Bushes in the Back Garden


     In one of the barest corners of the back garden I wanted something that would fill the space and be evergreen.  I chose a viburnum called "leatherleaf".  This is an evergreen viburnum with shiny, thick,  puckered leaves.  It had white flowers in the spring and has doubled in size.  It can grow six to ten feet high and spread six to ten feet.

Fothergilla Blue Sjadow

     One bush I have never had is a fothergilla which was planted in the middle of the back garden.  It  had white flowers in early spring and has powder blue leaves.  I am waiting for the striking fall colors of the leaves in autumn that I have read about.  It has suddenly doubled in size and can get four to six feet high and wide. 

Dragon Lady Hollies

     There are six dragon lady hollies planted along the fence in the back garden.  They had tiny, white flowers in the spring, and now have lots of green berries that will turn red in fall.  They are starting to fill out, but are supposed to keep their columnar shape and can grow ten to twenty feet, but will only get four to six feet wide.

Azalea Encore Autumn Chiffon

     In the back garden there are three azalea bushes, one of which was planted  here  years ago that blooms in the spring with white flowers.  The other two are recently planted Encore azaleas that bloom spring, summer and fall.  One is white azalea called Encore Autumn Moonlight which can grow to five feet, and this bicolor azalea pictured above called Encore Autumn Chiffon whose flowers are bicolor pink and white.  This azalea will only get 21/2 feet tall and three feet wide.  They bloomed in the spring, but I am waiting to see if the Encore varieties bloom in summer and again in the fall.

Dwarf Nandina

     There are six dwarf nandina bushes in the back garden, three on each end of the garden that were planted many years ago.  Some have not been pruned and were very leggy.  In March I pruned them, and they will need more pruning next spring.Here is one of the nicer looking bushes with lots of white flowers that will turn into red berries in the fall.  

back garden with pink begonias

    I took out the tired looking pansies and planted pink begonias along the wall in the back garden.  I wanted a flowering shade annual for some color and these looked so beautiful at the garden center.

Back Garden Plants


Autumn fern
     There are several other shade plants growing in the back garden besides the hostas and heucheras I posted about last week.  The Autumn fern (Dyopteris erythrosora) pictured at right is one of three planted in the garden.  This is the first time I have planted this fern.  I am hoping it will be at least semi-evergreen in the winter here as I've been told.  I decided to give it a try since I wanted something in this fairly bare spot in the garden all winter.  I like the orange or copper color of the new fronds.

Black cohosh

     Along the fence I planted five black cohosh (actea racemosa, formerly cimicifuga racemosa).  This is another new plant for me.  I wanted something against the eight-foot fence that runs along most of the back yard.  I have read that the whispy plumes of tiny, star-like flowers can grow up to eight feet tall, and that the seed pods can be attractive as winter interest in the garden.  I am anxious to find out if the flowers can be as unpleasantly scented as I have read.

Brunnera macrophylla

     There are six Brunnera macrophylla, or Siberian bugloss, in the garden.  Brunneras are one of my favorite shade plants, not only for their tiny, lacy blue flowers in  the spring, but also their large, heart-shaped leaves that last till frost.


     There are a few hellebores on the side of the back garden that is near the forested flood plain.  There is a whole field of hellebores there outside the fence that I planted years ago.  I was surprised to see when we bought this house again, that some of the seeds from that area had made it over the fence.

Hardy begonia

     I received two hardy begonias (Begonia grandis), a winter hardy begonia to zone 7, at my garden club plant exchange this May.  I planted them on the somewhat empty edges of each side of the back garden.  I love the plants large mounds of often red-veined, heart-shaped leaves and delicate pink flowers that bloom in August-September.

     There are a few more plants and several bushes in the back garden that I will post photos of next time.  Happy Father's Day to all the dads and father figures.

Hostas and Heucheras

Great Expectations Hosta

     The back garden is shade to part shade, and I have planted 11 hostas and heucheras there.  I have planted three of the Great Expectations hostas shown at right.  I planted them because they add brightness to a shady area.  They are supposedly slow growing but can become very large, which is fine with me because I have a lot of ground to cover in the back garden.  They can spread to three feet wide (some info says spread can be four feet) and height can reach three feet..  They have white flowers in June/July and they are just starting to flower now.

Fragrant Blue Hosta

     I have two of these Fragrant Blue hostas.  Some information says they are only barely fragrant.  Since I have never grown this hosta, I will find out.  Blue leaves are suppose to emerge all summer.  This hosta also has a large spread from three to four feet with a height of eighteen inches.  This hosta has white to lavender flowers in August to September.

Heuchera Caramel

     I planted three of these Heuchera Caramel.  This heuchera has lots of color.  The leaf color can range from bright gold to apricot, peachy orange to amber.  But there is also a lot of lime green to the leaves which I thought would add some brightness to the shade.  The underside of the leaves are purple/red.  This heuchera tolerates high heat and humidity and is evergreen in mild winter areas.  It grows up to eighteen inches tall and two feet wide.  It has white to light pink flowers June to July.

Heuchera Grape Soda

     I bought three of these heucheras because I was struck by the color.  In the spring when I bought them the leaves were rose pink, and they have now matured to silvery purple  They have light purple flowers that bloom April to August.  They grow eight to ten inches tall and eighteen to twenty inches wide.

New Gardens

A Graham Thomas rose bush in side garden


     I can't believe it has been seven months since my last post.  Life gets in the way when you move.  I do not recommend moving five days before Christmas into a house where kitchen remodeling is still going on, the entire yard has been neglected, and then having to endure snowmaggedon the end of January, a bitterly cold April with snow, a month of rain in May.  Trying to garden has been a real challenge.  We jumped at the chance to buy back the house we built and lived in for twenty some years when it came on the market last fall.  We love the house and neighborhood. 

     The house we moved from (a bargain fixer upper that we bought when we were transferred back to this area ) was much too large for us with an acre of mostly grass, with only a few trees that were far away from the house.  It was hard to see and hear birds because the trees were so far away.  But now back at our old house, wildlife is a few steps away from the windows.  Lots of trees, birds, squirrels, chipmunks.  And with a forested flood plain on one side of the house, we see deer, fox, rabbit, and raccoons.

The neglected back garden

     Here's what the neglected back yard garden looked like last November just after we bought the house.  Trees and bushes were overgrown and not pruned.  There were all kinds of vines, weeds and stray plants growing everywhere.

Back garden early spring

     This is an early spring (mid March) photo of the same area cleaned up, planted with new hollies and other bushes.  The daffodils I planted years ago are still there.  I put in some pansies along the edge of the wall. We had sod put down in the back yard because it was mostly weeds and mud.

Back garden early June

     Here is a photo I just took today of the same area now planted with lots of shade plants.  The daffodils are done, and the pansies are bushier and bigger and still doing fine since it has been cool so far.

     I will detail what's growing in the back garden in the next post, and in following posts I'll include the side gardens, the woodland garden, and the front garden.