The new light shade flower beds are quickly coming to life with plants from all over the yard, a constant reminder that a perennial patch is the gift that keeps on giving. My garden of hellebores is actually happening.

If there is anything I learned from many trial and error gardening endeavors is that seeds may or may not sprout but anything with roots that you dug up from the same lot is almost guaranteed to grow. This little discovery now allows me to multiply the plant stock indefinitely (not all at the same time, mind you), and try various locations until I find the right combination of factors that makes everything fall into place naturally.

If a plant doesn't thrive I move it until it looks happy with the accommodations. I just relocated the daylilies for the third time. They looked distressed growing in full shade, scraggly leaved and refusing to bloom, but when I tried to pull them I noticed their unfortunate circumstances gave them a reason to grow extra tubers. They now grace a very bright area of the shade garden with abundant space and plenty of water. Here's hoping!

I moved the heucheras twice after they lost their territorial war with the rugged hellebores and were meekly nursing ever diminishing foliage under the mighty evergreen. If you give a hellebore two square feet it will take the remaining ten without your help but I can't begrudge them their expansionist habits, they bloom in January after all!

Three struggling hostas from a sunny location with not so perfect soil perked up immediately at the touch of rich dark soil, moisture and shade and literally grew an inch in the three days since I transplanted them.

The garden phlox changed location again since last time I planted it at the front of a low growing perennial border where it looked like a stick in the mud. The indomitable sedums tripled in quantity due to the miracle of plant division: zero to three by four foot shrubs in three months.

Just wishing and waiting for the black cohosh started from seed last week. If it grows it will be the most spectacular shade plant in my garden: its lush dark purple foliage, almost black, is deeply fringed and airy and its graceful and stately bottle brush flowers glow like white fireworks in the deep shade they like so much. The flowers smell like honey, last for a month and grow tall, gracefully adorning foundation walls and fences. I sigh and dream and sigh again. Please let them germinate, please! They take a long time to mature, but some plants are worth the wait.

Last but not least I reviewed the contents of my seed box and found white hollyhock and pink lupine seeds, lucky me. Between those, the bugleweed and the sweet woodruff groundcovers I think my new shade garden is pretty much set now. Just waiting for the spring bulbs to wrap up the season.

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: and, 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.