with Snowball in the name. They prefer a bit more sun than a hydrangea and will grow much bigger than an Annabelle hydrangea.

Re soil testing - ask a local, major garden centre where to take soil for testing or buy a good soil test kit from them. Adding peat to soil will help increase acidity as will fertilizers meant for rhodos. But, if you plant a hydrangea, pH won't matter as much. Eventually the alkalinity will reduce as the lime will leach out of the soil with rain and snow-melt. Using fertilizer to increase acidity can cause inbalances in other things. If I were you, I'd stick with hydranges, water well with the soaker hoses, add top dressings of compost each year, and let time take care of the problem...

My garden soil is pretty heavy clay too. Keep adding compost top dressings each year; dig in lots of compost when starting new beds but don't overwork the soil or the clay compacts. More things will grow in it than you think. Compost mulch over soaker hoses together keeps things from drying out and organic matter in the soil will increase with time.


Subject: RE: Ideas for Deep Shade Shrubs
From:
Zone:
Date: 27-Mar-02 09:21 PM EST

You might try thinning out the tree and let a little more light in. Unless it's a monster, then just run.


Subject: RE: Ideas for Deep Shade Shrubs
From: Heather
Zone: 6b
Date: 28-Mar-02 04:47 PM EST

Thanks for all the assistance, you have been at this awile haven't you!! I got a better idea, I don't know where you are from, but I think I should just fly you in for a week, and something tells me I'd have a beautiful garden in no time!!! What do I use for compost dressing, any hints? I use red cedar mulch and cocoa mulch every year, are they good to work into the soil, are leaves good? Should I be using more manure to help with the clay soil? I will be buying a Annabelle Hydrangea after your suggestion, I still have one other space available(nother dead item to be removed) Are Azalea's a good choice for this garden?? Told you I was new at this!! I can't thank you enough for all your help though.


Subject: RE: Ideas for Deep Shade Shrubs
From: Heather
Zone:
Date: 28-Mar-02 04:58 PM EST

Susan, forgot to mention I will be looking into the soaker hoses, Do you believe Canadian Tire doesn't have any in yet!! Don't they know I'm ready to start planting


Subject: RE: Ideas for Deep Shade Shrubs
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 28-Mar-02 05:51 PM EST

Give yourself time... a garden is a longterm project; it's always changing and you're always learning....

My compost dressing is made from leaves, grass clippings and kitchen waste that is a year or two old. I don't like wood mulches - I just don't like the look (it's a personal opinion..) Cocoa mulches blow away too easily for my liking. Wood mulches tend to rob the soil of nitrogen. Someone listed a good summary of mulches on another thread this week on mulches. You might want to take a look at that one. Manure or any organic material will help with clay soil. Just be careful and make sure the manure is well aged - relatively fresh manures can contain high levels of nitrogen and can burn the plants. I've even had that happen from using bagged cattle manure you buy in a garden centre! I now add it to the compost heap for a year before adding it to the soil or using it as a mulch. Sheep manure in bags has never caused that problem for me so I tend to buy sheep manure.

Azaleas are also acid lovers (they're botanically rhododendrons...) If soil alkalinity was the reason your rhodo died, an azalea is likely to meet the same fate!

Thanks for the warning about the absence of soaker hoses at Cdn Tire - I was going to go buy some early next week as I'm starting a new bed as soon as the last of this week's snowfall melts off. I guess I'll wait another week to go shopping! I've been ready for spring since early February!


Subject: RE: Ideas for Deep Shade Shrubs
From: Greg
Zone: 6a
Date: 29-Mar-02 11:19 AM EST

Sounds like your rhodo problem may be soil and water rather than the shade conditions. Also, did you rake or hoe around the plant. Rhodos have a shallow surface root system and are intolerant of digging around them. Better to just pull any weeds and mulch around them with pine needles. Being lazy, I planted mine near a cedar tree so that the tree delivers the needles and just have to rake them over a couple of feet to the rhododendron.

On the subject of shade tolerant flowering shrubs you can plant, I have a great book "Best Shade Plants" by Stefan Buczacki. Here are a few shrubs which may be interesting:

- cotoneaster (no flowers but beautiful berries and is probably evergreen in 6b)

- hydrangea (maybe try again)

- holly (berries but no flowers)

- mahonia (some varietie have amazing flowers, like m. x media "charity"

- prunus laurocerasus - cherry laurel (flowers are white spikes)

- pyracantha - firethorn

- rhododendron - of course

G..


Subject: RE: Ideas for Deep Shade Shrubs
From: Heather
Zone: 6b
Date: 29-Mar-02 02:40 PM EST

Susan and Greg, can't thank you enough for the assistance, I will be going out and purchasing the sheep manure, and a hydrangea, as soon as nurseries open. I'm still debating about mulching, the red cedar mulch looks nice but I do think it harbours insects and I don't like the fact that it takes nitogen out of the soil I didn't know that one. Do either of you use mulches and if so what kind, or in the long run is it better not to mulch, picking the weeds doesn't bother me!! On my way to Dad's house to pick up all his pines needles under his pine tree!!!


Subject: RE: Ideas for Deep Shade Shrubs
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 30-Mar-02 08:03 AM EST

One important thing to know about a hydrangea if you get one is the specific pruning requirements for the type you buy as it is easy to prune a hydrangea incorrectly and eliminate the flowers for the year. (Also, some hydrangeas die back to ground level each year so you need to know if that's the case so you don't worry too much if it looks dead...!- are you sure your other one died or did it just die back and you gave up too early?) For an Annabelle you should know that Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle' can be pruned to the ground line each winter or early spring because it flowers abundantly on new growth, and is frequently killed back during winter. If a larger shrub is desired (3+ feet) and/or it is not killed back over the winter, prune less severely. Remove certain branches to the ground; cut others back at varying heights of from 1 to 3 feet. (Prunung instructions from Cornell University Extension Service in the USA...)

Mulch is definitely a good idea in both short and long term. The best one I think is chopped up leaves applied in the fall - we have a mulching leaf-blower and we just dump the bags on the garden beds. By mid-late summer the next year, most of the leaf mulch has rotted into the soil/been incorporated by earthworms. The number of earthworms in the soil (a good thing...) increases substantially after leaf mulch is added I've found. There were hardly any worms in the soil under my pines the first year we moved here. After the first year of adding a few inches of mulched leaves, there were worms everywhere we dug!


Subject: RE: Ideas for Deep Shade Shrubs
From: Heather
Zone:
Date: 31-Mar-02 10:32 PM EST

Boy are you good.. Susan, you really should be getting paid for all this great advice. I'll let you know how it goes with finding an Annabelle Hydrangea. And thanks for the input, I haven't removed the other plant, but it surely looks dead, but after your last message I will wait to remove it!! What do you think of the pee gee type, do you have one and like it? Does it die back in Winter? Still have an empty spot!!! As for mulch, I haven't decided yet, don't have any leaves, lots of pine needles though! Don't think I"m going to use the cedar mulch though, maybe the cocoa mulch, it does help keep the rabbits away!! Then look out next fall, I'm going to rake up the whole townhouse complex leaves to put on my gardens!!!


Subject: RE: Ideas for Deep Shade Shrubs
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 01-Apr-02 09:21 AM EST

Was your hydrangea one with the big, round balls of flowers? Where the flowers white or pink or blue? Were the leaves realatvely large? The Hydrangea macrophylla (big-leaf hydrangea) are the pink or blue ones you frequently see sold as florist's potted plants. They are marginally hardy and frequently get killed back to ground level or killed altogether. If they do re-grow after being killed back, they won't flower that summer as they flower on 'old wood', unlike the 'Annabelle' which flowers on 'new wood' so dieing back to ground level doesn't matter for an Annabelle. I like most hydrangeas (except for the blue/pink ones which I think look like artificial flowers and don't suit my woodland garden...) I particularly like the paniculata types and have Grandiflora' - Peegee, 'Tardiva' and 'Floribuna' which is my favorite - very hard to find in a nursery. I also have a nice Oak-leaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) which is an 'old wood' bloomer and didn't bloom last year as it had some winterkill that killed the flower buds. I don't actually have Annabelle because I find that the 'mopheads' - the ones with balls of flowers- look better as border plants than in a woodland. I want to add a lace-cap type this year as I gather that there are finally some that are hardy to this area. I regret not planting a climbing hydrangea - I didn't want to wait 5 years for it to bloom. If I had planted one in 1999 when we moved here, it'd be almost ready to bloom now..... I love hydrangeas because they offer that rare thing - late season showy flowering shrubs. Rose of Sharon and Summersweet are also favorites for the same reason. Potentilla shrubs (pink or white varieties only)are another of my big favorites as they flower abundantly from June to October and are virtually pest and care-free, a very rare combination. They need lots of sun though. Rose of Sharon and Summersweet can take some shade but not deep shade.


Subject: RE: Ideas for Deep Shade Shrubs
From: Heather
Zone: 6b
Date: 05-Apr-02 06:03 PM EST

Hi there... the flowers were pink, it was bought at a nursery and was supposed to be for the outside garden. It had the large mophead style flower...Is Rose of Sharon the same as Hibiscus??? If you know of any lacecap style Hydrangeas good for this zone, love to hear about them, I love that look too.


Subject: RE: Ideas for Deep Shade Shrubs
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 05-Apr-02 07:44 PM EST

Your pink one could indeed have been an 'outside' one - they're just very susceptible to winter die-back and bud-kill. It's entirely possible that it will come back from the roots but won't flower this year. It's even possible that it looks dead but isn't really - have you scratched the bark on the stems to see if there's any green, living parts under the surface?

Rose of Sharon is a type of hibiscus. If you want big, showy tropical looking hibiscus flowers, grow the Hibiscus moscheutos 'Southern Belle' or Hibiscus moscheutos 'Disco Belle'. They are hardy here but you have to have patience waiting for them to appear in spring but the flowers in August are worth the wait. They need full sun though. Hibiscus are in the mallow family. If you look at the flowers on perennial mallows, they're minature hibiscus flowers (or hibiscus are giant mallow flowers)...

I just got Humber Nursery's catalog today. Under Hydrangeas, they list several as lace-cap. Some are Hydrangea serrata types. 'Golden Sunlight' is listed as white and there are also three pink ones and two blue ones. They're listed as hardy to zone 5. There are also several Hydrangea macrophyllas listed as lacecaps. Their hardiness is listed as zone 6 so they're less hardy (a type of what you probably have now) so I'm going to try the serrata ones first. Both are 'old wood' bloomers so any winter-kill or improper pruning could elininate the flowers.


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