Let’s Sit In The Shade

Summer is a lovely time to be in Maine. One of the nicest things is that the weather doesn’t usually get too hot. Our little lakeside cottage is surrounded by trees and there is usually a nice breeze blowing across the water. Come join me…let’s sit in the shade and enjoy the gardens.

Let’s Sit On A Log Stool In The Shade

Most all the gardens that we have are shade gardens with plants that can survive the harsh winters and very little sunshine. The shade garden by the beach was created among wild low bush blueberry plants. As delicious as the berries are, we have never been able to beat the birds and chipmunks to harvest any of the wonderful fruit.

I am amazed with the wonders of nature. This garden is covered by many feet of snow each winter, then when the snow melts bare ground and a few shoots greet us when we are able to get down the road to our cottage in late spring.

The Shade Garden After Snowmelt

A little later in the spring, this garden is in lovely shades of chartreuse, Β deep green and white.

Beautiful Shades Of Green And White

As summer’s warmth brings new shoots and blossoms, this garden changes to soothing yet colorful shades of pinks and purples. I love sitting on one of the log stools looking at this garden, amazed that it has gone from high piles of snow, to bare soil with just a few emerging plants to this lush garden full of soft pastel colors.

Soothing Pinks And Purples
The Blossoms In The Shade Garden Entice Bees And Butterflies

The wild blueberry bushes and the blossoms in the shade garden attract more than just birds and chipmunks. You can often hear the buzzing of both honey and bumble bees looking for sweet nectar. Probably the loveliest creatures that visit the garden are butterflies. Not only are they looking for the nectar but the cooling shade on a warm day.

All Creatures Seek Cooling Shade

The other shade garden looks similar but does get a little more sun during the day. I am growing delicate red oak leaf lettuce among the beautiful pink blossoms in this garden. They would certainly have bolted if they were planted in the vegetable garden. Their delicate reddish leaves look perfect among the vibrant pink flowers.

Bright Pinks In The Shade Garden

The garden that wraps around the master bedroom addition of the cottage has two sides…one shady and one sunny. The shady side of the garden is covered with plants that give us pretty white, green and pink colors during the summer.

The Cottage White, Green And Pink Shade Garden

Today the Endless Summer Hydrangea are in full bloom with their beautiful blue blossoms. They are a show stopper and have such a cooling effect on a warm summer day. I love cutting a couple of their bright blue globes and creating a lovely arrangement for our dining table when we have friends visiting for dinner.

Endless Summer Hydrangea Blossom

Gardeners are sometimes at a loss of what to do when their yards are filled with shade for a large part of the day. It can be challenging but not impossible to have plants that will thrive in the shade. Not only can they thrive, but you can have plants with lovely color as well. I hope you have enjoyed spending time in the shade gardens at our cottage.

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151 thoughts on “Let’s Sit In The Shade

  1. Lovely shade gardens. I have very little here–and would love to grow so many things. Do you have much problem with deer? I know from experience here that they are Hosta-eating machines-LOL!
    Have a great week, Karen

    1. Hi Sue, I’m glad you like the shade gardens. I don’t have a problem with deer in Maine. I have only seen one young deer wander through the yard a couple of years ago. Now our home in New Hampshire is another story. The deer have so much grass and apples in the orchard that they don’t bother anything but my holly. Have a lovely week as well.

    1. Thank you Marie, I’m glad you like the gardens. I was just commenting to my husband the other day about all the butterflies. I’ve never seen so many…maybe it is because of our mild winter.

  2. Love your shade gardens. We are having some beautiful weather in our neck of the woods right now – great for gardening.

    1. Hi Judy, Thank you for your nice compliment. I really appreciate it coming from a master gardener like yourself. The weather has finally turned nice here as well. Hopefully the tomatoes will now start setting fruit or else I’ll have green tomatoes when the first frost rolls in.

    1. Hi Tania, The shade gardens are very peaceful. Until I moved to New England, I had never seen a chipmunk either. They are cute little things but can be very mischievous at times.

  3. Thanks for the reminder that I must get to the Lakes Region soon. I can’t seem to find my way from the beaches this summer! Maine, so many things to do and such a short season. It’s difficult not to try to make the most of every minute (Though, that’s bad for my work in progress. Word count this summer: zero). And look, it’s another beautiful day!

    1. Hi Julie, I know what you mean about so many things to do in Maine. We really do have a short summer season. I never get a chance to go to all the towns and events that are held this time of the year.

    1. Hi Joanne, Maine really is beautiful especially at this time of the year. The season is so short that you want to enjoy every moment.

    1. Hi Charlie, Thank you for your nice compliment. Each year when the last of the snow melts, it is always a wonder how many plants have survived the harsh winter. The hydrangea is beautiful but had a hard time this spring with hard freezes killing many of the branches. Hopefully they will put out new growth this summer.

    1. Hi Monique, I wish we were neighbors so that I could visit your lovely gardens. Gardens do add so much pleasure to your life.

    1. Hi LouAnn, Thank you for stopping by. I do wish that you could sit in the shade with me and have a lovely visit. I’m glad you enjoyed the gardens.

    1. Thank you Jessica, for your nice compliment. Our little place in Maine is very relaxing and enjoyable. Wish you could enjoy the shade with me.

  4. Besides from being stunning, your garden gives me such a peaceful sensation. I loved the pink blossoms and the Endless Summer Hydrangea Blossom is breathtaking!! It irradiates care and love, the one you give evereyday.

    1. Thank you Ambrosiana, for your lovely compliment. I’m glad that you enjoyed the photos of the garden. The Endless Summer blossoms are so blue this year…I love them. Out of all my perennials in the garden, they are the only ones that need to be babied. They don’t do as well this far north. I should plant some at our home in New Hampshire as they would be lovely next to our yellow house.

  5. How lovely to focus on shade gardens. They are such beutiful often tranquil places. and like you I’m always amazed at how plants survive feet of snow, to come back in spring and give us a display in summer. And such a beautiful butterfly!

    1. I’m glad you liked seeing the shade gardens, Claire. They are such a tranquil spot in the yard. The butterflies are so pretty…this one enjoying the cool shade was more than happy to sit still while I took his photo.

  6. Wonderful shade garden tour! Referring to the comment above – we too have seen an abundance of butterfly’s and moths this year. As for growing lettuce NOT in the super sunny veggie patch- that is a genius idea. As the couple of times I grew lettuce they bolted almost immediately!

    1. Hi Carol, Well it seems that the abundance of butterflies is all over New England…Rhode Island, Massachusetts as well as Maine. The only thing I can think of for the greater numbers this year was the mild winter we experienced. It will be interesting to see if readers in other areas are experiencing the same thing. The lettuce definitely likes being in my shade garden. I have rainbow chard in my flower garden because of its colorful leaves.

  7. you have created a truly spectacular shade garden….i am so jealous as where i am in calif., zone 9ish, it’s very hot,dry and windy much of the time. my hydrangeas do well only between two garages in deep shade most of the time. they still wilt in the heat but revive with water and night. your blue one is fabulous. it’s SO blue. and that astilbe(i am thinking it is) is a delight. i had that once in another garden towards the coast more and adored it.

    thanks for the lovely treat. and reading above, YES, the blue against your yellow house would be lovely…

    1. Thank you Linda, for your lovely compliment about the shade gardens. I understand how many of my plants would never do well in your area. I used to live in Florida and would admire all the beautiful flower gardens in magazines that would never grow in our area. Yes, it is astilbe in the photos. My hydrangea wilt each afternoon for several hours and then perk back up once the sun starts to go down. Glad you like my idea of the blue against our yellow house.

    1. Thank you Tanya, for your nice comment. My hydrangea is called Endless Summer. It is a variety that tends to always be blue. Eggshells and coffee grounds are supposed to help make the soil acidic which helps them turn or stay blue although I have never tried it.

  8. My favourite shot is of the pink and purple flowers though those showy blue hydrangeas do call out to me as well. What a lovely landscape with pockets of colour to brighten your day. πŸ™‚ I’d love to cut a large armful and bring it into my kitchen.

    1. H Boleyn, I think this is the prettiest time of the year in the shade garden because of the pinks and purples. I usually only cut flowers for the house when we have company as we spend more of each day outside than in where I enjoy them each day.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos, Laura. Our hydrangeas are so lovely and blue this year…I think they were very happy with all the rain and cool weather at the beginning of summer.

  9. OK, I just brewed some lovely Earl Grey (the most fragrant you will ever smell/taste) that tastes wonderful chilled. I will bring it over later this afternoon if you have time to sit a spell and chat in your garden?

    1. Hi Bliss, Earl Grey tea is my favorite. I start my day with two cups each morning. What fun it would be to sit and chat in the garden together.

  10. Gorgeous spot, Karen. I adore a garden that doesn’t look contrived. Sadly, our cottage is too rustic and wild for planting flowers, but we do get the forest flowers that offer a wee bit of colour. Thanks for the invite to sit in the shade a bit, it’s been so hot and muggy in Toronto, a little shade, some iced tea and the beautiful view is all I need!

    1. Hi Eva, Thank you for your nice compliment. We worked with a landscaper that specialized in shade and woodland gardens. There are lovely small plants that grow in this garden that aren’t as showy but add lovely texture. This garden gets better each year as the plants are multiplying. Of course we do loose a few each year as well. I hope your weather improves…it has been perfect here for the last few days.

  11. I just took a break from my desk to amble through your pretty shade garden. I am particularly fond on chartreuse, and appreciate how it contrasts with white and purple. Thanks for the lovely virtual trip to Maine!

    1. Hi Michele, I’m so glad that you enjoyed the shade garden and appreciate your lovely comment. I do love the mixture of greens with the whites and purples.

  12. Beautiful pictures Karen. You really caught the serenity and the color pallet of this garden! Here the temperature is at 40’s C and I would love to be there right now!

    1. Hi Katerina, I wish I could send some of our lovely weather to you…your weather is very hot. I’m glad you enjoyed the seeing the photos of our shade garden.

  13. It is gorgeous! I love the hydrangea – so pretty! It is true — you have to learn what works best for your climate – I have my own challenges!

    1. Thank you Jane, for your compliment. You really do have to find what plants work in your area…it makes gardening easier. The hydrangea are doing well this year, possibly from all the rain at the beginning of summer.

  14. Your gardens are really quite beautiful, Karen, perfect for gazing upon from the comfort of a shade tree. Every climate, save the Antarctic, has many plants that will thrive under every level of sunshine. As gardeners, if we would only pay attention to that, ours would be a much more pleasant and rewarding experience. Your lovely shade gardens are proof of that.

    1. Thank you John, for your nice compliment. Half of our yard is in the shade most of the day so we had to work with what was possible. I think the gardens have turned out lovely…I’m glad you agree.

    1. Hi Betsy, Our little spot at the lake is a lovely place to commune with nature and you are right…it would be a lovely place to paint.

    1. Hi Uru, I’m sure you are counting the days until spring. I do that each winter, especially when they are very cold and snowy. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos…thank you for your compliment.

    1. Thank you Cucina, for your compliment. I’m glad you enjoyed the garden. The blue hydrangea are a show stopper with their vivid blue blossoms.

  15. Ahhhhhhhhhh…………what a lovely, peaceful read. Most days of summer, it’s 98 degrees in the shade so if offers no respite between June and September! πŸ™‚ You are living the dream, aren’t ya?

    1. Hi Kelli, I appreciate your nice comment. I think you are right…we are living our dream. We put a lot of work into our little cottage and grounds. We do enjoy our time here…it is perfect for the two of us. The summers are lovely in Maine but we do have below freezing weather and lots of snow in the winter. Every dream that looks perfect usually has a catch or two. I used to live in Texas and my family is still there so I am familiar with the terrible heat in your area in the summer. Please try and stay cool.

    1. Hi Jenny, Thank you for your compliment. The plants did survive all the rain. We ended up only loosing some ground cover near the lake. We had to add organic fertilizer to everything but other than that no real harm. It doesn’t seen so long ago that our hydrangeas were sticks here as well.

  16. There’s nothing like being able to relax and enjoy your garden (after weeding) in the summer afternoon or early evenings! We’ve just finished readying the soil in front of our Maine cottage garden. Our gardens, front & back receive full sun ~ I’d love a shade garden! Instead, I pop up an umbrella and enjoy the beauty of nature. This evening in Massachusetts I was adjusting the windows when I noticed a humming bird flitting from flower to flower in front of our home! I really enjoyed the photo of the butter fly too! Have a wonderful week!


    1. Hi Mary, I’m sure your gardens that receive full sun are lovely. You have so many wonderful options. I really don’t have much trouble with weeds. At the beginning of summer each year, we have the gardens heavily mulched. I have an occasional weed and they come right up. We have a hummingbird that comes by our deck most afternoon…such wonderful creatures. Have a great week as well.

    1. Hi Michelle, Thank you for your nice compliment. I was thinking of all the bloggers who are struggling with drought and heat. I thought you would enjoy some cooling photos. I do hope you have a break in the weather soon.

  17. Akk! I’m so sad we won’t be making it to Maine this summer. We are August tourist regulars… this post reminds me of all the gorgeous gardens my husband and I admire when we visit. We are truly in awe of the time, care and respect that is dedicated to the maintenance of the beautiful lawns in Maine. I don’t know if this is typical of the USA, but it sure is impressive. Thanks Karen!

    1. Hi Kelly, Sorry to hear that you won’t be coming to Maine for your annual August visit. Maine does have some beautiful gardens that people take pride in. I’m glad that you enjoyed the post…thank you for your nice comment.

  18. Love your photos! I am thoroughly enjoying Maine…currently on Long Lake. The weather is beautiful and I love the beautiful garden scenery. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Stacey, So nice to hear from you. I’m glad that you are enjoying Maine and my goodness, you are staying on our lake. Isn’t the weather just beautiful. I’m glad that you enjoyed the photos. Thank you for your compliment.

    1. Hi Reem, Thank you for your nice comment. I think a shade garden is a lovely place to spend a little time each day. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos.

    1. Hi Sissi, I’m glad you enjoyed the photos of our garden. I wish you were here for a stroll as well. Thank you for your compliment.

  19. Looks like a fine place to sit in the shade. Bev has both shade and sun gardens and I prefer the shade ones. Sounds like you’re having a nice summer.

    1. Thank you, Larry. I appreciate the compliment coming from someone who has beautiful gardens such as yours. Yes, summer is turning out to be a nice one.

    1. Hi Maggie, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your nice compliment. One of my Endless Summer gets gets a little afternoon sum and wilts as well. As soon as it is back in the shade it perks back up. The nature of the plant unfortunately.

  20. Beautiful photos, Karen. I felt as though I was right there with you. Maine is a lovely state and fortunately, missed the 100 degree temps. Lucky you. What’s lovelier than sitting in the shade and enjoying nature?

    1. Hi Barbara, I have to agree with you that Maine is a lovely state. We are lucky to escape most of the heat in Maine. We usually only get a few days each summer in the 90’s. I’m so glad that you enjoyed the photos of the shade garden…it is a perfect spot to enjoy nature. Thank you for your lovely compliment.

    1. Hi Jabbear, The Endless Summer is a variety of hydrangea that will usually stay blue. The other blue varieties will not grow well in our area of Maine because of the freezing temperatures. Most of them bloom on old growth which usually dies off here in the winter.

    1. Hi Jed, Thanks for the compliment. We have had an abundance of butterflies this year…more than I have seen before. There have been some beautiful white ones that I wanted to photograph but I’ve chased them all over the yard and the only thing I accomplished is making myself tired.

  21. What a gorgeous garden, reading your writings and descriptions I feel like I am by your side having a private tour and enjoying all the colors and wildlife. Guess you do not have deer problem. Hope your tomatoes are doing well.

    1. Hi Norma, I’m so glad you enjoyed seeing the shade gardens. Wish I could have shown you them in person. We saw a young deer wander through the yard two years ago and he was scared to death…leaving as fast as he wandered in. The tomatoes are doing well but not many blossoms have set because of our cool nights and mornings. I hope we will get a decent crop before our first frost.

  22. Beautiful garden Karen…the pictures are just so nice for my eyes as I am stuck in the office at the moment. Thanks for sharing all this awesome pictures.
    Hope you are enjoying your week πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you very much, Juliana. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. It is a beautiful week here at the lake…I hope you are having a nice week as well.

    1. Thank you Carolyn, for your lovely compliment. I wish that you could sit in the garden with me. We could talk about great restaurants that you have been to in your travels.

    1. Hi Ming, Thank you for your compliment. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. There are a lot of beautiful plants that grow and have beautiful blooms in the shade.

  23. What a lovely garden, Karen. And such an enjoyable spot to sit and reflect on the beauty all around you. The colors are so vibrant! I’d say it’s a beautiful spot in which to sit and enjoy a good read, but I think it would probably be nice to sit there and do nothing more than observe and think a bit! I’m so glad you shared your special spot! πŸ™‚ Debra

    1. Hi Debra, I’m glad that you enjoyed the post and photos. I find the shade garden to be a tranquil spot to sit and enjoy the beauty around me.

  24. One of the many things I love about being here is all the growing things that thrive. Many are not possible in the much warmer Houston climate, and I treasure each peony bloom, every hosta leaf and hydrangea blossom.

    1. Hi Lulu, I think you probably have the best of both worlds. Between the different climates of Houston and midcoast Maine, you are able to enjoy lots of different plants.

  25. Lovely post Karen! We’ve had a bit cooler temps – 90’s not 100’s! ALl those delicate blossoms – don’t think I could grow those in my neck of the woods. Hydrangeas – maybe yes!

    1. Hi Linda, Thank you for the compliment…I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Even though temperatures are in the 90’s, it must feel a little better than in the 100’s. I thought that everyone suffering from the heat might enjoy some photos of the shade. I just wish I could share our cooler temperatures with you as well.

  26. Stunning landscape work- Our “garden” is just a patch of dirt with a mesh fence around it, and we don’t get nearly enough sunlight for any sorts of flowers. The yard is pretty pathetic overall. What I would give for one that looks like yours!

    1. Hi Hannah, Thank you for your lovely compliment. You should have seen what the property looked like when we bought it. We had sand and weeds, some red concrete 12 inch squares placed here and there to walk on and shrub hedge around part of our deck. Time and work has changed it to what it is now. Each year we have to replace a few plants that don’t make it through the winter. Don’t give up on your yard…as you can see all the plants on this post grow in the shade.

  27. Beautiful Karen. Looks like a little slice of paradise! Love the brilliant blue hydrangea, those are one of my favorite flowers. Have a lovely weekend!

    1. Thank you Karista, for your nice compliment. I’m glad you enjoyed to photos. The hydrangea is a favorite of mine as well…very showy. Have a lovely weekend as well.

    1. Hi Cathy, A shade garden is a challenge but I do love how ours has evolved over the last few years. I’m hoping over time to find a few more plants that might bloom late summer and into fall. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos.

  28. Gorgeous. I get homesick every time I visit here but I can’t stay away. πŸ™‚

    We had a place at the Belgrade Lakes and I know exactly what you mean about the breeze off the water. We had white birches perfectly spaced for two hammocks. Absolute heaven.

    1. Thank you Maureen, for your lovely compliment. I’m sorry that I make you homesick but that you enjoy my posts on Maine. We have a small stand of white birch trees up by our car park. We had several right on the lake but beavers cut them down. We say all the time that we have a little piece of heaven here in Maine.

  29. Aaah, those beautiful hydrangea blossoms in the last photo remind me of little butterflies… so pretty. Thanks for sharing the wonderful photos Karen!

    1. Hi Charles, I’m glad that you enjoyed the photos. Every time that I look at the hydrangeas, I will now think of little butterflies. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  30. I’m so glad I didn’t miss this one. I could almost feel my heart slow as I started “wandering” around your beautiful garden. What a restful retreat.. and those are definitely my favorite colors. I would love to have a garden/cottage like yours! xoxo

    1. Hi Barbara, The shade gardens are very restful. The gardens change over the time we are at our cottage. They start out with all white blossoms, later blooms are in shades of pink and lavender and towards fall the plants go to bronze and green.

    1. Thank you Mom Gateway, for stopping by for a visit and your nice compliment. The shade gardens at our cottage give a lot of pleasure.

  31. Wouldn’t mind sitting in the shade of your garden .. for a couple of days – the sun has been like glue on my back for nearly 3 weeks. Today I had a break … and it rained the day I left Vancouver. Lovely photo. Thanks for giving me some shade.

  32. How lovely to spend your summers in Maine! That’s the perfect time to be there. And your flowers have adapted to the climate there so well. Thanks for the tour πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Meg, My husband and I really do enjoy our summers in Maine. The weather is usually very pleasant and we enjoy our time on the lake. My gardens have grown over the three years since they have been planted. Of course, we always loose a plant or two each year but most have adapted well to the harsh winters here.

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