06 September 2009

Fix this effing mess


This is our little patch of earth off the the front porch. I believe the dimensions are 4x5 and it faces east. As you can see, it's a mess. The reason for the mess is that we don't quite know what to do with it yet. We want to fill it with perennials. We're looking for flowers, something edible, and some height in the back. Our problem is that we are dealing with some serious partial sun. In the summer, the plot gets shaded by the house around 12:30-1:00. We really don't have the experience with perennials to even know where to start. Do you have any suggestions? Give us a list, and we'll give it a try.

11 comments:

our friend Ben said...

Okay, I'll bite. Not many edibles love shade, but fortunately some very ornamental edibles do: Swiss chard (think of all those fluorescent stem colors!), arugula, lettuces (lots of gorgeous wine reds). My rhubarb's in full sun, but I would be willing to give it a shot in part shade as well. With perennials, however, the sky's the limit. You can grow hostas, heucheras, hellebores, and hemerocallis (daylilies, couldn't resist the alliteration, sorry). You can grow bleeding hearts, Solomon's seal and false Solomon's seal, Virginia bluebells, ajuga, lamium, wild ginger, epimediums, cyclamen, and, of course, all kinds of great ferns. And you can grow bulbs! Daffodils, tulips, crocuses, star-of-Bethlehem, snowdrops, windflowers, grape hyacinths, you name it! Underplant your perennials with them for a glorious spring show. I'm not even scratching the surface, but it will at least get you started thinking. And good luck!

henbogle said...

Yeah, what Ben said.... If you grow edibles, do a soil test first, especially before you grow greens since they can uptake heavy metals. And if you decide you want hosta, leave a comment on my blog, I can send you some starts next spring.
Ali

Christina said...

You could put pots of edible ginger out there in the spring/summer/fall months to grow in the warmth and partial sun--you could have your own ginger without having to import from anywhere.

Some alpine strawberries need only part sun, those might work, especially in front along the border.

I'd bet on rhubarb appreciating the shade too. What about saffron crocus towards the front? Or nigella sativum? Cumin? Low growing herbs with purty flowers . . . So many ideas.

Good luck! Oh, and hosta IS an edible!

Laurel said...

If you decide on Hostas, day lilies or bleeding hearts, you know where to come to get them at a dandy price. Or I can bring them to you!

Kate said...

What about a shade-tolerant, culinary herb patch? Lovage, sorrel, angelica, and sweet cicely all like partial shade, are hardy in our zone, and are biennial/perennial. Add chervil in as an annual.

Lovage is nice to have around for when you want a bit of celery flavor (roast chicken), but you don't have any celery on hand. Supposedly it gets pretty big, but in the semi-shaded spot where I put it this year, it hasn't gotten above ~18". Then again, I've pretty much ignored it and planted it in crappy soil. So many herbs are good at shifting for themselves.

There are probably a number of medicinal herbs that tolerate shade too, if you're interested in going that direction.

Angelina said...

Herbs are a great choice.

But for edible perennials I would do an evergreen huckleberry. They prefer some shade, are deciduous, and produce huckleberries!

I also just read that elderberries can do well in partial shade.

Woody said...

Lemongrass does well with limited sun and would make a nice background for your more colorful plantings suggested near the walk. It makes a fantastic tea when dried.

chook said...

i would try whatever you like. i've found that dry shade is the hardest to work with, but many plants outdo my expectations despite the "requirements".

just my 2 cents.

Malissa said...

Nasturium do well in the shade. They would be pretty in the front. They come in various shades of orange and are have a delicious peppery bit and are so beautiful on a salad.

Aussiemade said...

Most plants love morning sun. So you are fortunate for this. Somewhere I was told or read this.
Jasmin will grow in a semi shaded spot, I have hellebore, some bulbs, a Daphene bush, a bay tree, comfrey, daisy's all growing in my morning sun (a lot less hours than you get) and thriving. lettuces will like being in less sun, I agree it will depend on what your soil is like, and how easy it is to water. Most of my plants get rain water and some hand watering in summer.

Malissa said...

I meant to say...."They come in various shades of orange, have a delicious peppery bite, and are so beautiful on a salad". I hate bad grammar. I went back to your blog to see if you decided on a specific plan for your little troubled patch of earth and found my grammatical errors! I feel better now.