Venny’s Garden

A shady haven

Photo by Venny Zachritz

I’m going to change things up a bit for my blog and feature special gardens, special gardeners, and special gardening techniques in addition to cooking from the garden.

One of the best finds right now is my friend Venny’s garden. She is an artful shade gardener and has a spectacular landscape. Here is her description of her garden!

Photo by Venny Zachritz

Greetings from Asheville!

I’m Venny and I am passionate about gardening. In the last 30 years I have lived in the southwest, the southeast, the mid-Atlantic Appalachian mountains of Maryland, and now the foothills of the southern Appalachian mountains in Asheville. I learned, through trial and error, how to garden in each of these locations but adding color to my landscape was never an issue until now.

My north Asheville home sits on the slope of a hill, as most Asheville homes do, and the yard is almost completely shaded by trees of various species, ages and sizes. Over the years I have thinned out some trees to open an area for a small plot of pollinator plants and a woodland area for native azaleas. But in the summer months there is little color variety – mostly shades of green.

Photo by Venny Zachritz

After spending years of buying sun-loving annuals and having them languish, I have now learned how to use different shades of green to add color and texture.

I line the edges of my garden with shade-loving variegated or chartreuse perennials. I love using hostas and am drawn to the variegated ones, in white, cream and gold, for their color. I also use chartreuse-colored Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa) and striped sedges (Carex) to add light and texture.

Photo by Venny Zachritz

I’ll drop in some caladiums and coleus for spots of color. Then, some yard art (not elves or flamingos, please) and colored pots of shade-loving annuals, and the shade garden is now filled with color and whimsy.

Photo by Venny Zachritz

Shade gardening has been, for me, one of the most challenging types of gardening to learn, and adding color to a summer shade garden has turned into a fun annual activity.

Photo by Venny Zachritz

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