August 2, 2014
We're now in August and that means it's hot and humid in our Mississippi landscapes. This time of year I'm always looking for the shade. I love the way the path curves around with the hydrangea and Japanese fatsia making me want to ask, "What's around the corner?" That's when we encounter the weathered back gate. Passing through we find the wonderfull shade garden. The moss and lichen on the brick path creates the sense of well worn age. Plants have been selected that will tolerate the lower light conditions. Gold Dust aucuba is a great choice for a woodland setting. The foliage is dense and glossy and appears to be splattered creamy yellow. This shrub can brighten any shady corner. Running next to the brick path is a wall of Japanese Yew that provides a nice screen and interesting texture. Further down the path we see what looks like a crape myrtle. But actually this is a tree form of Ruby loropetalum. In the shade the foliage emerges ruby burgundy and fades back to green. I like the use of the combination of liriope, golden lantana and pinkish rose colored impatiens adding a smattering of color. Impatiens are a good color plant, but suffer in the full sun and heat of Mississippi. Grown in the deep shade impatiens will brighten the shady landscape all summer. Another good shade plant is Patriot hosta. The variegated oval leaves have deep green centers and irregular white margins. The bell shaped lavender flowers appear in mid-summer. So when it gets hot in the landscape take my advice and head for and garden in the shade. I'm horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.