This woodland birdbath is located under my willow tree. The garden bed is backed by a fence to the south and west, so it mostly gets some early morning sun, and some dappled light during the day. These shade plants have all done well with low light, and competing with the willow roots. Very few weeds ever grow here. I always enjoy gardening in this shady green area.
You can see that the birds would have every right to complain right now. I’ve let the birdbath go dry, but it will soon be refilled. I usually check it every day or two, empty it, and refill it. The birds enjoy a good splash about in the water, or a guarded drink. Some birds are extra cautious, pausing every few seconds to check around, while some just splash away, sending water droplets spraying to the nearest plants. Some birds bring a friend to keep guard from a nearby branch.
Behind the birdbath are Matteuccia struthiopteris (ostrich fern). These ones grow about 1 m (3 feet) tall, and don’t mind this shady location. They give a lush look to the planting, with their large, arching fronds. On either side of the birdbath are the much daintier looking Adiantum pedatum (maidenhair fern). Both ferns sway in the breezes. A few Dryopteris expansa (spiny wood fern) and Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern) grow on the far left edge.
Asarum europaeum (European ginger) grows at the front of the bed. The rounded leaves make a great groundcover here, very close to the tree trunk.
The heart shaped leaves with silver highlights are Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’, and make a nice contrast. Behind them in the darkest, driest corner, grows the uncomplaining Convallaria majalis (lily of the valley).
Just out of sight to the back and right there are Polygonatum commutatum (solomon’s seal). Their slender arching stems form a bracket to this group. Just to the left of the photo are Brunnera macrophylla ‘Mr. Morse’, which have very similar leaves to the Jack Frost, but with white flowers in spring. All of these shade plants have done very well in this garden under the willow.
Here is my other birdbath, under a pine tree. This one has a hexagonal shape.There is a relief of a frog on a lily pad inside the bowl, and carvings of lily pads around the pedestal. It gets double the amount of birds as my other one. There are tall shade plants around this birdbath, but above it is more open than the birdbath under the willow. The Hydrangea paniculata has just started blooming, and the white flowers are halfway open. A large Matteuccia struthiopteris frond is just about as tall as the shrub on the other side. To the left grow some Pulmonaria plants.
Now the woodland birdbath is filled with water, and ready for some feathery customers at the bird spa.