This is a record of my journey in our garden.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Narrow Strip Bed

Along the front sidewalk, next to the house is a narrow strip  that is mostly shade. We tried a few different things in this bed, impatiens, new guinea impatience and corral bells, nothing did very well. In the end we planted optical grass in a pot, a mini hosta, 3 astilbes close together and moved the corral bell to the end where the Japanese Painted Fern is. The red switch grass that we had added earlier was replaced with a potted red lace leaf Japanese Maple that was recovered from the back yard.

My mother-in-law gave me this mini host after I admired it so much. She did not remember the name  so I have no idea. I love the bright green leaves and so do the slugs. It was planted late in 2009 and the slug ate it down to the ground, luckily it came back.
Optical grass in the pot.

 I believe the Astilbe are 'Fanal'. I save tags and found tags for 'Fanal' and 'Montgomery'. They are both reds, close in size although 'Montgomery' is slightly larger. I now keep a garden log so I know exactly what is where. A third astilbe was added to the two above in 2010. Now the three have filled out nicely.
Its a little hard to see the red switch grass that was planted about 2006. This little grouping at the end gets a few hours of direct sun but not enough for the switch grass to do well (what was I thinking)  so out it came. The coral bell  or heurchera is 'Palace Purple' and seems very happy here.

This is a Red Lace Leaf Japanese Maple 'Tamukeyama' recovered from the back yard. It was purchased in the fall of 2008 when my youngest left for college. A consolation  gift to myselfIt was 4 ft tall at that time and planted in late fall with a heavy mulching to over winter. In the spring (2009) it was full of buds ready to leaf out and then the rain started. It was a very cold and wet spring and I neglected to pull back the winter mulch. To much rain, to much mulch, the buds never opened. The stem was greenish, but the whole top was dead so we cut the top off and waited. It recovered but my lovely 4 ft. tree is now about 20 inches tall. Last year 2010 it was dug up, potted and tucked it with the Japanese Painted Fern and Palace Purple Coral Bell.
The Japanese Painted Fern is special to me. I bought this fern about 11 years ago. Shortly after  it was purchased we ended up moving. Since it was still in the pot, the fern moved with us. Then 4 years later when we moved to this house, we dug it up and here it is.
The narrow bed strip.
My lovely fern and little maple.


  1. Your shade bed looks lovely, I like foliage plants a lot, and yours look healthy and well taken care of.

  2. Thanks Masha, I do love foliage.
    i guess that is good because we have a lot of shade in this yard.

  3. I like your Japanese Painted Fern very much. Mine are very wimpy, no doubt because my garden is so dry. They have been in the ground 5 years & put out 4 or 5 fronds each. Even so, I like them. Thanks for your comment on my bloom times. Michael at The Gardener's Eye (a very nice blog) has said he finds it useful. But I seldom get comments on it. It's kind of a hassle going out there every day to record what's blooming. But it adds up to 1 post each month. Do you keep a plant list with dates of acquisition? I'll be posting mine in a few weeks. I hesitated because I thought it might be boring. I also draw little maps to show where I planted things. I'm not posting those.

  4. Jordan, I use to just keep the plant tags and write the date on the tag. Now as my gardens have grown I find I need a better system. I just purchased my first garden journal and am very excited to be able to record more information and keep better records. I also do little drawings but I''m not very good at it.

  5. Hi Fawne,

    Thank you so much for commenting in my blog. I liked your 'about me' section. We sound very much alike. I also have a narrow shade garden and am still experimenting with hosta, bee balm, periwinkle, and things like that. This summer will tell the tale on how they are doing.

    I will be back to visit your blog. Your kitties are sweet, also.

  6. Everything looks so pretty and neat, like pictures in a how-to book.

  7. Diane, thanks for stopping by. Good luck with your shade garden, you will have to post pictures when everything is up. I will look forward to see them.

    NellJean, Its so nice of you to stop by and leave such a kind remark, thanks.

  8. Hi,
    Great blog, beautiful pics. Looking forward to seeing more. Have a great week...Greetings from Indiana...Heidi

  9. Greetings Heidi... from the far West Chicago suburbs. Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment. Hope you will visit again.

  10. I love the Japanese Painted Fern and every year I say that I'm going to buy more. Maybe this year I will finally do it. Thanks for visiting my blog!

  11. Phillip, I so love the Japanese Painted Fern. Last summer we added three more to the shade garden in the back yard. Thanks so much for stopping by.

  12. Hi Fawne, Your garden is so neat and tidy looking that it puts my barely-under-control garden to shame. You have a nice collection of shade perennials.I have several Japanese Maples that I have left out in the elements all winter. We will see soon if that was a wise decision.

  13. Jennifer, thanks but you know how deceptive pictures can be. I tell my coworkers "that's how my garden looks for one week of the year". I hope you have good luck with your Japanese Maples.

  14. Beautiful! I want one of those ferns now!



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