Paula's Patch: A Minnesota Garden

Come wander in; my gate is always open! Gardening / Birding

Pretty Perennial: Bee Balm June 10, 2014

I love bee balm and so do my hummingbird visitors. I have a couple of spots with this pretty perennial. Do you have it in your yard?

Read more about this perennial on the American Meadows blog: A Showy, Native Perennial: Bee Balm


Plants That Tolerate Shade April 27, 2012

Since beginning my little garden sanctuary and yard transformation 20 years ago, what was once a mostly sunny yard is now partial shade to mostly shade. That’s always a challenge when it comes time to choose plants.

Some days I long for my vegetable garden where I used to grow beans, peas, corn, zucchini, and more. These days I settle for my favorite herbs in containers so I can place them in the sunniest spots. Thankfully, herbs are easy to grow this way and I have substantial plants I can take in and continue to harvest during the winter months.

vegetable garden | | paula bonelli

vegetable garden circa 2005

One of my early season favorites is Lambs’ Ear (I don’t like it much once it gets all leggy). I’ve had it for years in 3 different locations. With our mild winter and possibly the lack of snow cover(?), this Zone 4 perennial didn’t survive. 😦 Guess I have more room for new plants! 😀

We shade gardeners in Zone 4 don’t seem to have many plant choices — ‘stuck’ with the ever-popular Hosta, Fern, Astilbe, Columbine, or Bleeding Heart — all of which I have.

Somehow, though, I find new ones to try every year. Last week, I planted Gladiolus, Cyclamen, Burning Hearts Bleeding Heart, and Pink Coneflower in an attempt to have more variety, fill in holes and continue planting a new bed. I have Liatris and Bee Balm coming.

My biggest challenge is finding foundational shrubs or dwarf trees that like shade and are fast growers.
For those of you with shady areas, what’s worked for you?
I’d love to get ideas for plants or shrubs that I might try next!


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