Tuesday, May 19, 2015


When I first planted the Monet Garden I thought there would be more sun than there is. Last year I moved out many of the sun lovers and this year I am finally and fully embracing its shady nature with the introduction of dozens of stately Ostrich Ferns.
There is however an interesting exception.

As apparent as the streak of sunlight cutting across the garden may appear in this photo, it has taken me two seasons to recognize what has been there all along.

Now that I have 'seen the light' (ha ha) and understand where more sun-loving plants can sit in my otherwise shady garden I have a fantastic opportunity to expand my plant selection and introduce something one would not expect to see thriving surrounded by shade plants.

Something like Echinops, which explains how mine have done so well, even though I have resigned myself to the fact that the Monet Garden is generally quite shady.  Five or so have come back from last year and I am direct sowing others, using this 'slice of sunlight' as my map and my inspiration.

This is a wonderful example of the interplay between gardener and environment and how experience with a specific property reveals its idiosyncrasies and opportunities to optimize on a micro-level.

For example, last fall I moved Monarda into two different parts of the Monet Garden in order to see which would do better and I could quickly see that the Monarda in the 'slice of sunlight' was 2-3 times the size of the Monarda in the other part of the garden (which has since been moved into the slice).

I had been  prepared to be satisfied with just the interesting foliage of these Iris but was pleasantly surprised to see them bloom last year. Now it all makes sense since they are in the 'slice of sunlight' and I will definitely add more now that I understand the reason behind their success.

Sharing with Garden Tuesday, Tuesday Garden Party, Nature Notes, Catching Light, Maple Hill Hop


  1. Thanks for linking up! I have had no success with echinops though I love them!

    1. Pam this is my first time and I started from seed, so if you have a sunny spot and a couple of bucks to spare you could try direct sowing without much risk...

  2. Being a novice I am interested in how people garden. I have never moved anything yet as I don't think I would do a good job. So I go by sunny front yard and shady backyard and work on that. Your plan is much better Derek... :) Michelle

    1. I thought you would appreciate this on Michelle since it is actually about getting 'in tune' with nature and spending enough time outside to notice the less obvious details about the environment.

  3. What a beautiful bloom! It's so fun experimenting with variables in the garden. Thanks for joining The Maple Hill Hop this week!