One of my favorite colorful additions to a shade garden is the tall and funny-shaped foxglove. When I first started gardening, I was a little bummed that having a backyard full of trees meant that I would miss out on the colorful bursts of bright day lilies, poppies and coneflowers that would flourish in a sunny spot. I found a pleasant surprise this spring when the non-blooming foxglove I planted last summer shot quickly out of the ground in all its purple glory!
Up against a sea of fern and Solomon’s Seal greenery, this little flower has quickly provided great color inspiration for me to try to build on. I’m already planning where I’ll add another and what other vibrant shade-loving plants I can find. Astilbe, anyone?
My foxgloves are in rich, well drained soil with only dappled sunlight throughout the day. In my Atlanta, GA garden (Zone 7b-8a) they started blooming in late March and early April. They’re delicate but tough, I think, which is part of their charm. See more planting details on foxglove here.
Photos by Whitney of The Curtis Casa
Hello BHG readers! It’s nice to meet you. I’m Whitney, of the home and garden blog The Curtis Casa, and I am thrilled to be a part of the Everyday Gardeners blog. I’ll be here once a week sharing my gardening inspiration as well as a few tips and tricks I’ve learned in my garden.
When we bought our Atlanta, GA home with its shady backyard almost four years ago, I was surprised to find my favorite home-owning hobby involved playing in the dirt, studying leaf shapes and wondering about the pH of our soil. I really shouldn’t have been so surprised, I grew up with more than a few talented gardeners in my life. Three ladies in particular left indelible marks on my green thumb, Estelle, Beverly and my Mom.
Estelle, we called her “E”, was a sweet elderly lady and frequent babysitter who lived down the street from us when I was a young girl. I toddled through her perfect rows of roses and posed for Easter pictures in front of her monochromatic azaleas. Spending time in E’s garden is etched into my memory. And then there’s Beverly, who was our nanny when my sister came along, and I’ve heard countless stories about the garden adventures she and my Mom got into – installing trellises, cutting holes in sheetrock, digging up plants off the side of the road. Beverly always offers sound advice (I often type out emails from my garden bench) and even sends plants by request from her own garden. The Virginia Bluebells I just planted came straight from Tennessee! And, of course, there’s my Mom. I remember pulling weeds with her in the garden as a little one, for 25 cents a bag. Now, in my garden, Mom and I walk around discussing plants, paths and garden accents. I’m always impressed how she can pull a plant name out of her memory. She’s helping me create our shady garden, and unbeknownst to me until recently, she’s encouraged an enthusiastic gardener, as well. And that story she always tells about caring too well for her beautiful Mexican sage plant, right before it died? Her advice is consistent: “You just have to ignore it for it to grow right.”
I’m using what these ladies taught me daily and I’ve come to realize, gardening is one of those hobbies best spent in the company of others. Especially others whose green thumbs and gardens you admire. Now let’s go get our hands dirty!