Messages posted to thread:

Darcie10-Nov-02 05:34 PM EST 6b   
Susan10-Nov-02 05:53 PM EST 6a   
DAVE10-Nov-02 09:04 PM EST   
Dan20-Nov-02 10:51 PM EST 6   
Julie 27-Nov-02 06:42 PM EST 3b   

Subject: Rookie Greenthumb Needs Help!
From: Darcie
Zone: 6b
Date: 10-Nov-02 05:34 PM EST

I'm working on plans to landscape my backyard next spring. My yard faces east and is your standard size for a townhouse. It gets some morning sun but is quite shaded due tothe number of trees in the area. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I can put back there?

Subject: RE: Rookie Greenthumb Needs Help!
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 10-Nov-02 05:53 PM EST

The list is endless! Most of my backyard garden (much bigger than a townhouse lot though...) is in some degree of shade and I love it that way! Are you thinking of mainly perennials, or is there room for shrubs or small trees too? For a small, shady garden, foliage is very important and green and white make a lovely, cool combination. Try things like hostas with white edges; add some clumping evergreen ferns like Christmas Fern; astilbes should do well - they come in lots of flower colors and diffeerent varieties have different bloom times; Columbines are great for late spring color in shade and have pretty foliage; bleeding heart is a classic to add - choose the Dicenta exemia types that don't go dormant in the summer; heucheras should do well too - the leaf color and shape is as important as the flowers; cranesbill - perennial geraniums - are another good choice; it's not too late to plant some spring bulbs - daffodils and narcissus, grape hyacinths, snowdrops, scilla would also do well; for more evergreen foliage and early spring flowers, add hellebores; impatiens and begonias are the classic shade annuals to add; and so on and so on..... Once you start looking at what you can grow, your biggest problem will be deciding when to stop!

Subject: RE: Rookie Greenthumb Needs Help!
From: DAVE
Date: 10-Nov-02 09:04 PM EST

Darcie- You mention landscape. I'd suggest several well placed stones, possibly a statue, bird bath, bird feeder, and best of all, a pond. Yes, plants are important but don't forget to contrast the plant material with other points of interest. You'll notice this especially during the winter months when plant material is less impressive. There are numerous books at your local library that will help you get started.

Subject: RE: Rookie Greenthumb Needs Help!
From: Dan (
Zone: 6
Date: 20-Nov-02 10:51 PM EST

Hi Darcie, You've received some good advice. Let me add my 2 cents worth. Do the bubble diagram thing with your backyard. Decide what it is you will be doing back there and how much space will be needed for each activity. For example, will you entertain guests in a gazebo? deck? patio? Draw a free-form "bubble" in the area you think it will be. What about the garden shed, a composter,and that little corner everyone has where the junk is stored until you get around to it. Bubble that in and maybe think about a screening type plant to block it out.Draw sight lines from the kitchen sink, dining room etc, wherever you might have visual acess to the yard- think about winter interest. Such as a nice evergreen, a bird feeder etc. As Susan says, the plant list is endless. However, stroll around your meighbourhood and see what is growing there. It's always a good idea to start with a few bullet proof plants. Finally, is the money you are spending to be considered discretionary or disposable. How risky do you want to be. For example, in my zone 6 area, the tri-coloured beech is supposed to be hardy. It is not. Hope this helps, have fun. Dan

Subject: RE: Rookie Greenthumb Needs Help!
From: Julie
Zone: 3b
Date: 27-Nov-02 06:42 PM EST

I would add some mophead hydrangeas and even some rhodos.

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