Nothing but mud, a couple of daylilies and plenty of potential under the deck in 2008 when we first bought.
Sure it is a bit shady, but it faces easterly out to the lake for direct morning sun and diffuse light throughout the day - and I have a lot of ferns about.
A few patches that could use infilling with wood ferns (they last fully green right into winter season and so I have prioritized them here to keep this space lively as long as possible). One day it will also have a periwinkle ground cover but that is slow in the making.
I've planted Ostrich ferns at the back for their height, mixed with other larger medium-sized ferns I'll have to track down the name for and the shorter wood ferns in the front.
Along with the periwinkle I've got some hardy geranium from my in-laws garden that I added last year when they were clearing some room in their garden, so we'll see how that does in the mix this year.
And at the front I have daylilies, a mix of common orange and some varieties from a Vesey's mixed bag, mostly purple I believe. Longer term I will pull these out and replant them elsewhere and replace them with a shorter variety of re-blooming daylily like Stella D'Oro and Purple D'Oro together. I just need to decide which colour I'll want 2/3 of and which I'll want 1/3 of. I have read that Purple reblooms frequently but not quite as much as the original, which is apparently constant.
In the past I also added some begonias in for colour, we'll have to see about this year. If I can stop adding them because of the colour from the geranium then I will, but we may be a few years from that. Once the shorter daylilies are in I'd like the geranium to run through them as well.
It all takes time, but I am patient; we are certainly ahead of where we started with this mud patch.