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