Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Planting a shady pathway

One thing that's constant about a garden is that nothing remains constant. Gardens are always a work in progress.
When we first constructed this path, the golden cane palms were smaller and provided only partial shade. We filled the area with bromeliads that loved the dappled sunlight. We simply buried the pots in mulch and they were quite happy. 

This is how it used to look.

As the palms grew and less sunlight filtered through, many of the bromeliads began to suffer. They tell you they aren't happy by losing their unique colours and growing long straggly green leaves rather than nice firm shorter rosettes of leaves.

It was time to make some changes. This weekend we moved the broms out to various other places in the garden and planted this area with a variety of shade-lovers.  We also added some small rocks to the border and built the garden up slightly with extra soil and compost.

The plants we chose included:
  • Gingers (a couple of beehive gingers and variegated spiral ginger) at the back
  • Marantas and Calatheas (Maranta leuconeura, Calathea ornata and  'Royal Picta' )
  • Zanzibar Gem or Zamioculcas zamiifolia which had been living in a pot for years  
  • "Sunset" Philodendron - left in its pot as a feature plant
  • 2 normal birds nest ferns and a crocodile skin one
  • Aglaonema Silver Queen
  • Some shade-loving broms interspersed.

Zamioculcas zamiifolia

Variegated spiral ginger

Birds Nest Fern


Calathea ornata

I can't tell you the name of the bromeliads. Although I'm sure I originally had the names, I'm not very good at keeping the name with the pups when I divide them.
This one is almost black and grows very happily in complete shade.

It currently looks a bit sparce but we have to give the plants time to settle in and grow. 


  1. Oh I think it looks beautiful. I love a tropical, shady path.

  2. I love the growth of your palms Missy, with the stems of almost the same age, nicely spaced. I am sure in a little while this area is already filled. I wish our temperatures allow us to have some areas like that, but here even the shaded portions are too hot and dry, and our water supply dwindle also in the dry season. Even our Marantha suffers much.

  3. I like it when the new fronds of the golden cane palms are removed, that should let some more light in. Good idea to put the rocks alongside the path as well- it will keep the mulch off the path. You have some really pretty bromeliads - the stripey one and the "almost black one are new to me.


I would love to know what you think and appreciate your comments.


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