about those new beds…

i have this very troublesome area under a weird patch of trees. it’s sort of open shade, but kind of full shade, and very occasionally gets partial sunlight.  it’s moist, i guess.  definitely not dry or sandy.

it really is a perfect spot for some woodland wildflowers, but i’d been struggling with the appropriate plant mix for over a year. last year, it was a repository for some cool, half-baked thoughts (purple palace heucheras, primroses, a very rare and awesome epimedium called ‘the giant’) but not a lot of follow-through or execution.

i’d developed, sort of accidentally-on-purpose, a purple and yellow color scheme, and to this i added a ‘molly the witch’ shade-tolerant peony (yellow), and a ‘kiki’s broom’ magnolia (purple).  and i got some of my drive from this awesome combo of actea simplex and japanese forest grass:


okay, so here’s the moodboard:


and here’s the cut-and-paste version from my design notebook:


i’m toying with the idea of trying some terrestrial orchids, but i am not going to order any yet.  i’d rather wait until my local native nursery opens, and talk to them about potential easy(ish)-to-grow varieties for an orchid novice.

‘woodland wildflower garden’ design from perennial combinations by c. colston burrell

and then, finally, comes the design breakthrough – and i had it all along. this past weekend i was perusing my favorite garden design book and found the inspiration sketch right there on page 353. it’s the ‘woodland wildflower garden’, which not only fits the space perfectly but complements what i have, perhaps with some slight nudging around of already-planted specimens.

1 – originally slated as a white baneberry, i found this cool terrestrial orchid (not a lady’s-slipper) from plant delights and added it to my birthday order. the color fits perfectly and it has a reputation for being easier to grow than its native american counterpart.


2 – bloodroot, as directed, but the blush form, to keep the color scheme more homogenous and pleasing. i splurged on this little guy from lazy s.




3 – subbing out the virginia bluebells – i have a better spot for them – and bringing in this super-cute variegated form of merry bells (Uvularia perfoliata ‘Jingle Bells’, also from plant delights, also part of the birthday bash)




4- celandine poppy, and i’m not going to mess with a classic. been keen to try this one out since i read margaret roach’s raves about it on the a way to garden blog.


polystichum-acrostichoides1-i-0295-s-62132-r-01   Athyrium niponicum 'Lemon Cream' (Lemon Cream Japanese Painted Fern)   burgundy lace japanese painted fern

5 – i’m going to go with a combo of ferns here, to stay true to the color scheme but also to the intent of the design. so i’m sticking with the christmas fern suggested by the author, but added some color with two painted ferns.



6 – ‘home fires’ creeping phlox (phlox stolonifera), as directed but with a color change.



7 – woodland phlox.  i LOVE woodland phlox.  it’s so delicate-looking, and the flowers are tiny and star-shaped.  what is not to love?




8 – trilliums, definitely part of the birthday splurge. these were a hefty price, but they are seedlings, so that means that i can nudge them toward multiplying and giving me many more of my very own.




9 – hello, gorgeous! a chinese mayapple too interesting to refuse swaps out for the umbrella plant originally intended. i think it is going to be a star.


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