I just finished creating a lovely shade garden which features a very welcome addition, "Stained Glass" hostas. These plants have everything the sun-starved gardener could hope for: beautiful and resilient foliage that weathers heat and drought, dramatic colors and large fragrant flowers worthy of flower shows.

Almost everybody has a dry shady corner in their yard they would like to ignore, but gnaws slowly on their green thumb pride like a slug on a cabbage leaf. One resigns oneself to keeping it tidy, which turns out to be quite easy, since even weeds won't grow without sun and water.

These corners are usually perfect locations to create a little haven of peace and quiet, complete with flowers and fragrance. There may not be many plants that thrive in these conditions, but I can assure you that you can find enough of them to replace dried up dirt with lush green happiness.

What goes into a shade garden? First of all a modest piece of furniture, a little wooden bench or chair, a little table to support a potted plant, maybe a bird bath, a colorful stepping stone or wind chime.

Plant fragrant hostas, fairy candles, foam flowers, Solomon's seal and sweet violets around your little sitting area. Add mint close to the pathway and its fragrance will delight you every time you brush against it. Variegated dead nettles are very striking in the shade, especially when in bloom. Make sure to have stepping stones to keep your shoes clean, the shady areas tend to stay muddy well after the rain is gone, and grass won't do well there, but the spaces between the pavers are perfect for moss. With any luck it will find a home on and around these stones without your help, giving your little shade garden an old established look.

Don't ignore the spaces under the trees, periwinkle, ivy and creeping Jenny are happy to grow in tight nooks and crannies, even in the driest unfriendly corners. These ground covers may be unruly under normal circumstances since they tend to become invasive, but if you ever tried to plant anything under a black walnut tree, you learn to appreciate their vitality and resilience. Speaking of black walnut trees, their roots defend their territory by releasing a growth inhibitor into the soil. If you find that this tree's shade is the place where plants go to die, try growing them in containers.

Fill in the remaining spaces with impatiens. Find a nice wrought iron support and hang a basket of tuberous begonias, they will bloom spectacularly in full shade if they have good food and water.

The only thing that requires a little effort is watering. The lush corner won't stay lush with no water, at least not during the first year. A good organic fertilizer won't hurt it either.

Author's Bio: 

Main Areas: Garden Writing; Sustainable Gardening; Homegrown Harvest
Published Books: “Terra Two”; “Generations”
Career Focus: Author; Consummate Gardener;
Affiliation: All Year Garden; The Weekly Gardener; Francis Rosenfeld's Blog

I started blogging in 2010, to share the joy of growing all things green and the beauty of the garden through the seasons. Two garden blogs were born: allyeargarden.com and theweeklygardener.com, a periodical that followed it one year later. I wanted to assemble an informal compendium of the things I learned from my grandfather, wonderful books, educational websites, and my own experience, in the hope that other people might use it in their own gardening practice.