Shade Garden – Update

Shade Garden – Update

After three years in the making, my shade garden is complete. I had thought I finished it in July of 2014, but I just had to push it a bit more! Of course I will always be “tinkering” with it! I realized that about halfway through the project that the concept was evolving.

With all of the plant varieties available to us in Zone 4, I really ended up constructing a pollinator garden as much as a shade garden. I started trending that way as I stated half way through the project, but I had no way to know the ultimate success or failure until everything was mature.

Monarch Larvae

As the summer of 2015 progressed, the bulk of the plants in this space were maturing nicely. I soon began to notice a few butterflies and some bees in the garden, but nothing too dramatic. Seemingly out of nowhere this all changed rapidly. I went for a walk on a Saturday afternoon through my gardens and noticed a couple Monarch butterflies. This was VERY exciting as I had never spotted them on my property before! Within days I was able to spot anywhere from 6-12 Monarchs in my gardens every day. By this time the volume and variety of bees had significantly increased too!

The pollinators continued to thrive the remainder of the summer season. The plants had now mostly matured so they reached new heights and filled in the space as planned. As intended, the unoccupied space was now small so weeding was down to a minimum. This alone is cause to celebrate!

Butterfly & bee

Perhaps the most rewarding part of the summer was having numerous Monarch larvae on my plants. Having finally lured them to my property and being able to watch them grow and evolve daily was amazing!

It’s a great feeling to have completed the project and realized such success! We are looking forward to many more years of great plants and growing populations of pollinators all while having it in a very low maintenance setting.

By Derek Tweten, Landscape Manager at Barrett Lawn Care

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