An Artful Shade Garden - Long and Narrow

An Artful Shade Garden - Long and Narrow

Part of Ep. 2103 Problem Solvers

Doug and Barbara Henderson faced a challenge when they started gardening on their property on Green Bay. It was long, narrow and steep all the way down to the lake. But by combining shade plants, found objects and glass art, they created a garden worth visiting. Their narrow, steep property is now a haven for hostas and art.

Premiere date: May 15, 2013

TRANSCRIPT+
Wisc Gardener Transcript: 

Shelley Ryan:

I'm with Doug Henderson, part of a gardening team extraordinaire, that has solved a really tough problem. Thanks for letting me come and visit.

 

Doug Henderson:

Well, thank you for coming, Shelley. We always love to have you in our garden.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Well, thank you. It's not my first visit here.

 

Doug Henderson:

Well speaking of problems, let me just tell you a couple of them that we've had, we do have. One of them is the fact that the lot is 100 feet wide and 420 feet long, so it's a very long property compared to the width. And what we've had to do is to try to figure out how to garden in that and we've decided that we would make little rooms so that it doesn't look like a giant long roadway.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Or water slide or something.

 

Doug Henderson:

Right, and with the lot, we have two distinct levels. This level up here that we're standing on and then one down at our house on the bay, which is right on bedrock, which this one is also.

 

Shelley Ryan:

These are both old beaches because we're seven miles north of Sturgeon Bay.

 

Doug Henderson:

Correct. And they're ancient beaches, limestone base. So every place you see a garden, you're going to see a raised bed garden. We've brought in truckloads of soil to make these work.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Because they're not going to grow on limestone.

 

Doug Henderson:

No, they're not.

 

Shelley Ryan:

So lots and lots of soil. But, you know, what I'm also seeing are these awesome, what look like ancient structures just coming out of the ground. What are these?

 

Doug Henderson:

These are one of the ways that we've divided garden space and these are old septic tank tops.

 

Shelley Ryan:

New or used?

 

Doug Henderson:

No, they've never been used but they've been sitting in a cement yard for many, many years. So the man that owned it was nice enough to let us buy them and we have used them as divides in the garden. And we also add things that we find like the bowling balls here. And in addition we also add lots of garden art. We are fused glass artists so a lot of our artwork is found throughout the garden.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Well and a lot of color between the ancient artifacts, well fake ancient artifacts, I mean you really add life to the different gardens too.

 

Doug Henderson:

Right. And this is a second garden that's using septic tank tops and this one we call the moon garden.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Well, because of the Asian look? I mean, those look like almost Chinese coins.

 

Doug Henderson:

They almost do. And we've had a lot of people comment on that.

 

Shelley Ryan:

I really like that garden. Now, what also I see a lot of-- because you have a shade issue.

 

Doug Henderson:

Very much shade and lots of our plants repeat throughout the garden because most of the garden is shade, we have lots of different shade plants. And Barb is the one to talk to about shade plants because she knows all the names.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Well, then I'm going to talk to your wife and get some more information.

 

Doug Henderson:

Great.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Thanks.

 

Doug Henderson:

Thank you.

 

Shelley Ryan:

I am with the other half of the Henderson gardening team. This is Barbara Henderson. And you're the plant person.

 

Barbara Henderson:

I am the plant person. I just love plants. Any kind of plants.

 

Shelley Ryan:

So you do all the hard work.

 

Barbara Henderson:

Oh, I don't know. I do the fun work though. I get to buy all the plants and plant all the plants. And I have a lot of favorite plants. And one of them right here is 'Illumination Rose' begonia. And they're used in many containers throughout the garden.

 

Shelley Ryan:

So well I love the way it pops in those, kind of rusty containers. But you know I visited here before and I see this in almost every one of your gardens rooms. And it's kind of the continuity that holds this whole narrow, long spot together.

 

Barbara Henderson:

It is. I used to be a weaver and so the idea of weaving plants in and out of the garden to create a sense of continuity works great for me.

Shelley Ryan:

Now you have a couple others that are kind of your standbys, I guess, or standards.

 

Barbara Henderson:

I do. I do like this 'Illumination Rose' begonia, but I also like the 'Dragon Wing Red' begonia. I love the red, the way the red pops with all the green backgrounds And I like the "Marguerite' sweet potato vine for it's trailing, flowing affect. It just, again give that spot of bright color.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Now it looks to me like you like all hostas, but any favorites?

 

Barbara Henderson:

I love hostas, there are so many now. But I have two favorites that are just old time favorites. One is 'Sum and Substance', which is that huge goldish yellow chartreuse leaf, crinkly. And the other one is 'Gold Standard' Both of those light up a space in the shade really, really well.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Well, now before we move into another one of your garden rooms. And this is more intimate. We have to talk about one of your other passions and that's art. In this case, glasswork. Now you made these.

 

Barbara Henderson:

I did make these. I love making faces and people. You'll see some faces and people throughout the garden. So, yes.

 

Shelley Ryan:

So this is fused glass.

 

Barbara Henderson:

This is fused glass made in a kiln.

 

Shelley Ryan:

And it's on one of your found objects.

 

Barbara Henderson:

It is. We found lots of pieces from old houses to put this place together, so come on in. This we call the green lattice garden.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Beautiful. Now I see another sense of continuity. I'm seeing bowling balls everywhere.

 

Barbara Henderson:

I do like bowling balls too. And found objects everywhere too.

 

Shelley Ryan:

So and now this garden is much more intimate but again you're dealing with shade issues so I see hostas of all-- Not just the two kinds you mentioned. Hostas of all kinds all over the place.

 

Barbara Henderson:

I think so. I just love the way the texture of the hostas, all the different colors and patterns.

 

Shelley Ryan:

This is a lot of work, making this whole area tie in together. It's absolutely beautiful, Barbara.

 

Barbara Henderson:

Thank you. But it's also a lot of fun.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Well, we'll just give you all the credit then. Thanks.

 

Barbara Henderson:

Thank you, Shelley. 

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