With temperatures over 100, it’s a good time to sing the praises of shade gardens, doncha think? Not only are they cooler; they also need less weeding and watering. And the garden of Behnkes’ own Randy Best proves that they can be gorgeous, too.
Thanks to Miri Talabac for her photos of Randy’s garden (taken last month), and what she calls some “random facts”, too.
Randy raises Hosta seedlings indoors under lights, and keeps the lights on 24/7. He divides mature clumps as needed in spring. Despite all the shade he has, he grows no ferns, for fear that they might harbor foliar nematodes that can infect his hostas.
He amended the soil with lots and lots and lots of LeafGro and terraced the land with stone retaining walls himself.
Yes, he does have snail/slug problems, (what hosta collector doesn’t?) but fortunately, Sluggo works.
He keeps a very watchful eye out for Southern Blight, a fungal disease that can wreak havoc in a short amount of time. The patch of Ajuga he showed us on the tour is now about 75% destroyed now. Very few fungicides control it, but the Bayer products containing tebuconazole do
Randy composts the oak leaves that drop long after curbside pickup is finished for the season.
And notice, he uses no mulch (!!)