Taking a quick look around the garden this morning to capture a few photos in ten minutes, I realized the main flowerbed, the first planting I did when we moved here, is a riot of color. I think I went for "show" when I planned this bed. Instead I had to look to my containers and shade garden for some green. I seem to have gone for more foliage in my plantings this year--maybe that is a sign of my growth as a gardener? This first photo is of one of my favorites for containers, Persian Shield. It isn't even green, obviously, but the purple foliage is a nice counterpoint to the showy pink petunias and geraniums in several pots.
Coleus is one of those old-fashioned plants that I wasn't that fond of a few years ago, but growers have been coming up with some spectacular varieties in recent years. The introduction of the Kong series made me re-think coleus, and I usually include one in a couple containers.
I love the showy foliage of caladiums, and I planted several bulbs in my shade garden, but I haven't seen any life from any of them. I think they may have gotten drowned when we had the torrential rains at the beginning of June. I consoled myself by buying one plant and putting it in a container.
But this one--now, this one is a real beauty! It's called "Tricolor Impomoea batatas." (If you're impressed I know the names, it's because this year I actually saved all my tags!) Notice the young leaves begin as a dark pink and then mature to a variegated green with pink tinges on the edges.
Moving on to the shade garden area, there is a lot of green here, especially since hostas are the main planting in this area. But if you ignore the lovely pink blooms of the "Endless Summer" hydrangeas (supposed to be blue, but of course I always forget to add some acidic food until after they've started blooming), you'll see even the leaves are quite lovely.
I hope to eventually have a lot of ferns in this area, but the small bare-root plants I ordered from a mail-order company last fall didn't make it through the winter. So this Japanese painted fern is a bit lonely.
The lamium, "Silver Beacon," I think, is a plant I've shown before. It is growing profusely through the shade garden--a word of caution if you've never grown it before: plant it where you want something to spread.
Heucheras have certainly grown in popularity the last few years, and I'm becoming a big fan. This is a new acquisition this spring, "Dolce Creme Brulee." Not a very good picture--it actually has more of a bronze tint--but it was hiding behind some other plantings in a container. It will be moved to the shade garden this fall.
I've mentioned before that I expanded my small shade garden last fall, nearly doubling its size. It's a work in progress with lots of empty spaces yet--the plant budget got shot before I got to this area. I did buy some inexpensive hostas from a mail-order company last year, including a "grab bag" of unnamed varieties. They're all doing quite well, but as to be expected they're still quite small.
But here's the show-stopper of the shady ladies--my Sum and Substance hosta. This one, I think, is only four years old and has really taken off this year--must have been all that rain this spring. I didn't get out a tape measure, but just "eyeballing" it, the leaves are about 10-12 inches wide! Next spring I'm going to have to move everything next to it to give it some more room to grow.