I planted a shade garden a few weeks ago. I hope it will be shady enough - the last place I planted one ended up getting full afternoon sun in the summer. That's not a good thing - it burned the heck out of the hydrangea. The new garden is definitely shadier, but it still gets a few hours of sun in the late morning, possible early afternoon. There are still almost six weeks until the longest day of the year - that will be the true test.
Why did I do this? For starters, my old one was a bust and I knew I had to move the hydrangea before it suffered another summer. I was working to create a shady area on the northwest side of the house, but I hadn't gotten very far with that. I think the real push came when I found what amounted to a heaping wheelbarrow full of hardy ferns. I had to do it. I started looking around the yard for other plants that would do well in the shade. I definitely wanted to move the hydrangea and the hosta would look good in there as well. That was all I had in there at first. I got two different types of bromeliads last fall that I never knew what to do with. They're not hardy as far as I know so I potted them and sunk them in the ground and mulched around them. I'll have to pull them out before it freezes, but that's a small price to pay for a little color in the garden. The other plant I have that's going in the shade garden is a root beer plant. We got a few of these from friends last fall. They died back during the winter, but returned again this year. I looked them up recently and they do well in shade, so that's where they're going.
I've been looking into native orchids to put in there but most of what I've found don't seem that interesting. That's disappointing, because I'm really curious about them, but don't think I have the skill or growing enviroment for the exotic orchids. I have future plans for this garden, not including orchids. I plan to get a few different types of ferns to go in there and maybe a perennial or two that likes the shade and has some color. Any suggestions?