Yesterday we saw what the Front Garden had on offer at the beginning of July. Today we head to the shady back garden, under the dappled shade of Silver Maples and other mature trees.


Here’s the path to the Back Garden on the east side of the house. Groundcovers include Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense), Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina), and Great Merrybells (Uvularia grandiflora).s


This is what you see after coming through the arbor, looking toward the round patio. While the Front Garden becomes a festival of hot colors during high summer, the Back Garden stays calm throughout the season. There’s an emphasis on white flowers, with occasional dashes of something more intense.


And here looking north to the back fence. The seedheads of the ‘Purple Sensation’ Alliums are still standing.


There’s Clematis back here as well. ‘Ice Blue’ grows on the arbor at the entrance to this part of the garden. There’s also ‘Guernsey Cream’, but it’s not showing any flowers.


At this moment, there is more yellow in back than anywhere else in the garden. That’s thanks to Yellow Corydallis (Corydallis lutea). It seeds pretty aggressively into spots most other plants would avoid. Which can be useful, though I worry a bit that Yellow Corydallis could turn into a pest. It isn’t hard to pull, though.


There’s also White Corydalis (C. ochroleuca), which seems much less aggressive.


Here Yellow Corydalis surrounding some Dwarf Goatsbeard (Aruncus aethusifolius). I hope the Goatsbeard won’t be overwhelmed.


I have tried with minimal success to grow Red Baneberry (Actaea rubra); only one of several plants have survived. I hope the survivor prospers, but I don’t intend to plant any more. Speaking of berries, I forgot to take a picture of the purple fruit on the ‘Autumn Brilliance’ Serviceberries. Robins and squirrels are busy scarfing them down; I should pick a few for myself.


I am quite pleased that I found some Bowman’s Root (Gillenia trifoliata) for sale at the local garden center, and I planted 2 in the Back Garden’s Raised Island Bed. I like the red stems, clean foliage, and irregular star-shaped flowers. These two should form a sizable clump that will make a nice statement in the garden.

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A while back I went through a Gray Dogwood (Cornus racemosa) phase, planting it wherever there might be an opening. As a result, I have some nice specimen’s that are covered by clusters of tiny white flowers this time of year. Eventually the flowers yield to white berries that are eaten almost immediately by the birds.


Here’s a close-up of the flowers.


The ‘Annabelle’ Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens) has its own clusters of white flowers just now, larger than those of the Gray Dogwood.


A tiny dash of color is provided by the first flowers of Purple-Flowering Raspberry (Rubus odoratum).

The Back Garden doesn’t have much drama; it’s a place for relaxation. Even so, I like to keep enough going on to keep people from getting too sleepy.


29 Comments on “On the Threshold of Summer 2”

  1. Thank-you for this wonderful tour. I hope you will give a monthly update/tour of your gardens. I love your shady backyard, what a wonderful place to escape to during the summer heat waves. I have some shady areas in my yard that I live in during the summer months, so thanks for the ideas. I was also wondering what you have growing under your dogwood (it isn’t in bloom). Also, do you need to water your backyard frequently?

  2. I don’t remember seeing that view across your back garden before, when going through the arbor – it is really lovely! It looks like a peaceful and cool haven for relaxing after some hot gardening work in the sun. 🙂 The Hydrangea is spectacular.

  3. Ha, I wouldn’t go to sleep back there. There are so many plants for interest. Green being my favorite color in the garden I don’t miss flowers much. I have that yellow Corydalis and I pull it out because it dries up and looks ugly after flowering. It lasted longer this spring due to all the rain and cool weather. I would be surprised if it would drown a goatsbeard. Your garden looks great!

  4. I was out on the prairie yesterday, and came home with a renewed appreciation for shade. Your garden looks like a lovely retreat. The corydalis reminds me of the native species I found this spring: the so-called “scrambled eggs.”

    When I last was at the rare plant preserve in east Texas, the guide for our plant walk pointed out a well-protected native ginger that had been found on the banks of the Neches river and transplanted there by the woman who developed the preserve. It’s thriving, but not spreading. I don’t know what species it is; I’ll have to inquire.

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