Thursday, June 18, 2009

Growing in the Shade

I often want what I can't have. In this case, it's full sun in my backyard. Instead, I have considerable amounts of shade and growing sun loving perennials is out of the question. Trust me, I tried for the first three years. Once I accepted the fact that I had mostly shade, my backyard started looking a whole lot better.

Deciding that you have full sun is pretty darn easy - the area just needs six or more hours of sun. For shade, it's a little trickier. If you have six or less hours of sun then you have shady conditions - a good example would be on the north side of a house - that's an easy one to figure out. It's shade in the yard that can be harder to figure out. Some areas may have dappled shade part of the day and full sun the rest, say under or near a tree. Sometimes in these areas, sun loving perennials may thrive - often, it's just trial and error.

One thing to remember is that the shade garden will not have the flowers that a sun garden will have. So, instead you should look for plants that have lots of textures, unique foliages and lots of colors in the leaves. Plant these plants and for that matter all perennials in groups of at least three or more. This will give you far more visual impact. When you see a beautiful garden in a magazine, look at how many of one type of plant are in one grouping. By mixing textures and leaf shapes in the perennial garden you can create a wow that will be as memorable as any sun loving garden.

Here are a few perennials that love the shade:
Hostas - countless varieties are out there.
Coral Bells
One of my favorite plants.
I love the red leaves against green and yellow leaved hosta.
Another great textured plant to mix in the shade garden.
Foam Flowers
One of the best blooming shade loving plants.
Look for varieties that have some hints of red in the foliage.

For more information on plants for the shade, click here.

Here are a couple pictures of the shady areas of my yard.

Make your day a good one.

No comments: