I absolutely love this garden that we've inherited but there are only a few areas of the garden that I've designed (or my loose interpretation of it anyway). The prairie garden at the front is the first thing I tackled when we moved in and the second was the shade garden.
The shade garden was a completely new garden. Previously there had been just a chain link fence separating the property with the neighbours' but as we needed a fence for Honey, we suddenly had a north-facing patch of grass under some quite mature cotoneasters and hollies and the beginnings of a pyracantha hedge.
In our previous garden I had started a (very small) woodland area in a dark corner under our cherry tree and I had become really interested in shade-loving plants and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to explore this interest (and buy more plants).
I've written previously about some plants I have put in including some ferns, an expensive mahonia and self-clinging some climing plants. However, there are some spring-flowering, shade-loving plants that have been the highlight of my spring.
Firstly, and probably my favourite, was the ethereal Erythronium White Beauty that I bought from Avon Bulbs. Everytime I walked past it I was thrilled by how magical and enchanting it looked. It is such a small, delicate flower but so beautiful that it forces you to crouch down and appreciate it. I've seen landscapers use different sized stepping stones or gravel to change the pace of a visitor but my recommendation would to just plant erythroniums.
The next star of the shade garden is Pulmonaria Majeste (purchased from Langthorn's Plantery last summer). In fact, I had a bit of a love affair with all of the pulmonaria in the garden this spring but that's another post. This particular pulmonaria literally glows despite being crowded out by lots of other green foliage and much bigger plants. The pink and purple flowers complement the violet-blues of the dog violet and periwinkle, both of which have made their own homes at the back of the shade garden without any help from me.
I have a habit of collecting individual plants for a specific situation instead of thinking about the overall affect of the planting scheme. Despite this, these two have definitely earned a place and, if I ever stop collecting, will be contenders for multication across the shade garden.