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Garden Tour: Side Garden

July 31st, 2012

The next area of the garden featured in the garden tour is The Side Garden. This garden is on the Southeast side of the house. It’s a long narrow space, 10 feet wide by 30 feet long.

Bordered on one side by our two story home and on the other by huge 80 ft tulip poplars, it’s not the easiest space to garden. Even though I’ve been amending the soil in this portion of the garden for the past 10 years, the big trees suck up all the nutrients and water.


In order to deal with the heavy feeding of the large trees, I layer a large portion of my garden waste over the soil as mulch. Everything from garlic leaves to grass clippings is added to my thick layer of mulch around all the plants.

The deep shade also makes it difficult to grow much of anything. Lucky for me, hostas and hydrangeas love this space, and I love hostas and hydrangeas. There are a great number of hostas; those with huge corrugated leaves in colors of blue, yellow and green, along with more delicate hostas.


In the spring, there are a few bleeding hearts, tulips, lily of the valley and dogtooth violets that bloom beautifully. The bleeding heart came from my mom’s garden and the lily of the valley came from my grandma (my mom’s mom).


In summer, this garden is bursting with hydrangeas of all colors, from the multi-colored ‘Endless Summer’ and the classic ‘Nikko Blue’ to a stunning ‘Limelight’ that is about 10 feet tall and blooms profusely in late summer. There are also a few that aren’t mature enough to bloom yet, Golden oak leaf, Big Daddy, Penny Mac and a few others.



For the longest time it was a neglected space, but it changed dramatically this spring. After much thought, lots of back building digging, a curved walkway emerged and the garden was complete.

I edged the walkway with hostas, both to accentuate the curve and to add a nice mowing edge. The results were AMAZING. Lucky for me I had a huge patch of mature hostas on the front hillside that needed moved. There were just enough to line the entire walkway. It was instant beauty, no waiting around for the plants to grow and fill in.

Every time I give a garden tour people comment about the curved hosta lined walkway as soon as they round the corner. This is the view when you round the corner from the front lawn as it looked yesterday morning.

This is the view when you round the corner of the house coming from the opposite direction.

The shady nature of this garden makes the grass struggle to grow. I’ve been establishing a more shade tolerant variety of grass and white clover as well. As a result, the green walkway is looking better than ever, even with the drought of this summer.

This side garden is a working garden, it gets a tremendous amount of traffic. I find myself constantly walking through the garden with a wheelbarrow or watering cans. The outdoor spigot is also in this space, so the hose cart resides here as well. The air conditioner and sewer crock are also located in this space.



After long being neglected, The Side Garden has finally come into its own this summer. It is probably one of my most favorite spaces now.

What’s your favorite shade loving plant?

Chiot’s Run Garden Tour
The Middle Garden
The Side Garden
The Front Hillside Garden
Mr Chiot’s Mailbox Garden
Garden Tour: The Front Garden

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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