Best of the GPOD: Stunning Shade Gardens

This week we’re going to do something a little different on the GPOD: We’re going to be looking back over the years of gardens we have shared and pull out some of our favorites to visit again. And today the posts are all going to be stunning shade gardens. Gardening in shade can feel a bit like a challenge or limitation, but lots of GPOD contributors have turned that challenge into an opportunity and made beautiful gardens.

This is Janet Best’s garden in Spencerport, New York. It can be hard to get a lot of color in the shade, but she’s managed by combining lots of different foliage colors with pink blooms of astilbe and hanging baskets full of begonias. Pink flowers are repeated throughout the garden (see more: Woodland Retreat), giving it a calm, unified design.

path cutting through a Japanese style garden with foliage plants and large treesThe next shade garden, created by Stan Hobbs in Glenville, New York, takes inspiration from Japanese garden design to create a beautiful, relaxing space. The moss-covered ground, so typical of Japanese gardens, is beautiful and really allows the eye to appreciate the beauty of each individual plant. See more of this garden here: Japanese Inspired Garden.

garden path at the very edge of a dense forestCarolyn Faulkner, gardening in Brunswick, Maine, finds gardening in the shade not just beautiful but easier, with fewer weeds and a welcome break from the summer heat. See more here: Woodland Garden.

large hostas with pink and blue flowers leading to a brown houseSarah Froneberger’s North Carolina garden proves that you can have lots of flowers in the shade, with these truly stunning plantings of hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla, Zones 5–9). Check out more of this garden: Hostas and Hydrangeas.

sloping shade garden covered in blue flowersMarlene Mullet in northern Ohio likes experimenting with unusual plants for her shaded garden, and finds that more things thrive and bloom there than the plant labels might suggest! Here a sea of forget-me-nots (Myosotis sylvatica, Zones 3–8) paint her hillside blue. Check out more of this garden: Experimenting with Shade.


Have a garden you’d like to share?

Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!

To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.

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