Each season around my garden seems to be dominated by a particular color or two. Fall is golden yellows and reds. Winter is shades of brown and grey, occasionally punctuated by the white of snow.

Once spring starts to emerge, yellow predominates, with daffodils spotting the lawn and the edges of the driveway. Later in the spring the purples emerge, with crocuses, irises, wisteria and baptisia blooming. Summer gives way to oranges and reds.

But, as with nearly all gardens, most of the year the backdrop color is green. Thank goodness green is such an interesting color, unlike, say, brown. Brown is, well, brown.

We are blessed to have woods surrounding the sunny, cleared area where our house and potager are situated. Although I didn’t initially know how to deal with the shade from the trees, over the past few years as I have learned more about shade plants, I have become more enamored with the possibilities of the shade garden.

The area near the chicken coop is now one of my favorites. (You may be able to tell, given how often I photograph this particular spot.) It started out as weeds. Then when we had a big dog, it was referred to as the Poop Garden. (Charming, no?) Later, it was just the chicken yard. Now, it is the Green Garden or, sometimes, the Hosta Garden.

In this area I have been collecting dozens of hosta varieties. The possibilities are endless! Blue Angel and Big Daddy hostas. Small Mouse Ears and Stiletto hostas. Lush Sum and Substance and Guacamole hostas. Someday when the Empress Wu hostas are four feet tall, they will be a focal point.

Tiarella, bleeding hearts, ferns and lamiums provide some variety. Flowering quince and deuzia are backdrop shrubs. I am training an edgeworthia into a standard. And although the paint on our kiwi green bench is now beginning to flake, I think I’ll wait another year to decide how to deal with the paint.

One year some golden-colored creeping Jenny escaped from a window box and made itself at home near the back deck. Being a fairly laissez-faire gardener, I let it be—and even encouraged its creepy habits by spreading it around. I rather like the look of it encroaching into the lawn. In fact, two years ago I was horrified when, in a frenzy of weeding zeal, my husband tried to eliminate it! (But that’s not so easy, my friend. So be careful about Jenny before allowing her to roam.)

Yes, it’s green season most of the year around here–my favorite season of all.

(As always, click on the photo to embiggen.)

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  • Carol says:

    Green is always good, in any season. Your Poop/Hosta/Green garden looks great.

  • Welcome to the shady side and beware of incipient Hostaphilia. I would love to have a real woodland like yours & hope to someday see it in person.

  • Frances says:

    I love it, Robin, and that golden Jenny is wonderful. We grow all the same hostas except for the Empress. I will have to remedy that, she sounds delightful, but needs room, it seems.

  • Gail says:

    Robin, Green season is what my mostly native garden is all about, too. Although, hostas don’t find my garden hospitable~Guacamole is the exception. Your woodland looks peaceful and the green bench is where I would head to think and relax. xogail

  • Do those trees suck up a lot of water that the hostas want? Do you have to water them much in dry spells? It looks like a very peaceful spot.

  • Keith says:

    Kiwi green? Did I hear you say kiwi green? Everything is green here in the beautiful land of the kiwi, but I’ve never heard of “kiwi green” as a colour! I’m told most Americans think first of a fruit when the word kiwi is mentioned. In fact, a kiwi is New Zealand’s most famous bird, and the name is affectionately applied to New Zealanders (as Canuck is used as a name for Canadians). The fruit Americans call a kiwi, we call kiwifruit, so named because it was first grown commercially in New Zealand. Before it was grown commercially it was known here as Chinese gooseberry. But you knew all that!

  • Benita says:

    Hi, Robin,

    In December we will have lived on our property for 19 years. This year, due to our late spring on Puget Sound, each new green: hellebores, hazelnut leaves, heuchera, brunnera and rhodies, all of them are cause for celebration. Your hostas sound gorgeous!

  • What House? says:

    Hi Robin, I am really interested to read about your shady area and your planting. I too have a wood at the end of my garden, also a shady part under a beautiful elderberry tree by our pond. I struggled for three years and didn’t know quite what to plant, and how to use these areas. But actually, like you, they are really interesting to plant because you have to be so selective and also try different things. I have planted many hosta plants that do remarkably well and look lovely by the pond. I have also planted an array of ferns at an angle so they hang over the pond slightly, and I also planted a few grasses at different heights, also miscanthus which doesn’t mind shady areas. I also planted creeping oregano which is doing very well and has bright purple flowers. I will definitely try your creeping Jenny.

  • karen says:

    Hi Robin,
    Love your “Poop” garden name..made me laugh.
    I wish I could get creeping jenny to invade…love the look!