Corner garden in heavy shade is vibrant with color and contrast

The shady corner at the Bay Village Community Garden is now full of vibrant color, thanks to the landscape design by Julia Shutt of Maple Leaf Landscaping.

The next time you stop by the Bay Village Community Garden, check out the newly designed sign garden at the corner of Forestview and Wolf roads.

The Bay Village Community Garden promotes local, home grown foods – it allows families to grow healthy, organic fresh vegetables and herbs and inspires a sense of community. The Community Garden, which is managed by the Bay Village Green Team, has over 120 plots in use; most are rented by Bay residents to grow food for their table. There are also plots that are provided free to social justice groups, including the Village Project. The Village Project raises fresh vegetables and herbs to be used to supply cancer patients and their families with a healthy meal cooked by community volunteers.

Julia Shutt and her husband, Byron, of Maple Leaf Landscaping are huge advocates of sustainable living – with their own vegetable gardens, fruit trees, rain garden and compost bins – all set in a sustainable landscape with native plants at their Bay Village home. So when Julia learned that a new flower garden was needed to beautify the corner sign at the Bay Village Community Garden, she enthusiastically offered to have Maple Leaf Landscaping design and plant the garden as a gift to the Bay Village Green Team.

Julia’s goal was to create an eye-catching display of plants with color that would call attention to the community garden sign.

"I would like to inspire everyone to start eating more of their own home grown food," said Julia.

Designing on location (“in the field”) is Julia’s way of planning a garden. She brought all the plant material that she had chosen to the flower garden location and laid out the design for the first time. This allowed for more creativity and inspiration.

A feature that was a direct result of inspiration is the lovely organic sandstone walls that flank the new flower garden. This material is recycled sandstone left over from another stone installation that was used to enhance the design and create a raised bed on each side of the sign.

Julia used several criteria in choosing plant material for the corner garden. In addition to thriving in “dry shade,” the plants needed to be low maintenance and deer proof. Julia also wanted to make sure to transplant all of the existing flower garden plants into the new arrangement.

“It’s wonderful when you can reuse and recycle plants,” she said.

Julia also looked for plants that would have contrasting leaf colors, shapes and textures, as this creates visual interest all season long. For example, the orange leafed Heuchara was placed next to the yellow-green Sedum. The site was originally planted with Dead Nettle, Hydrangeas, and Hollies, so Julia added Lungwort, Phlox, Lambs Ear and Lady’s Mantle. The variegated leaves of two Kousa Dogwoods are a nice color echo to the variegated leaves of the Dead Nettle.

The result is a beautiful burst of vibrant color around the community garden sign that lasts all season long.

“A colorful garden makes people respond with a feeling of joy!” Julia said.

Brenda OReilly

Co-Chair of the Bay Village Green Team

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Volume 5, Issue 16, Posted 9:31 AM, 08.06.2013