Foresty Floor

comments: 88


This is the little woodland-y garden I've been fussing with for the last ten years on one side of our parkway.


The spring is very nice and moist, but the summer soil is hardpan clay, for the most part. The tree is a huge old plum, which leafs out super early and makes a golf umbrella over this little patch of dirt. You can stand under it in a rainstorm and not get a drop on you for quite a while. Nice if you're a golfer or a caddy, not so nice if you are a plant.


Vinca and violets are the happiest here, where there is no sprinkler system, and the mistress rarely ever waters. The goal is a natural "woodland" xeriscape, one able to take care of itself for the most part. That's after a lot of stupid planting (before I knew that real gardeners call parkways "hellstrips" for a reason).


I put a few clumps of cheap daffs in. I couldn't really dig them in any deeper since these tree roots are massive, and close to the surface. I guess I should put some more soil on them or something. My dream would be to have this spot covered in lilies of the valley and foxgloves, but the little lilies don't seem to want to spread (we've had the same nine stems come up wearily, year after year, and no more) and the foxgloves, oh the foxgloves. They never seem to self-seed. The concept of a biennial in practice is lost on me, I'm afraid. But the vinca, and the violets. They are happy to be here, and are so encouraged, and so beloved.


My friend Martha, a landscape architect, thinks some scilla would be nice down here. I told her that would be perfect, since I just finished reading Howard's End and have visions of bluebell woods still in my head. More about Howard's End later. That book just utterly and completely blew my mind.


Ruth Hower says: March 27, 2010 at 07:54 AM

What a beautiful fairy garden! Just think of all the make-believe fun you're going to have there with your little one someday! Lilies of the valley can become invasive and tenacious - so it's a good thing they aren't taking up all that fairyspace. Isn't this the most wonderful season - you're way ahead of us here in Pennsylvania.

I dream of one day having a shady spot to plant in; we have ALL SUN ALL THE TIME, not very conducive to violets and ferns and whatnot.

Also, I adore Howard's End so much. One of my favorite books ever.

Had you read Howard's End before? Love that story. What about the Blithedale Romance? Love that story too and for some reason they are neighbors on the bookshelf in my mind.

Ah... Howard's End, it can blow your mind, it was one of those books that I literally could not put down, I remember holding it on my lap while I was grading papers and taking (a lot of) breaks to read.

I have a shady hell of a front yard here, not even the vincas are happy there, I planted them with great hopes and they have only spread over one small area, the rest are still pretty much the same size as four years ago :-( .

What a beautiful garden. I wish I had one like it!

Also, your Sunshine Day Baby Afghan is gorgeous!

Thanks for the book recommendations, I just wish I could read them all as quickly as I learn about them! I also have a shady, tree root flower patch, and alas, since we are apartment dwellers it is the only patch I have to dig and plant in. I have struggled with it for a couple of years now and this year we have added new soil and compost and are planting shade lovers: hosta, foxglove, bleeding hearts and columbine, I'm even going to look for a climbing hydrangea! I'm hoping for a forest glen! I'll post before and afters on my blog :)

Thank you for the beautifully verdant view!

de-lurking to tell you how beautiful your woodland garden is! I'm now living in a high-rise condo, and gardening is one of the things I miss. We're not home enough to do one here, so I need to live vicariously through others.

It's beautiful!

I'm loving all of your springy pics. We are just BARELY starting to green up here in New England with the tiniest red bits of tree buds starting to show up on the trees. We had 70 degrees last Sunday and today it was 23 when I did our electronics recycling at 8am. Thanks for the springy goodness ; )

What a wonderful fairy forrest; I'm still envious of that luscious growth. We've got a shade garden in the works here too... but our fairies are still wearing their parkas -- we had baby snowflakes here yesterday.

Absolutely precious. Thanks so much for sharing...we barely have any green grass blades braving the cold mountain air here, so it's nice to see what's coming in over a month (or two?). Spring, we're ready for you!

Such an adorable garden. I agree, scilla would be a fantastic addition. AND, if you're lucky, they'll self-seed and slowly spread. Mine have been doing frightfully well in my parents' dug-up-every-year garden, despite all the root and seedbed disturbance. (Granted, we don't actively dig up the parent plants, but we cut in right next to them, and still they manage to proliferate!)

What a beautiful little spot!!! I absolutely love wild violets. They're just perfect there. Lambs ears may do well too, but they spread pretty fast. Thank you for sharing this little piece of the woods!

Melissa L. says: March 27, 2010 at 09:15 AM

Your woodland garden is just enchanting. Maybe you could try creating tiny hillocks or berms to cover the daffodils a little more deeply. Some grape hyacinth (muscari) would be lovely here too.

That garden is beautiful! You're hard work has paid off. Love to check your blog and what you have to share. Thanks!

Lovely vision of Spring. I imagine small elfin creatures living in the old tree trunk, the doorway hidden behind moss.

I have lily of the valley and they do spread everywhere, but their perfume is so incredible that I'll excuse their pushy nature. I look forward to them every spring. Your spring plantings do look like a fairy wonderland,

I bet the scilla will do really well; they can handle almost any soil, will grow in marginal areas other flowers won't, and spread at a steady rate.

Yes! Yes! About Howards End. Didn't it just? And the women in it - and the ending - I'm still speechless. And I knew you'd like it :)

So pretty! I second the scilla idea, as they're just lovely. Any chance that bleeding heart would survive?

You may still get that lily-of-the-valley carpet. Once they (to their little lily satisfaction) are established--LOOK OUT. They tend to take over.

Oh man, I wanna live in Portland!

What a beautiful sight! It looks like a very peaceful place to be. Nice job!

Wow this little garden looks amazing! I just love daffodils:) You did such a great job! I can't believe everything is growing so well so early! Beautiful post:)

It's lovely! My mom has a fairy garden with miniature plants, a tiny tree and even some little bitty furniture for the gentle ones to rest in after they're done sprinkling fairy dust for the night!

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


post a comment

About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.