nguyen_ndoan

Need help to design shade yard northern virginia 7a

Sapphire
2 years ago
last modified: 2 years ago

I need help of ideas on how to make my backyard nicer? Heavy shade, dry clay soil, tree roots. Is there any ground cover that grows as fast as ivy? I have normal violet but they spread so slow. Is there any shade grass seeds that worked for you? Has anybody tried jonathan green shady nook or greenview dense shade grass? Did either work?

Yard · More Info


Yard · More Info


Yard · More Info


Comments (64)

  • laceyvail 6A, WV
    2 years ago

    I would never suggest English Ivy to someone who clearly knows little about gardening. The yard needs to be divided into large graceful sections and planted with some large sections of various groundcovers and some with plants for shade that provide more interest. In addition, some paths might lead to sitting areas.

    A sea of ivy throughout the yard would make it impossible to move through or to enjoy various parts of the yard.



  • Sapphire
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    I wouldn't want to plant english ivy. I never know what creatures (snakes, rodents) hiding under them. My neighbors would also kill me lol. I know I need to get the patio and 2-3 ft walkway build soon. Just that while waiting, I want to put some groundcover on so they can start growing. If vinca is considered invasive, they probably will take some foot traffic now and then?

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    If there is an ivy that will grow well in your area, preferably one that will stay green most if not all year, you might consider a couple of posts with lattice and have the ivy climb the lattice between the walkway and stoop. That lattice "fence" could also give you a bit of privacy on the stoop and, perhaps, even prevent a stumble or sprained ankle. Edit to add: You could make this lattice fence 4' but use 8' posts leaving nearly 7' above ground. Another plus for this idea is that there are solar lights that fit atop posts that could light your sidewalk and/or the posts, left tall enough and with hangers affixed parallel to the sidewalk, could give you a place for hanging baskets and/or flowers and/or wind chimes and/or bird feeders. Anything goes between the sidewalk and road; however, you should consider if the amount of sun the plant will get will let the plant grow in an even and attractive way and will you need to keep cutting it back in an unattractive way to keep it from sticking you as you walk by on the sidewalk. You might also need to take steps to ensure the soil between the stoop and walk doesn't wash away before your plants take root and can help hold it.
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  • PRO
    Revolutionary Gardens
    2 years ago

    There's a reason many responsible garden centers in VA have stopped selling ivy, and that's because it's an invasive. It's not simply a matter of pruning it on your own property. Mature plants do go to seed, the birds eat the seed, and then we have ivy to eradicate from wooded areas. Every year we get several calls for help to eradicate ivy and bamboo, which is why we won't plant either.

  • PRO
    Yardvaark
    2 years ago

    Yes, I've heard all the fear and panic previously. Many times. And I've first-hand met many of the people to say these things. And the people who want ivy removed. I've noticed they are the people who have no interest in learning to manage ivy because they already have an entrenched mindset against it. They won't spend 10 minutes DOING anything with ivy if they have it but will spend an eternity moaning about it. They'd rather cut down trees, plant grass and spend hours a week burning gasoline and mowing it. These are the people LEAST educated about any effective management techniques. (BTW, ALL landscape plants are managed in some way or another. Or they go to ruin.) Fine. Let them disregard the plant that DOES SOLVE PROBLEMS! Many of them. I don't speak from theory, but of many years experience having and managing substantial amounts of it. (Collectively, acres.)

    Rev, that same talk of "invasiveness" occurs in Atlanta (where I know ivy from) but nevertheless the plant IS there, firmly entrenched. And most people who have it are glad, because otherwise, they'd have that barren, dry (except muddy when it rains) unmanageable ugly mess that they are desperate to do something about. As far as opposition to it considering themselves "responsible" .... that is a political move and I think the farthest from the truth. They're really justifying how they can ignore something they can't figure out.

    At the beginning of owning ivy, I too had the FEAR (not based on actual fact) of what I might meet up with in it. But it turned out in 20 years to be nothing. And, ivy does nothing of the sort that makes it "impossible to move through." That's just ridiculous.

  • Festiva Maxima (MD 6B)
    2 years ago

    Well, my neighbor's ivy definitely solved HIS problem but created a huge headache for me, something I have to deal with on a regular basis. I hate the @#$% thing! I find it sprouting in my veg beds and perennial beds, Every week I have to cut dozens of new shoots coming under the fence. It's a @#$% nightmare! In early winter birds descend on it to feast on the seeds and we know the rest... Sapphire, I applaud you for being a considerate neighbor. Thank you!

  • Sigrid
    2 years ago

    @Yardvarark

    The definition of Invasive is that it escapes gardens and other managed areas and pops up in places no one manages, replacing native plants that support wildlife in wild places.

    Planting more of it makes the problem worse.

    Besides, houses get sold and everyone knows how to manage grass, not so for anything else and that includes many landscape companies.

  • PRO
    Yardvaark
    2 years ago

    Did it ever occur to anyone how natives got here? At some point in time .... they invaded! I don't value plants based on when they arrived to the country, but what their abilities to work are, once they get here.

    A person who "cut dozens of new shoots coming under the fence could learn better management techniques. But a person who says, "It's a @#$% nightmare!" probably has no belief or interest in that.

  • Festiva Maxima (MD 6B)
    2 years ago

    Yardvaark, you are welcome to come over and teach me your amazing "management techniques." Do you have any examples? Does it involve napalm?

  • PRO
    Yardvaark
    2 years ago

    FestMax, I would like to take you up on that offer. If you would settle for a discussion in the Groundcovers forum instead of me travelling, I'm game. Let me know and I'll start a thread soon.

  • Festiva Maxima (MD 6B)
    2 years ago

    Let's start right now, this is something I have to do tomorrow. My neighbor's ivy invaded my raspberry patch. It tunneled under the fence and popped up all over. We've had lots of rain lately so everything's growing like they're on steroids. I spent some time removing it last weekend and even with my leather rose pruning gloves and plastic bags taped to my arms, I still ended up with scratches, welts and shredded skin on my face and neck. I don't know about you, but I call it a nightmare. I have to repeat the same process tomorrow, and who knows how many times in the future. What would you recommend, other than moving? The neighbor refused to cooperate.

  • kentc
    2 years ago

    To hear people talk about it on this forum you would think that ivy kidnaps small children and melts polar ice caps. I agree with yardvaark, in urban and suburban areas, on a small scale, it is a relatively benign plant. If ignored it can get out of control, but it can be easily managed with not more than monthly attention, certainly much less work and environmental impact than a traditional grass lawn. Cut encroaching leaders, trim away from trees and walls and you're good for another 4-6 weeks. And here in Southern CA ivy never blooms and seeds unless it is allowed to run rampant first, growing the vertical shoots that become flowers, that may be different in other areas of the country.

    I would never recommend that a homeowner, like the OP, plant an entire yard in ivy, but using it in the right place with the right amount of care it is an acceptable solution to many problems.

  • Festiva Maxima (MD 6B)
    2 years ago

    Kent, it's the same here -- the ivy flowers because the neighbor lets it grow up a tree and I end up with hundreds of seedlings every year, which thankfully are easy to pull out. Unfortunately it also tunnels and these shoots are impossible to eradicate. By the way, I'm in an urban area -- just happen to have a big yard.

    That's why I'm happy the OP doesn't want ivy. It means commitment to constant maintenance, and most people are simply not up to it. And there's nothing wrong with that! So chastising and accusing folks of being "political" (???) makes me want to hit my head on the keyboard. :)

  • PRO
    Yardvaark
    2 years ago

    Kentc, it's so refreshing to hear your reasonable, sane comments!

    Festiva, I know you're wrong when you say, "It means commitment to constant maintenance, and most people are simply not up to it." which is why now I want to hit my head on the keyboard! Uugh! Now I'm making a bloody mess all over my shirt and the table! It's probably much more work to be surrounded by ivy, hate and fear it, and make ineffective attempts to keep it away than it is to actually have and use it. In that case, it's actually MUCH LESS WORK than mowing an equivalent size lawn. I maintained two quarter acres of it in two separate yards and in each, those were the parts of the yard that took next to no care. I can't imagine having had it be any less work. I will start that other thread before day end.

  • Festiva Maxima (MD 6B)
    2 years ago

    Yardvaark, I don't know how many times I have to repeat: I DON'T HAVE IVY, MY NEIGHBOR DOES! I would have no problem maintaining it within my yard -- I agree that it's very easy. But the neighbor doesn't maintain his yard (as you and I would), and that creates problems for 5 families around him. The OP wants to avoid creating the same scenario and they are looking for something lower-maintenance. Why is this such a problem for you? It's really no big deal...

    Sapphire, I'm sorry you had to witness this, if you are still there. My sincere apologies. I hope all goes well with your project. You can also try the Gardening in Shade forum -- more friendly crowd there.

    No need to respond. I'm out of here.

  • kentc
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    FM, it sounds like you are in a difficult situation with your neighbor. If you are diligent in keeping your raspberries away from the fence line it should be relatively easy to keep the ivy out as well, no? Ivy runners are shallow rooted, pliable and non thorny. A quick pull of a hoe along the fence should easily dislodge them. And if you aren't diligent in keeping the fence line clear I would guess that your raspberries are also growing into his yard. Maybe on another GardenWeb forum he is cursing his neighbor as well:)

  • posierosie_zone7a
    2 years ago

    I'm staying away from the ivy discussion, but want to put my 2 cents in. I think hardscape before planting is a great idea. A patio and walk would be great and would make the backyard more inviting.

    I also find the leaves very soothing and natural. If you weren't having erosion problems, I would be tempted to suggest you keep that look.

    Rather than planting the entire yard with groundcover, would you consider some areas of grass near the house (looks like it gets a bit of sun there), then further into your backyard the ground cover and near the fence maybe some azaleas, rhododendrons, understory trees like dogwood possibly underplanted with ferns and hosta? That might give a layered and structured look to the yard with some height that's in eye level.

    I find that groundcover, even if you CAN walk on it, you tend not to. That's why I suggest a bit of lawn to make you feel like there's an invitation to go into the backyard and explore. If it was my yard I would be tempted to just mulch heavily with leaves in the winter and then cover the leaves lightly with mulch in the Spring (heavier and degrades slower). I would also be tempted to experiment with all the amazing shade plants that are out there. If you want to explore this idea further, please let me know and I can find that nice companion planting thread from the hosta forum.

  • PRO
    Yardvaark
    2 years ago

    I started a thread about managing English ivy on the groundcovers forum.



  • Sapphire
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    I like the idea of planting understory by the fence. Maybe dogwood and japanese maple.

    We do have erosion problem. All that huge amount of leaves no longer exist after 6 months. Heavy rains also wash mulch away. We are at the foot of the hill so all rain water goes through our yard. I am stuck between quickly mulching them all (and killing the established moss) or waiting for the moss to spread (which takes forever.)

    I found some nurseries in VA and neighboring states that ship wholesale vinca plugs/bareroots: the lucy wholesale vinca, north carolina farm, boyd nursery, evergreen nursery, and bluffview. Wonder if any of you has any experiences with them?

  • Sigrid
    2 years ago

    If you want to spread moss, there are online recipes. I think most of them are something like sticking some moss in a blender with yogurt and painting it on the ground you want to colonize.

  • PRO
    Yardvaark
    2 years ago

    Keep in mind that moss is not going to do a thing for erosion because it has no roots that penetrate deeply into the ground. It would be as effective against erosion as a layer of latex paint. You need a plant with tops and dense roots that tolerates the light conditions the site is offering.

  • posierosie_zone7a
    2 years ago

    I agree with Yardvaark on that one.

  • Sapphire
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    True. But moss can absorb large amount of runoff water and be better looking than mulch. I just love to have a moss yard like this one, but it costs $3,500 per 1,000 sq ft for immediate effect. It's way cheaper to buy about 500 vinca minor plugs. Anyway, I will update how fast the vinca spread.

  • PRO
    Yardvaark
    2 years ago

    I love the moss look, too. Tried to get it going a couple of times in different places but did not have luck so resorted to typical landscape plants.

  • gtcircus
    2 years ago
    The trees look like they (1) need to have their canopy lifted and (2) branches thinned. No tree topping. Next, you can’t grow grass up to the trunk of a large tree - it won’t happen. You can put mulch down out to the tree drip line and try to grown ground cover. Then in the areas not part of the drip line you can try to grow grass. If there is no area not covered by drip line you have too many trees for grass.
  • posierosie_zone7a
    2 years ago

    Bellburgmaggie, I think it depends a great deal on the tree types and spacing between trees. I have trees on my property that don't have a huge mat of surface roots (I.e. no maples) and several had grass right up to their trunk with no problem. One is a huge hickory. The lawn guys like to use their trimmers around the trunks and nick the bark so I have created little bark moats around the trees just for that reason. If I did my lawn myself, I would leave the grass as the trees seemed perfectly fine.

  • Sapphire
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Yeah I have a huge cypress on the side yard and I managed to grow grass up to the trunk. Unfortunately trees in the backyard are maples, beeches, poplars, dogwoods. Tree roots everywhere i can't tell which roots belong to what trees

  • SeedG (Zone 9b - 10b)
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    You have so many beautiful natives to choose from. I am from Europe but I love your spigelia marilandica, phlox stolonifera, phlox divaricata and tiarella for my shade garden. On the other hand, the best option for root competition in my opinion is geranium macrorrhizum. I'd plant it around the trunks of trees where hardly anything will grow. Campanula portenschlagiana and campanula poscharskyana also do great in the shade. Hosta, heuchera, epimedium, brunnera and pulmonaria are classical shade perennials. Add some ligularia for colour splash. Polemonium caeruleum is an option, too. You can try exotic hardy begonia grandis. Mazus is a great steppable groundcover as well as ophiopogon japonicus minor. Many plants in the ranunculaceae family would be also happy in your garden - aquilegia, helleborus, actaea, thalictrum, aconitum. Many of them are also used to grow in root competition.

    Sapphire thanked SeedG (Zone 9b - 10b)
  • Sapphire
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    It may sounds like a silly question, but what is the easiest way or digging tools to plant all 500 vinca plants? My soil is compact clay, no mulch cover.

  • PRO
    Dig Doug's Designs
    2 years ago

    Use a planting auger drill bit.

  • Sapphire
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    So I just insert the auger bit in a regular drill?

  • PRO
    Dig Doug's Designs
    2 years ago

    That's it.

    Sapphire thanked Dig Doug's Designs
  • gtcircus
    2 years ago
    I have large ash (hoping they are spared from emerald ash borer) as I am treating and yes you have some trees that you can grow grass under but I would say that those in my yard which have grass nearer the trunks are quite large and were present in my yard when George Washington was President. Because the lawn services tend to girdle young trees, I enlarge the rings around the trees so that they extend out to the drip line with mulch. No circles of death around your trees!! I think they do much better establishing that way without getting assaulted and batteried every week from the weed wacker. Another shade loving ground cover that I adore is hardy plumbago which has beautiful blue flowers in summer and red leaves in fall. No winter interest though. Once established it is formidable against invasive plants.
  • cecily 7A
    2 years ago

    Are you itching to plant your plugs now or could you wait until mid September?

  • Sapphire
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Why? It's not grass. With all the shade, it is much cooler in the backyard than frontyard temperature. I want the vinca to establish before they get smothered by 6" of fallen leaves in the fall.

  • l pinkmountain
    2 years ago

    Since all I can see are trunks, it's difficult to say what your yard trees are, but certain trees are hogs of water, sunlight and nutrients, and it is darn near impossible to get anything to grow under them. Examples are some willows, norway maple, and black walnut. But other large mature trees can be just as bad, like oaks for example. So figure that out first. Your soil looks kind of compacted too but I could be wrong. Nothing wrong with hardscaping, a lot of mulch and a few specimen plants for a pop of interest, or even a sculpture. Your local cooperative extension can test your soil and give you some pointers on improving it if that's your problem.

  • Sapphire
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    So here is my quick sketch. Green are the existing trees. Brown edges are the low picket fences we need to screen. Grade sloping down away from house and to the right (north side). Rain water wash away that direction, but wind blows north to south. Due to budget, we'll have the hardscape professionally done but do the planting ourselves.

    My question is where do I plant the vinca? They are taller than I expected, and so couldn't be planted everywhere the entire yard like a lawn.

    So should I plant them along the walkway, around the tree trunks, and on the red area (steep hill w erosion problem)? Where else?

    I also need suggestion for the blue area. I figure i need some screening trees along the low fence. What else? I was thinking of something as focus point (hence the big circle & plants around)...

    Sorry if the sketch doesn't look too great. I wish i could find a landscape software using my existing photos as a start.


    Yard · More Info
    This is the blue area on the sketch



  • posierosie_zone7a
    2 years ago

    I agree that vinca is not a lawn substitute in my eyes. For the erosion zone, it's a good idea. I might be tempted to mulch around the stones to create a much wider and walkable path.

  • SeedG (Zone 9b - 10b)
    2 years ago

    See these links. I suggested you mazus which is a far better groundcover than vinca in my opinion. It tolerates shade and even standing water. Another possibility would be ophiopogon japonicus minor which would be perfect if it wasn't a slow grower and it's probably more expensive (don't know about the prices in the US, though).

    https://www.monrovia.com/plant-catalog/plants/2715/creeping-mazus/

    http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=e190

  • l pinkmountain
    2 years ago

    I had those square pavers for walkways in two of my former yards/homes. Not very practical for actually walking on. Pain to maintain was my experience with them. Wood chip trails are easy. But if you do use pavers, put them close together and chip around them. I saw something like that last year at a motel we stayed at, was very nice. Path was bordered by landscape timbers.

  • Sapphire
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    The pavers are only temporary untill (1) we could get someone to put on an actual paver walkway or (2) make a wood chip walkway when the plants/groundcover alongside it fill in.

    I have been looking for wholesales mazus, brass button, white star creeper, corsican mint as fast growing steppables groundcover. Local nurseries sell $7.99 per plant and I need a few hundreds

  • cyn427 (z. 7, N. VA)
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    If you are putting in a walkway, you will spend lots of your leisure time trimming back/pulling up ivy or vinca that will scramble over the path. Also, rodents love ivy-very good for hiding from predators.

    I know you are eager to get things in the ground, but you will have more success in the long run if you work some organic matter into that clay. Trust me-I have horrid arell marine clay here in Alexandria. My best areas are ones where I used lasagne gardening for a year before planting. I put down all sorts of organic matter (even kitchen compost with banana peels and all) and compost, then covered it with several layers of newspaper or one layer of cardboard and mulch on top of that. In less than a year, I had wonderful soil for planting and my gardens flourished. Here in northern VA, you have to add organic matter ever other year at least. I get compost from Veterans Compost (they pick up a bin with all my scraps and leave a clean one each week. I receive a bag of compost every year-$25 a month and it provides work to vets) and also buy more myself. I think your yard could be just lovely with paths and shade plants (hosta, astilbe, azaleas, begonias, viburnum, etc. and would hate to see you settle for vining things that you may regret later.

    As you say, it will cost a fortune if you insist on covering the entire area with some sort of ground cover immediately. Patience is your friend. ETA: be on the look out to avoid plants that want well drained soil-when your clay is wet, it will not be draining quickly.

  • Sapphire
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    My lot used to be part of the forest. I want to restore it back to the forest floor with groundcover and understory plants, adding patio & paths. Nobody has to keep adding compost to the forest, do they? I will add mulch now to retain soil moisture and then shouldn't the annual fallen leaves enough for organic material? I'll check veteran compost though.

    My clay soil is well drained, sucking dry and cracking right now under the heat wave. I already planted some hostas, ferns, liriope, azalea, mondo grass, woodland aster, golden groundsel, native bleeding heart, mazus , vinca, creeping phlox, creeping thyme. All are doing well except for the mazus (being to dry) and the bleeding heart (too fragile?!?) I found some existing wintercreeper planted by birds or previous owners. They are pretty and grow much lower than vinca. I know they can be invasive so I'll keep watch.

  • PRO
    Yardvaark
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    "you will have more success in the long run if you work some organic matter into that clay." That would be a job of extraordinary proportions. Most groundcovers will not care a bit.

    Since the height of vinca is being mentioned, hopefully, you're not talking about vinca major. That is for wild places. Vinca minor is much more suitable for a residential yard.

  • Sapphire
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Yeah it's vinca minor

  • cyn427 (z. 7, N. VA)
    2 years ago

    The bleeding heart goes dormant in the heat of summer. It will most likely return next spring for you. Would love to see a photo of what you have planted already. We love pictures here.

    If you let the leaves lie there, yes, they will add organic material to the soil. There is a huge difference, though, between a forest bottom and compacted clay (which is how you described your area) in a yard. To determine how well your clay drains (and by definition, most Virginia clay is a poor draining soil), dig a large hole and fill it with water. Time how long it takes to drain. At this point, everyone's yard is dry and cracking. That is just summer in northern Virginia. If your ground drains well, lucky you!

    Yardvaark, it is not a job of of extraordinary proportions in a yard of her size. It isn't that difficult for my backyard of only a half acre and her back yard looks smaller than mine. It is a little more difficult now that DH and I are much older than when we started, but we still amend every year. I was simply making the suggestion because it sounded as though she was only going to use groundcovers like vinca which can be kind of boring by themselves. She hadn't mentioned her hosta, ferns, liriope, azalea, mondo grass, woodland aster, golden groundsel, native bleeding heart when I posted.

  • PRO
    Yardvaark
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Cyn, "work organic matter into clay" sounds like digging it down and mixing it in, to a certain depth. I don't know how that could not be a big job when there are trees and roots present. Either way, if done by hand or roto-tilled, it's a lot of work. Many groundcovers wouldn't require that. One would just plant them in the ugly "clay" and they would grow fine and cover it up.

  • cyn427 (z. 7, N. VA)
    2 years ago

    We don't work it in more than a few inches, yardvaark, so not too bad. As I tried to say above but not clearly obviously, I suppose I was just trying to encourage her to plant more than just groundcover which, you are right, will grow fine in clay. Also, as I mentioned, I had not read that she was indeed planting things other than groundcover. I did notice she called hostas groundcover, so perhaps she is not sure of her plant nomenclature and is just a new gardener. Not arguing with you. :)

  • Sapphire
    Original Author
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Well, by groundcover I did mean 1"-2" tall evergreen that spread fast and take light footings. After poking around on garden forums, it seems groundcover means any plants that cover bare soil, including understory trees and shrubs.

    The soil that is still covered by last year's leaves is really nice and moist underneath. I know I need to be patient. I' just furstrated a few plants I put in cannot cover the hideous bare ground yet, especially when the next door neighbor's yard is so green with moss built up in 15+ years.

    I'll post photo after the mulch and hardscapes are in.

  • posierosie_zone7a
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    I'm trying to build my soil and I have read stories where even the hardest clay changes simply with top dressing every year. It takes much longer this way (years), but the stories have been convincing.

    I'm leaving the autumn leaves in my garden and I take bags of leaves from my lawn and keep them rather than giving to the county. I try to shred the leaves but we find the process messy and unpleasant (loud shredder) but I usually get a bag or two done which worth about 5 bags unshredded. I use the shredded leaves as a bottom layer of mulch for my vegetable garden and any leftovers for my ornamental garden. The whole leaves are used for the ornamental gardens and back "wild" garden. On top of the leaves, I put shredded hard wood mulch for the ornamental garden and natural bark mulch for the vegetable garden. I use much less than if I only used mulch as I have the (completely free) layer of leaves underneath.

    My vegetable garden gets turned a bit every year as I plant new, so I have seen the best change in my soil as the broken down mulch from the previous year is incorporated into the top few inches as I break up the soil and create a smooth planting base in the Spring. I'm starting to compost again and hope to have my own compost to use as another layer.

    My county doesn't do this, but others nearby will deliver for free to residents truck loads of compost (I'm so jealous). You might want to look into your local services to see if they either deliver or allow pickup of mulch or compost for residents.

    I'm really excited for you and your project! I think you will have an amazing woodland garden!

  • Nicole McCloskey
    5 months ago

    I am also 7a with tons of shade. So far, moss, hostas and ferns are my greenery. The moss was natural as we are in a wet and low lying area. The ferns and hydrangea are doing wonderfully! I planted them and amended the soil under them and kept them under the trees. We have areas with sun (right over our septic, of course!) and it is covered with vinca (planted before we arrived here).

    Watering everything is a good plan and also if you do get grass/weeds, cut and mulch them, keeping them to modify the clay soil.

    A future plan is to continue adding shade plants, split and move the hostas, and create a dry streambed. Hope this helps, even late!