February Meeting

At the meeting, we reviewed the plans for 2010. Check the Upcoming Events column for updated information.

The President's post will be available in 2011 as Ruth Hartsell completes her term. Or perhaps you'd rather be the Treasurer or Editor. Please speak up if any of these positions appeal to you.

We also need a chairperson for the annual member dinner in November.

Our program for the evening was Elements of Shade Gardening presented by Bruce Buehrig. He has been a member of our chapter since 1998 and specializes in hostas and shade plants. All slides shown featured the fabulous Buehrig garden. Thank you to Bruce for providing the following article:


Full sun is easily defined as six hours or more of continuous direct sunlight. Shade comes in differing descriptive degrees including: part shade, deep shade, full shade, dappled shade, medium shade, high shade, dry shade, afternoon shade, morning sun, filtered light, low light, low canopy, high canopy, and more.

Gardeners must assess the reduced light in their gardens and plant accordingly. Unfortunately there is a measure of trial and error in this process of determining correct light exposure for plants described as shade tolerant.

Rocks and boulders are a tremendous asset for use in a shady area. Their structure and form are most useful in defining a planting area, and if large enough, can provide some shade. Trees provide the most shade for gardens, but gardeners may use available houses, garages, and outbuildings to cast shade.

Developing an understory of shade by using Japanese maples, dogwoods, crabapples and other ornamental trees will add filtered light, and, as a bonus, new color schemes for the shade garden. Additionally, shade tolerant conifers can provide texture, structure and year round green appeal in a naturally darkened garden spot.

While hostas and ferns are considered the backbones of a shade garden, there are many other plants that provide texture and color in a shady area. Foliage is the primary feature of shade plants yet cultivars with flowering capabilities can shine in a dark area. Acanthus and arisaemas with their unique blooms, create star appeal in low light while the brightly colored blooms of liliums sparkle in those darkened areas. Lycoris easily companions with hostas and ferns and as a bonus, provides flowers in the fall. The blooms of the hardy orchids, calanthe and bletilla, can be used as focal points in a somber spot. With these plants and more, one can create much diversity in a shaded garden.

One of the most versatile shade plants is Dicentra (bleeding heart). Varieties include spectabalis, eximia, and formosa. Dicentras range in height from twelve inches to three feet, and some, (formosas and eximias), bloom from spring through fall. To make these plants perform optimally, group them with other shade seeking moisture lovers. Polygonatums (solomon’s seal), Convallarias {lily of the valley}, and Arums are excellent choices for deep shade. All flower, readily increase and each has varieties that provide variegated foliage in low light conditions.

Shade gives the gardener a wonderful opportunity to create a unique design with many unusual and eye appealing plantings that capture the attention of anyone seeking a cool spot on a warm summer day.

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