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Patterns in the Woodland Garden

White sun may be glaring beyond the trees, washing out the details of summer; but inside the woodland garden, shadows and light create intricate patterns and points of interest. Light shines through the foliage of a Chinese fan palm in the woodland garden. It is one among a handful of palms that can survive the winter in my 8a hardiness zone.It is a mysterious place where I can easily imagine hidden eyes peering out from corners of darkness. It is no coincidence that many fairy tales are set in woodlands.This is a recent photo of the deep green summer woodland garden.

From the above photos, one could think that green is the only color in the woodland garden. That is not far from the truth, but there are spots of other colors, even a few flowers. One must pause along the path to find them; they do not shout for attention.Top: I have long ago forgotten the name of this lily, once an Easter gift. Below the lily are Snowflake Hydrangea and a purple Calla Lily, and at the bottom are a Variegated Hydrangea and a Gardenia. The fragrance of the gardenia bush fills the garden. The subtle color of Snowflake Hydrangea is echoed in the background by a variegated redbud, 'Whitewater'.

Flowers come and go like ethereal mists, but foliage is always the star in the woodland garden. The top photo below is hosta 'Sum and Substance'. The others are seedlings whose parents are Francis Williams and Elegans.

My deep green summer woodland garden is full of little surprises, thanks to an assortment of plants with colorful foliage: 

I always pause to examine their dots and splashes and stripes and frills. The woodland garden is dark and green, but never dull. Happy gardening!

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Reader Comments (25)

Never dull at all. I can feel the cool of your woodland wash over me. I like that you celebrate the wonderful intricacy and color of foliage in the woods. You have to look but it is there and it is beautiful.

July 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaurrie

So many beautiful plants you have there Debs. And I can imagine your woodland garden is also a welcome refuge from the summer heat, with the trees casting shade to other plants and anyone who wanders through it. Lovely!

July 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark and Gaz

Your woodland looks so cool and peaceful, much my favourite sort of garden on a hot summers day. The tapestry that is formed by all your different types of foliage is delightful, colour, shape and texture carry the interest once the canopy closes and plants stop flowering, I would love to wander down your path!

July 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterpauline

What is the plant on the top row next to what looks like varigated pittosporum? It has reddish stems...

July 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanie

Hello, and Happy 4th to my readers! Thank you for your comments! Janie, you asked about the plant with red stems. That is Hydrangea 'Lady in Red'. It has pink or red lace cap type blooms, similar to the variegated hydrangea in another picture. Whatever the initial color, the blooms all eventually turn a rosy color. This is one of my favorite hydrangeas! Deb

July 4, 2013 | Registered CommenterDeborah Elliott

It is always so enjoyable and such a pleasure to walk through you garden. The pictures of the plants you provide always provide me with ideas and inspirations for something new...thank you.

You are so blessed to have woodland gardens in your landscape, Deb. And I am very envious. We hiked in our mountains yesterday through the shaded woodlands and came upon two little Bambi's... twins! They were quite curious about us. I imagine you have lots of wildlife in your gardens.

July 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn

It is always a joy to walk with you in your cool, green,woodland garden. Foliage IS always the most important feature in any garden but in woodland, the foliage is all you need. Beautiful.

July 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

I love the woodland in the hot summer. The shade is so cool and soothing. You have a wonderful selection of leaf textures and colors. Caladiums are a favorite of mine, and I really like your snowflake hydrangea - don't think I've ever seen that before.

July 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJason

beautiful Deb, enjoy your cool woodland, you have some wonderful colours, textures and patterns in your foliage, Frances

July 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIsland Threads

What a beautiful post. Those images of sunlight on palm foliage are amazing, the essence of summer with its warm sun and cool, lush foliage. Gorgeous.

July 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJean

Hi Deb, I wish I was under your trees, admiring your beautiful garden, maybe with a cold beer. Sun hits so hard here these days, I really wish I had some shadow to refugee! Those hostas are big and beautiful, I love big leaved hostas

July 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlberto

I saw your comment on my blog. I had to come back and look up the hydrangea Lady in Red. She is a lovely lacetop!

July 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanie

Beautiful photographs! As always. I wonder how you keep your plants so clean and shiny. Mine are always full of bird droppings and other stuff.

July 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDenise

Your photos are beautiful! I looked at them and immediately felt a little cooler.

July 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKris P

Much more fun to explore, and find treasure. That's how I felt when I first saw an Italian arum/calla. Such beautiful leaves beneath the shade of tall trees.

July 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDiana Studer

Love woodland gardens- very nice!

July 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWatching Seasons

You show how lovely foliage brings color and shape to the garden with a smattering of muted floral color...perfection!

I love woods but I'm too afraid to venture into them by myself. It must be great to have your own - it looks like the perfect home for fairies.

July 7, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterb-a-g

Hi Deb
You have captured a lot in this post: the soft beauty of the woodland area, the lovely colours of the bulbs and perennials and you have a sharp eye for seeing great texture as with the palm and the hostas. Very nice!!

July 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAstrid

I just love your magical woodland garden.

July 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlistair

Great shots of your woodland garden, forests and woodlands are indeed magical places.

July 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

My goodness, what a wide variety of foliage you have in your woodland garden! I enjoy seeing other people's shade gardens since I have so little shade. I have a few inches at best!

July 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRobinL

This is my favorite type of post--observational, creative, and thought-provoking. Your words and photos leave me feeling like I've just walked through the woods and seen it all first-hand. Lovely!

July 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPlantPostings

It is so true that woodlands are magical and mysterious. Not many fairy tales are set in open fields. I love the opening series of shots with the sunlight playing on the leaves and the patterns that creates. I am sure it must be nice to find the excuse to pause and linger over these little discoveries in your woodland garden.

July 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer
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