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Massachusetts
mysunshine
Jun 14, 2020 12:10 PM CST
I need some help with a neglected corner in my back yard that we avoid to even look at because it is so ugly. We live in Massachusetts. We have a big old maple tree in a corner of our back yard. Because of that tree and other trees in our neighbors yards, it's very shady area. It does not get any sun. We can't mowe there because of roots. It has a lot of moss on the ground and ground is always wet. Attached are some pictures.
Before you tell me to cut down the tree, please know that we do not want to cut down that tree. So, we want to make this corner likable.

How can we
1) clean up moss and do something so more moss does not grow
2) make ground less moist

Thanks in advance for your help.

Thanks



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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Jun 14, 2020 1:13 PM CST
Welcome!

Its a lovely area! I would add a decorative bench and toss some shade loving annual flower seeds into the grass and enjoy it.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: sumire
Reno, Nevada (Zone 6a)
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sumire
Jun 14, 2020 1:25 PM CST
I agree
www.sumiredesigns.com
Name: Zoë
Albuquerque NM, Elev 5310 ft (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Herbs Salvias Composter Bee Lover Container Gardener
Bookworm Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers
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NMoasis
Jun 14, 2020 1:48 PM CST
I agree with Daisy and Sumire, what a lovely spot! If you want to brighten it a bit, consider some flowering shade shrubs along the fence, rhododendrons or azaleas perhaps, whatever is appropriate to your area. Around the tree roots, maybe you can squeeze in some shade- and moisture-lovers like hosta, lamium, forget-me-not--again, whatever works in your climate--if not, set them out in a few decorative pots.

Actually, the first thing that came to my mind was to add MORE moss of different hues and textures.

The most successful gardens work because you work WITH the prevailing conditions rather than fight them. Have fun!
For me, gardening is really just an excuse for playing in the dirt. Admittedly, plants are a satisfying by-product.
Massachusetts
mysunshine
Jun 15, 2020 9:23 AM CST
Thank you all for your suggestions. You have given me some really good ideas. I am thinking to do below.

1) There are three Forsythia bushes in the front, two on the side and three in the back of the tree. You can see them clearly in one of the picture from yesterday. I am thinking to replant the three bushes in the front to another area. This will open up the area in front of the tree. Then clean up the grass/weeds.

2) Plant the perennials that you listed under the tree and mulch it lightly. I will have to see what I can do with moss. I am not a moss lover but may be I should start liking it.

We have been living here for over fifteen years but did not have time and money to pay attention to this area of the yard until now. One benefit of the COVID 19 is that it has forced us to stay home so we have time to tackle this kind of projects. I have to convince my husband to replant the Forsythia bushes from the front of the tree to open up the space. I also have to hire someone to replant them.

I might come back with more questions later on how to plant between the roots and where to get the plants online.

Thanks for your help.

Name: Zoë
Albuquerque NM, Elev 5310 ft (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Herbs Salvias Composter Bee Lover Container Gardener
Bookworm Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers
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NMoasis
Jun 15, 2020 10:15 AM CST
It's always easier to look at a photos and make suggestions than to actually do the work Whistling . Your plans sound like a good start, and a couple of weeks of work while you're home now will bring you satisfaction for a long time, I promise! If you do think about adding some shade seeds or plants, definitely research what does well in your climate and zone, and aim for low maintenance to suit your needs -- I just threw out some ideas, but I'm a southwestern, hot-weather gardener, so don't rely on my suggestions Hilarious! !
For me, gardening is really just an excuse for playing in the dirt. Admittedly, plants are a satisfying by-product.
Massachusetts
mysunshine
Jun 15, 2020 11:11 AM CST
Zoe, I just noticed that you are from Albuquerque, NM. We had planned a vacation to go to Santa Fe last month but had to cancel everything due to COVID 19. We were not sure if we would get refund for flights and airb&b but they finally they ended up giving us a full refund. We were very disappointed for not traveling to NM.

We live in Massachusetts so our climate it is very different then southwest. I will do further research into plants for shady area for my zone.

My 83 years old mom lives with us so I will have to wait for another month or so (due to COVID 19) to see if I can get someone to replant the bushes. I am hoping that I will have all this finished by Fall.

Is early Fall ok to plant hostas and other perennials?

Thanks again for your suggestions.
Name: Zoë
Albuquerque NM, Elev 5310 ft (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Herbs Salvias Composter Bee Lover Container Gardener
Bookworm Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Image
NMoasis
Jun 15, 2020 11:16 PM CST
Yup, very different climate.

Fall is usually a good time to plant perennials, but I'm not sure about timing where you are. If you can, visit a local nursery and chat with staff. We have a Northeast Gardening forum on this site where you can probably get some good advice.

Sad about your vacation getting derailed, and I understand about wanting to keep your mom safe. Eventually you'll get to Santa Fe. Very different from your part of the country, but also historic.

Good luck with the project.
For me, gardening is really just an excuse for playing in the dirt. Admittedly, plants are a satisfying by-product.
Port d'Envaux, France (Zone 9a)
A Darwinian gardener
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JBarstool
Jun 16, 2020 7:26 AM CST
I suggest something different, though I am a fan of a well placed garden bench. There are lots of plants that will tolerate your conditions...rather than fighting the conditions embrace them. I have no shade here, let alone moist shade, so am envious... a few to research:
Dryopteris erythrosora
Iris cristata
Pulmonaria (lots of recent cool additions)
Polygonatum odoratum (I like Byakko if you can find it)
Pulmonaria, many varietals

I find myself most amusing.
Name: James
North Louisiana (Zone 8b)
Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Growing under artificial light Ferns Garden Photography
Region: Louisiana Region: Gulf Coast Enjoys or suffers hot summers Critters Allowed Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Container Gardener
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deepsouth
Jun 16, 2020 8:36 AM CST

I agree

keep what you have ....

incorporate a "secret path" ...looping around the maple ...path can be wood chips, mulch, pebbles, red / back volcanic cinders, sand or bare dirt ... then add plants, annuals and perennials ....and maybe add more rocks here and there ....

ferns may do exceptionally well on that site ....

and as @DaisyI @JBarstool mentioned, add a bench somewhere along the path ....perhaps a bird bath too .....

try to design the "new" area where you would not see everything from any one view point ..... this gives anyone who ventures down the path the reward of "seeing something unexpected" ....

Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Jun 16, 2020 10:28 AM CST
Even in a small garden, having something that blocks the view gives the illusion of a larger space. I wouldn't move the Forsythia if they are doing well, just add to them. I suggested tossing seeds because I don't know if its possible to dig into the ground under the Maple. If you want to add, it may be in big pots. Or, add some plants that begin with small root balls - you don't want to try to plant a 5 gallon shrub but, Hostas or Coral bell plugs would work.

Making the area drier will kill the Maple so don't cut down on the water.

A bench out of view behind the Maple and shrubs is very Secret Garden-esque and appeals to my romantic side. Its an unexpected surprise, like finding a secret gate.:hearts:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Zoë
Albuquerque NM, Elev 5310 ft (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Herbs Salvias Composter Bee Lover Container Gardener
Bookworm Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Image
NMoasis
Jun 16, 2020 12:09 PM CST
Ooooh, a misty-moisty secret garden! Here in the high desert, I'm green with envy. I'll bet @mysunshine never anticipated so much enthusiasm for her "ugly corner." Hilarious!
For me, gardening is really just an excuse for playing in the dirt. Admittedly, plants are a satisfying by-product.

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