Kristi’s Raleigh Garden

Hi, I’m Kristi and I live in Raleigh, North Carolina. When we moved into our house 10 years ago, the backyard was heavily wooded. We loved it at first, but over time we realized that wooded does not necessarily mean low-maintenance. Eventually, we wanted some sunlight and to be able to go outside without the ground being muddy. We also had a deck that was starting to rot and a roof with moss and algae growing on it. So over the years we had several large trees removed that were close to the house and had a screened-in porch built. That’s when I caught the gardening bug. A lot of people want their decks and patios to feel like an extension of their home, but I wanted ours to feel like it was plopped down in the middle of a cottage garden. So I got to work. I started with creating the pathway and over the last three years have learned a thing or two about the importance of plant placement and choosing the right plant for the space. I rely mostly on perennials for this partial-shade garden (multiple phlox varieties, coreopsis, foxgloves, coneflowers, hardy geraniums, and hydrangeas, to name a few), but I also pop in different annuals each year. Over the past two years I’ve been working on two woodland garden areas. Both are pretty heavily shaded, so I use lots of hostas, ferns, oakleaf hydrangeas, and understory trees such as dogwoods, red Japanese maples, and redbuds. Although they aren’t necessarily the “stars” of the gardens, I’ve also made a point to add in lots of native trees, shrubs, and perennials. Every year I make new (and old) mistakes, but it’s been fun learning as I go. I’ve also enjoyed connecting with other gardeners online through Instagram (

shaded garden with orange and purple flowersBoth these plants—a blue Phlox divaricata (Zones 3–8) and a yellow coreopsis (Coreopsis auriculata, Zones 4–9)—are North American natives that bring a lot of color to the garden.

winding path cutting through the garden with lots of yellow flowersThe yellow coreopsis blooms are a repeated theme in the garden.

garden bed on the edge of woods full of foliageAs the garden moves into more shade, the flowers are replaced by the foliage of hostas (Hosta hybrids, Zones 4–9), heuchera (Heuchera hybrids, Zones 4–9), and pulmonaria (Pulmonaria hybrids, Zones 3–9).

plants with bright pink flowers in the shadeImpatiens (Impatiens walleriana, Zones 10–11 or as annuals) bring pops of color into the shade.

garden bed full of different foliage plantsJust foliage alone can make for a wonderful planting, with a wide range of colors and textures.

gravel path through lush garden bedsA crisp gravel walk leads you through the informal cottage garden–style plantings.

garden bed near the woodsThe more-cultivated perennial beds are backed up by the beautiful woodlands behind.

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Published at Wed, 01 Jun 2022 03:00:55 -0400

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