Objective and Design
The Shade Garden became a part of the Sherwood Demonstration Garden in part as a result of the layout of the acreage. One entire length of the SDG is under the canopy of mature oaks on the property of the Folsom Lake College, El Dorado Center. Another important reason for having the Shade Garden is that it is very typical of many parts of El Dorado County.
The SG has all the elements of the challenges of gardening in a shady situation. Found within the SG are areas that are in deep shade, some in filtered shade, some in morning sun and afternoon shade and some that have more shade during the summer months than in the winter.
Additionally, while the majority of the SG typifies the dry shade conditions that are endemic to EDC, a part of it lies along the bed of a creek that is dry during the summer months but flowing in the wetter months. The ground along the creek bank retains more moisture than the rest of the SG.
The overall goal is to provide information to the gardening public that will help them deal with their shady situations.
Shade Garden Plant List
Here is the complete plant list for the Shade Garden.
Winter in the Shade Garden
Many people think that winter is a blah time of interest in the garden. But it doesn’t have to be drab and dull. Winter may not be a time of major floral displays but even without a profusion of flowering plants there can be interest and color in the garden.
At this time of the year in the Shade Garden there are several points of color to see. There are two species of Helleborus in the garden: one, the Lenten Rose (Helleborus orientalis) is in full bloom in mid-January. The Helleborus foetidus (Bears-Foot Hellebore) will bloom in Febrary, gracing the plant, and therefore the garden, with beautiful lime colored blossoms.
Another beautifully blooming plant is the Anemone coronoria ‘Mona Lisa’ (Poppy-flowered Anemone). It has decided the weather has been spring-like and it is therefore time to show the fantastic blue color of the blossoms.
The Cyclamen hederifolium (Hardy Cyclamen) has finished blooming but the foliage is a wonderful mix of green and yellow.
And, keeping the Cyclamen happy is the variegated foliage of the Osmanthus heterophyllus (Holly-Leaf Osmanthus).
The Cornus sericea (Redtwig Dogwood) is showing why it is such a popular shrub for a winter garden; it truly lives up to its common name with no leaves to distract from the wonderful reddish color of the branches.
So, no, the Shade Garden is not drab and dull. You just have to look a bit more closely to see the variations of color to be found. Just wait, in another month, there will be many colors to see.