Create A Woodland Garden
We use the term woodland to describe a garden situation with varying levels of shade, from deepest shade to dappled shade to the partially sunny edge. The soil in a woodland garden differs from the rock garden in that it is rich with organic amendments and often has an organic mulch to conserve moisture. Woodlands can vary in the amount of water required and plantings under thirsty trees may require regular watering during period without precipitation.
Moist Woodland Garden
Woodland plants from summer rainfall areas require regular water during the growing season in our summer dry Pacific Northwest climate. These choice woodland perennials that do not thrive in dry summer conditions include Arisaema, woodland lilies such as Lilium nepalense, Polygonatum, Caudleya, Podophyllum and Himalayan maidenhair ferns. This garden area is watered twice a week or more during the dry season.
Bermed Woodland Rock Garden
This long, raised berm is situation on the north side of a row of trees, making it a mostly shady garden with some afternoon sun. The native soil was amended with crushed rock to create a freely draining growing medium for native and woodland plants. We provide occaisional summer water mainly through a soaker hose that winds its way along the top of the berm.
Dry Shade Garden
Plants grown under large trees must often be fairly drought tolerant. This is because rainfall does not readily penetrate the dense canopy and, even when supplemental water is applied, the roots of the trees greedily absorb whatever water is available.
We grow plants that have moderate water needs in this bed where we water deeply once a week. To increase the soil's ability to hold and retain moisture, we worked organic soil amendments into the soil and use a bark mulch. Although the garden bed itself is only slightly raised, the area near the lawn was dug to be slightly below grade. This is a subtle but effective way to improve the drainage of our dense, clay soils. During wet perioids, the excess water will flow from high planted areas to the low trenched area. The point here is that although these woodland plants need regular water, they still need oxygen in the root zone. Plants grown in sodden soils may fail to thrive or develop crown rot and die. The exceptions are plants from moist streamside and bog habitats that are adapted to low oxygen environments, making them the best choice for poorly draining gardens.