Magazine of Northwest Arkansas
Our Lawn and Garden 2019
Shade Garden
Our shade garden plot is not large. It is 9' 7" deep by 8' 7 " wide.The U-shape is formed by the two sides of our L- shaped front porch and our driveway. The anchor is the Juniperis virginiana right in the middle. The Nandina domestica is also a permanent, evergreen feature.
Gina and I live in a duplex rental, in Springdale, Arkansas. I have been here for four years. When you compare soil from the shade garden area with soil from the adjacent front yard, it is obvious that a previous tenant had amended the  shade garden soil - a little. The garden soil is dark and somewhat rich, although not to any significant depth, as evidenced by the number of rocks I dug up.
You can easily see the difference between the prepared shade garden soil (right) and the unaffected front yard soil (below).
The amended shade garden soil is black; the amended front yard soil is reddish-brown and has a significant clay component. It rained last night and you can really see the slippery look of the clay in the bottom of the hole, on the left side of the photo.
Since the shade garden soil had been amended at some point in the past, I set out to just give it a booster shot of organic material.
I incorporated five 40 lb. bags of a manure/compost mixture to cover roughly 85 square fee of garden. Remember, the soil had previously been amended, at some point. The implements I used were rudimentary: I used a spade fork to turn the soil to six or seven inches. Between the rocks and the Juniper roots, even that was an accomplishment.

I used a rather smallish hoe to break up the soil. It was smallish because the Juniper canopy is rather low and that's what I had! I used a long-handled cultivator to mix it all up. It is now ready to go!
Become a Member of BostonandOzarks.com

How would you like to keep up with the latest on outdoor living, home design, all things kitchen, local events, in-depth looks at the local arts scene and helpful information about your specific community -all focused on our home, Northwest Arkansas? You can have it all ABSOLUTELY FREE with BostonandOzarks.com! To join, just click the "Join BostonandOzarks.com," button, below. You will receive occasional email updates on the NWA lifestyle topics that are important to you.
Join BostonandOzarks.com
First Plants in the Shade Garden

The first plants in are actually anchor plants that remain year in and year out. The most prominent is the 9' tall juniper (Juniperis virginiana), right in the middle.
The other is this evergreen Nandina domestica. Nandina's and I go way back. There was at least one at the house I lived in from birth to age seven. Then, their was another at one of the favorite houses I lived in, in Desoto, Texas. I'm pretty nostalgic.
Nandina's are known for their brilliant red berries - except mine. I only had one nandina and you have to have at least two for pollination. Problem solved. I bought a new one (below).
The new nandina is going in the north garden, right around the corner. However, since the second nandina was still potted, I set it right next to the unpollinated plant. Look what happened, inside a week.
New plants going in include a couple of fuchsia  Celosia, "Dragon's Breath." They are supposed to be full sun plants, but I got them to work in part shade conditions, last year, so I'm using them again. They grow to 24" tall and I use them on opposing corners at the back of the garden.
Between the celosias I intend to place a border of yellow begonias.

Returning from last year are the perennial hostas, bigger and better that before. Hostas are the perfect shade plant, although these are in part shade. They do get some morning sun, but do just fine. I will be adding more, this year.

The biggest challenge with hostas is keeping the slugs from devouring them. The best way to keep them away is to invite them in - with beer! Just set a bowl of beer near the plants. The slugs crawl in and apparently drown. I found 24 slugs in my bowl one morning last year, some of them over 4" long!

I like red. Hence, the red and white variegated petunias. They are on the east side, that's the partial shade side,of the garden.
We have a lovely pot full of the same petunias in our container garden on the back patio, but it only holds half a flat of twelve plants. The other half came up front.

No shade garden would be complete without ferns and we have them. This year I went with a couple of Boston ferns, one in the ground and one in a hanging basket. I actually prefer the slightly more delicately leaved Kimberly Queen fern, but the price difference at Lowe's (the only store that had then) was astonishing. I bought the Boston ferns for $8 each; the Kimberly Queen's were over $32 ea. Boston it is!
Be sure to check in frequently as progress on the BostonandOzarks.com Shade Garden continues, as well as other lawn and garden projects we'll be working on! One great way to stay in touch is by becoming a member. It is totally free. You will receive email updates letting you know what's going on. Just click on the "Join BostonandOzarks.com," button, below.
Join BostonandOzarks.com
Here are a few things that are in the vicinity of the shade garden, like on the front porch: A yucca, a Mother-in-Laws Tongue, and a hanging Devil's Ivy.
Join BostonandOzarks.com
Build a Terracotta Planter Wall
Dress up a drab fence.
2305B Pin Oak Drive, Springdale, AR  72762
479-225-5892     editor@BostonandOzarks.com