Made in the Shade, Chapter 1


Our backyard is littered with old fence and other debris right now. A lone boxwood is about all that remains of our former garden.

The deterioration of the fence around our 22-by-18-foot, Center City backyard has created a new opportunity:  a Flower Show-inspired garden in the narrow beds on the perimeter. The shrubs and perennials that once bloomed there were mostly overgrown or choked out, and the survivors have succumbed to the boots of the fencing contractors. But greenery shall rise again within our new garden walls!

The size of our rowhouse yard is one challenge. The other is the neighbor’s towering maple tree that blocks sunlight from our patch of open space most of the day. So it will be a cozy shade garden .

 We’ve turned to Philadelphia Flower Show exhibitors for guidance. Jess Story, general manager at Meadowbrook Farm, is holding an April Blush camellia for us and has ordered a Moonlight hydrangea, a beautiful vine that she recommended. I never knew you could special-order plants that way. Waterloo Gardens in Devon, meanwhile, is caring for two rhododendrons – Roseum Pink and Purpureum Elegans – and a Stewartsonian azalea until we’re ready to put them in the ground.

 So we’re off and running. But suggestions and wise counsel are welcome as we try to revive our little spot in the city….




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