Shade Gardens

February 23, 2011 at 12:22 pm Leave a comment

As a professional consultant, I often hear the pleas of homeowners to help them with a dark corner, or shady spot under a tree, as if perhaps it might take a magical spell to fix it! Shade gardens can be defined as a space where little or no sunlight occurs during the day. This shade can be caused by natural or artificial walls of trees or buildings.

I personally love shade gardens. They offer peeps of colour, and marvellous shades of greens from spring to autumn.

Some common shade loving plants are Hosta, Fern, Clematis, Coral Bells, Bergenia, and Solomon’s Seal. The list can go on and on, but you can check out our resource centre for more options on shade plants.

Things to consider when planting a shade garden

–          Soil type; sandy or loamy? Dry or moist?

–          What type of shade is it? Dappled light in the morning? Full shade all day long?

–          Type of garden you are looking for; low maintenance?-Exotic?-Habitat friendly? Native?

Shade gardens under trees:

One of the biggest issues gardeners combat is the root system of trees, and growing plants underneath. Shade tolerant groundcovers such as Periwinkle, Sweet Woodruff, Hosta, and Canada Violet have been known to excel in these conditions.

Full shade nooks and corners:

These are often the areas where the grass just won’t grow, and turns into a muddy mess in spring time! It is best to build up areas like this with loamy nutrient rich soil and plant a small clustering of one or more of the following shade lovers:

Polypody Fern, Hosta, False Solomon’s seal, and Coral Bells will do well with little maintenance, once established; these plants will come back strong each season. Gardens like this will excel with a 2 inch layer of mulch to keep moisture and nutrients in.

Japanese Anemone, Creeping Phlox, Jack-in-the-pulpit, and Bleeding Heart enjoy a little extra care and water, and offer unique textures and colours to a shade garden.

There are some bulbs like Daffodil, Crocus, Lily, and Wild Hyacinth that do well in shady areas and can give an unappealing spot some early season colour!

Before planting, make sure you understand the Sun/Shade factors, amend your soil, and decide on your theme. Then pick your plants based on their abilities. All good plant manufacturers offer the plant statistics with it, so remember to read the details before committing to a purchase!


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