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Natural Space

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Natural Space

Postby UGLY » Apr 02, 2009 10:11 am

Picture 199.jpg
I would like to convert this area into a natural space (please see the attached pic). In the picture you are looking south, this area with no grass is partial to full shade all summer till the leaves drop all day. The soil at this time is sandy with lots of tree roots and small rocks. The contractor who built the house scraped the soil that was on top of the sand away when he leveled the lot. Drainage is very good, water does not pool anywhere in the yard, even after a heavy downpour. Only the fence and the lower 6' or so of the house behind us are visible when the leaves are on the tree, I would really like those things to disappear behind a leafy green wall. I am partial to wooded spaces with clumps of ostrich ferns, with the odd rotting log and rock with moss and a few wild flowers, I find those views very peaceful. The left side (east) can transition to a more meadow like area as it gets sun after 3 pm. What native (Zone 5b) (South east ON lake shore), shrubs, and foliage would you suggest. I have transplanted a few ostrich ferns earlier last summer in a few spots, they withered off towards the end of August. At this time I have elected not to rake up the leaves and sticks.
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Re: Natural Space

Postby Eeyore » Apr 02, 2009 10:21 am

The ferns MAY make a comeback but if the are is sandy they probably won't do well. If you think about a forest floor you'll realize that it typically has a good deal of rotted organic material on it. Amend your soil with compost and you'll be able to grow a wider variety of plants.

I found this site, check it out and see if you can find something you like.
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Re: Natural Space

Postby Aigle » Apr 07, 2009 10:00 am

Looks like a great space to work with. I had really sandy soil at first (in the historic L. Ontario basin). and still have near full shade until my neighbour's tree dies (weed maple).Lots and Lots of organics and some additional topsoil have gotten me to a sandy-loam state. My first Ostrich ferns didn't take, but after the soil improved I now have to aggressively thin them. Im now becoming enamoured with the Japanese painted ferns as something to play against.

You may want to try several ferns, canadian ginger, Jack in the pulpits and trilliums (from a reputable vendor) for that woodland look. I've had good luck with Foxglove, astilbe, toad-lilies, acquilegia, meadow-rue, hardy aster and bleeding heart for delicate colour in shade but part of my yard is certainly damp (no puddles, but damp).

Please, don't even think of goutweed as a cover. I still curse whomever planted it in our area well over a decade ago. (Yeah, it grows everywhere and has a woodland feel, but it will choke everything else and never die)

I don't have enought width for much Tree/shrub planting so don't have experience. Every single hosta I have tried becomes slug food. I hope you are luckier than me in that. I like to fill out with Nasturtium, even though they get leggy in the partial shade.

You are going to have fun, it looks like a great yard and the mature trees give you an asset that just can't be done in one lifetime :)
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