Mother-Daughter Gardens. A bond, a comfort and a continuation.


My mum, really misses her garden and I’m going my best to keep her magical world alive, despite the move to a retirement home.

Mum, just moved into a retirement home near me. She was responsible for creating a garden at the Anglican church beside her house. She herself had the most MAGICAL fusion garden. Picture attached.

I have tried to grow a few of her native plants in my garden to remind her of her garden when she comes to visit but I’m having troubles with one corner which is why I’m asking your advice.

I had a dogwood in that corner, but two trees and their shade have taken over, and a web mite didn’t help, and the poor dogwood died. I can’t say for sure that the mite killed it but I can say for sure I really loved that dogwood and would love to try another but am worried I may lose that one too.

I hoped someone could tell me was what kind of tree bush would thrive in a shady corner in a front garden and not be vulnerable to that mite should it return. My first thought was berberis. I believe the soil is sandy-ish.

Thanks so much for your help!

PS Any other native suggestions for our shady front garden, including bushes and flowers, would be deeply appreciated.



Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners.

What a lovely and thoughtful project you have conceived. Both you and your mother will enjoy the process and the memories it holds.

To replace the loved Dogwood, which I guess was a flowering Dogwood Cornus florida, you may wish to consider a Japanese maple  This Landscape Ontario site describes the various varieties, and our own Toronto Master Gardener guide:…/growing-japanese-maples-a-toronto-master-garden…gives full information on choices, planting and maintenance.

For your shady corner of your front garden, 7 Shrubs for Shade Gardens – offers some attractive suggestions.

We hope that you and your mother enjoy these selections.