I’ve shared lots of pictures from around our house:  rooms as we’ve finished them, the garden (obviously), and some of the flower garden from the front yard.

but really, the elephant in the room was the HUGE mulch bed that’s in our backyard.  you can’t miss it really, but i’ve totally avoided posting any pictures of it because honestly, there was nothing really to show.

it’s a huge mulch bed, designed by some previous owner, with three mature trees, an old hanging swing, and a few scrubby looking plants.  in all honesty, not much has been done in this space in the three years we’ve lived here.  ross and i put in the little bricked pathway to the swing right after we moved in, and i planted (with mild success) a variety of plants that have either died or done OK.

you would think this blank canvas would be an easy place to create a masterpiece, but the real problem comes down to this:  its completely shaded all summer long.  so where trotting down to the local nursery and picking out a million beautiful plants is a breeze if you need full sun plants, finding attractive, perennial shade plants is near ’bout impossible.  Attractive, meaning that they aren’t just boring bushes or evergreens; perennial, meaning that they’ll actually come back next year.  I’m too cheap to invest in hundreds of dollars of annuals each year.

so last week i bit the bullet and headed out to several nurseries with one mission:  only come back with perennial shade plants.  and like i suspected, i had my work cut out for me.