ARE YOU DREAMING OF COLOR in your shade garden? Those of us fortunate enough to have mature trees in our yard know how challenging it is to have a creative and colorful garden in the shade. Shade gardens are beautiful but not usually full of blooms. In most cases, we have to rely on different foliage colors and textures to create more interest in the shady spaces.
HOSTAS AND FERNS are the most common and widely available shade-loving plants. They are typically considered the norm for any shade garden, but there are many other options to consider. For a long-blooming, shade-loving perennial, Spigelia marilandica, below, commonly known as Indian pink or woodland pinkroot, is one well worth planting.
SPIGELIA IS A KENTUCKY NATIVE that thrives in moist, wooded areas but will bloom best with a few hours of morning sun. The leaves are dark green and ovate to lance-shaped. The tubular flowers are a brilliant red with a bright yellow throat. They are prolific summer bloomers that last for an extended period of time, and are certainly show-stoppers in the garden.
THIS HERBACEOUS PERENNIAL is 1-2 feet tall and about 1.5 feet wide at maturity. Not only will this plant provide you with red-yellow blooms that are not normally seen in a shade garden, but the blooms’ funnel shape makes them a favorite among hummingbirds.
A MASS PLANTING OF SPIGELIA would be fantastic, but blending them into an existing bed is a great idea as well. Companion plants for Spigelia include Solomon’s seal, Brunnera, coral bells, and, of course, ferns and hostas.
ASK THE GARDENER
by Angie McManus
What is the best way to get rid of moles?
Moles can be a nuisance in the garden and in our lawns. We rarely see them because they live their entire lives underground. They create a network of tunnels that are both shallow and deep, depending on food availability as well as moisture and temperature of the soil.
These solitary animals travel in constant search of food. They feed on earthworms, insects, and grubs. Trapping them is the best way to eliminate them from your property. The good news is that if the culprits you are dealing with truly are moles, they are not going to be abundant in numbers. Usually there are only three to five per acre.
To trap them you must first find the tunnels that are currently active. To do that, walk on the raised surface so that it is no longer raised and watch for the next 24 hours for it to be disturbed. Also, sometimes in early morning you may see the area going up and down. This way you will know where they are currently living, and trapping will be much more successful.
Traps are much easier to use on tunnels near the surface, and this time of year they are living closer to the surface. Trapping them now will help keep population numbers down.
HAVE A GARDENING QUESTION?
Go to www.KentuckyLiving.com, click on Home & Garden, then “Ask The Gardener.”