If you feel limited by what you can grow in a shady place, a visit to the Rock & Waterfall Garden will inspire you with its rich assortment of shade-loving ornamental plants.
A Shady Respite
Two bridges cross each of the garden’s streams and provide nice views of its plantings. A side path leads to both an upper and lower deck overlooking the north stream. Both decks offer a shady respite for enjoying the sights and sounds away from the main path.
Trolley access to the Rock & Waterfall Garden is from its east (back) side. The trolley stop is shaded in locally grown Mimosa trees with special flowering that begins red and later flowers pink. A pair of rare Szechuan Elms provides high shade as a canopy over the trolley drop-off loop. A mulch path lined with birches, redbuds, viburnums and Northern Lights azaleas leads to the main garden path.
Flowers in Every Season
You'll find flowering plants in every season, with Vernal Witchhazels blooming right through mild spells all winter. Small bulbs including snowdrops, winter aconite, snowflakes, glory-of-the-snow and squills begin to bloom in late winter and carpet the ground by early spring.
Narcissus or daffodils steal the bulb show in mid-spring with nice drifts of Spanish bluebells in late spring. Azaleas star in the springtime display, usually peaking around May 1.
Many unusual trees can be found here, including different species and hybrids of big-leaf magnolias that create a tropical feel. The giant “dinosaurish” leaves of the butterbur or Petasites also grab visitors' attention.
Natives and More
Shrubs in this garden include wild Coralberry or buckbrush, Missouri gooseberry, American hazel, rough-leaf dogwood and blackhaw viburnum. Hydrangeas, witchhazels, fringetrees, sourwood and Japanese maples enhance the native plants. Look for drifts of cotton candy-esque Astilbes blooming in early summer, hydrangeas in midsummer, hardy begonias and toad lilies in late summer and fall color in the riotous reds of the dogwoods and maples.
Did you know? Architect Fay Jones designed the Meadow Pavilion's four-layered redwood trellis with several angled ends to create a moving shadow. Learn more »