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Plants for a Shady Garden
For most gardeners, the aspect of the garden is an important factor when choosing a house. Ideally, everyone would like a south-facing garden with an open sunny side. However, this is not always possible. It’s true that everyone has a bit of shade in their garden, whether from a fence, a building or trees. But don’t give up. If you have a shady garden or an area of your garden that gets no sun most of the day, you can choose many plants that will thrive in such conditions. Here are just a few.
If your garden is in the shade most of the day, chances are it will face north. North-facing gardens are generally cool and sunless. But these are ideal conditions for many shade-loving plants. A north-facing garden also tends to be more humid, which coincidentally the same plants like.
Shade loving trees
Shade-loving trees tend to be smaller growing varieties, as in nature they would prefer to grow in shadier areas of the forest, for example under the canopy of taller trees. Cornus sanguine or dogwood is a small deciduous tree that grows to a height of 10 m. It is grown mainly for the distinct color of the stems in winter. The stems of ‘Winter Flame’ turn orange-yellow, orange-red and red in winter, giving the impression of flickering flames. Taxus Baccata or yew is an evergreen ornamental tree that tolerates medium to dense shade very well. It also prefers moist, well-drained soil. Acer Palmatum or Japanese maples tolerate partial shade and are well known for their beautiful bark and fall color. Although they tolerate shade, they don’t like strong winds, so place them in a sheltered area in the garden.
Bergenia, or elephant ear, is a hardy evergreen perennial that tolerates partial or full shade. It has large fleshy leaves and blooms from April to May. In winter, the foliage of some varieties turns a striking purple. Hardy Geraniums or Cranesbill are worth adding to your shade garden. This low-growing perennial with a spreading habit comes with flowers in many shades and will bloom all summer long. Ajuga, or Common Hatwort, is a good ground cover for partially shaded areas. Most have blue or pink flowers and grow very well under trees or large shrubs. Cyclamen is another shade lover that grows happily under trees or shrubs and once planted will stay in the ground for years. Angelica is a stunning architectural plant that will add height and structure to a shady border, although you can get some smaller varieties. Its leaves are surrounded by tiny flower heads in early summer. Hostas are ideal ground covers in shady moist areas. They are grown for their stunning foliage, which comes in a variety of colors from yellow, green to blue.
Aucuba japonica or Japanese laurel is an evergreen shrub with glossy green or variegated leaves. It is perfectly happy in full shade and will tolerate most soil conditions as long as it is not waterlogged. It has stunning red berries in autumn and can also be used as a border hedge plant. Camellias can be somewhat temperamental and sensitive to spring frosts, but they are worth growing in a shade garden for their wide variety of flower shapes and colors. They prefer slightly acidic soil away from strong winds. Camellias can be grown successfully in garden planters filled with pink flower compost. This makes it easy to move them to protect against early frosts. Mahogany trees are very hardy evergreen shrubs with bright yellow flowers in winter. Some varieties will grow in full shade. Euonymus is another evergreen shrub that is easy to grow. It is grown for its foliage, which comes in various green colors and is often variegated. Pieris is a medium-sized evergreen shrub grown for its glossy foliage that changes color from red to green in spring. This shrub is best in the shade, away from strong winds.
Planting the shade part of the garden is subject to trial and error, like most garden plantings. Monitor the shade in your garden and note the areas that get the most sun and those that you hardly see. Those plants that can tolerate a certain amount of shade may need to be moved to find a spot that suits them best, but that’s okay, knowing our gardens well helps them develop to their full potential and there’s no reason why a shade garden he couldn’t look as stunning as one enjoying the sun.
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