Saturday, April 14, 2012

Blooms in the Shade


The name of this azalea is a mystery; it was here when we moved in almost 20 years ago.  It is our latest-blooming azalea, and it kind of clashes with all the others, so I'm glad it's a little later than most, and on the side of the house where you don't notice the color difference so much.  I look forward to it every year because it never disappoints, blooming profusely up against the house where I see it as I go in and out (and where the deer leave it alone).

Autumn fern (Dryopteris erythrosora)

The azalea's coral hue looks great with the autumn ferns near it which send up new peach-edged fronds this time of year.

Azalea 'George L. Tabor'

Orange undertones don't look very good with the blue-pink azaleas in the woodland garden.  Southern indica azalea 'George Tabor,' for example; it's still blooming, but barely.


Fortunately, white goes with everything, and my favorite white azalea is blooming.  It's another nameless one, because we inherited it with the house.  I love the green throats of these flowers, and the leaves are lighter, brighter green than most azaleas.  It's getting so old now that the branches are kind of gnarled and twisted.  I love it.  I pinned one of the branches down a couple of years ago, and it is firmly rooted in, so now I have two!

Sweetshrub (x Sinocalycalycanthus raulstonii)

Two more favorite shrubs are blooming in the woodland garden, Sweetshrub and Buckeye.  My husband and I both love these shrubs, and, unlike me, he doesn't like everything, so that's saying something.  We just put the sweetshrub in last year, but already it looks at home.


Calycanthus raulstonii 'Hartlage Wine', is a cross between our native Calycanthus floridus and an Asian species, Sinocalycanthus chinensis.  This sweetshrub has lots of three to four inch maroon colored blossoms with creamy white centers, and the medium-sized leaves are a nice shade of green. You can read more about what is also known as Raulston allspice here; if you have shade, you are going to want this plant.

Red buckeye (Aesculus pavia)
Close by, a three year old red buckeye is finally looking settled in.  A few buckeyes are even beginning to form this year as the flowers fade.


If you live in Charlotte, you probably know all about the canker worm problem, which was especially HORRIBLE this year. I think they are the caterpillars that made the holes in this plant, and in a lot of the others, too. They can do significant damage, and their droppings make a mess of things (like driveways, cars and houses) underneath them.  We will have to band our trees this fall to try to reduce the population.

Green and Gold (Chrysogonum virginianum)

Green and gold brightens up the shade underneath trees and shrubs with its yellow Asteraceae blooms.  Remember this handy little plant;  it's one of the few native, evergreen (or semi-evergreen) ground covers for shade.  It even tolerates dry shade, and/or some foot traffic, and it blooms for a long time.

~*~
Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day is on the 15th of every month, and is the brainchild of Carol at May Dreams Gardens.  Visit her blog to see what's blooming in gardens around the world!

22 comments:

  1. I have Green & Gold on the bank by my stream. It took a couple of years before it decided to start doing something, and has just gotten better every year since. I love it.

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    1. mine was the same way, GUTI, but now i love it, too.

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  2. The canker worms are horrible in my garden too. They are eating everything and are everywhere. i find them all over the kids, myself and then dogs every time we are out in the garden. Yuck! I just put in some green and gold this spring. I saw this sweetshrub at the Atlanta History Center garden for the first time. The blooms are beautiful but it didn't smell like the natives. Does yours have a fragrance?

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    1. karin, i'm sad to say, not a lot of fragrance. i would still like to have the native, too. fragrant plants are my favorites.

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  3. I should try to get my hands on some azaleas... NO STOP!!! No more plants for me this year!!! But maybe next year...

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    1. soren, i know what you mean! it's outta control around here, too! :P

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  4. I noticed that I have two volunteer Autumn ferns coming up in the no man's land between me and my neighbor. I may have to get the shovel out and relocate. It is my fav. fern.

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    1. it is a great fern and one of my favorites, too. it almost always looks good and it tolerates drought really well.

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  5. Lots of lovely plants here and most I know little about as they don't tolerate our climate here in Scotland. The sweetshrub is very pretty - like little dahlia flowers.

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    1. i love the deep red color...kind of unusual in the spring garden.

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  6. I really like woodland plants. You have a wonderful assortment.

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    1. thank you, mary. i wasn't very happy gardening in the shade at first, but now i wouldn't trade it. i love the woodland garden.

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  7. How nice your Sweetshrub is so happy. I have lots blooming in the shade right now, except my two small, almost dead, white azaleas that were planted last year. Last summer was a little rough on them. You have some beautiful blooms!!

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    1. janet, my husband was a watering fool last summer. we put in lots of new plants at a terrible time (july!) and if it weren't for him everything would be dead. we still might lose a couple of things...azaleas don't like to be too close to the driveway we're finding out.

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  8. Nice post! Your photography is lovely as well. ;)

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  9. I'm having trouble with blogger and their comment boxes. I tried to say I was glad to see azaleas and sweetshrub again as Spring moved off northward. Magnolias and Spiraea bumaldo here now.

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    1. just so you know, nelljean, three comments came through. you aren't getting a captcha box are you? i thought i turned those off.

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  10. Lovely bloom. I have a lot of shade in the backyard so I can relate to the challenge.

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    1. elaine, we just have to give up growing roses and tomatoes there, don't we? but there are lots of wonderful shrubs and wildflowers to grow instead.

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  11. Very nice photography and garden! Don't believe I've ever seen a canker worm.

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    1. greggo, thank you for the compliment! canker worms are little inch worms that spin long threads from the tree canopies and land on you when you walk by. one or two isn't so bad, but dozens gets to be pretty icky.

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