A former staff writer at the Atlanta Journal & Constitution e-mailed to say she has been enjoying gardening since she retired (exception: the last month in the heat and drought). She's done some vegetable gardening with success, despite the fact that a rabbit took a liking to her beans.
Her current project is putting in a brick and concrete paver walkway on one side of her house. She's doing the work herself, although her "ax-wielding husband" is taking care of clearing roots.
"It's looking good," she said, "and I'm planting a garden alongside it. Camellias, boxwood and hollies and some hostas and hellebores."
When I read her list of plants, the above scene popped into my mind. This is once again the work of garden designer Louise Poer in her own pocket-size garden. Along the curving stone path, Louise has mixed different textures - ferns, hostas, aucuba, hydrangea, clipped boxwood, ornamental grasses and the wide evergreen leaves of cast iron plant - to create an almost jungle effect. There's a Camellia sasanqua hidden back there, as well.
For even more contrast, Louise has used variegated plants. Note the green and white ivy going up a tree. Some of the boxwoods that look white (due to the sunlight and my camera) are actually variegated. The trunks of the trees also provide texture, as does the pebble planter.
If you click on this picture, then click again, the photograph will fill the screen. Then you can get a closer look at the plants. There's a lot going on here that provides some great ideas for a shady garden, large or small.