Creative Garden Design – Shade Gardening

Yards with lots of shade once offered a difficult challenge when it came to finding plants to fill the bare spots, but no more. Areas of low or reduced light are no longer classified as no-grow zones. Numerous plants are now gaining in popularity when it comes to filling these area and offering beautiful results.

Dramatic focal points can be created in a shady spot. A bare spot under a tree with high roots can sometimes be hard to cover. However, with the right combination of shade-loving plants, what was once a major eye sore can be turned into a place of beauty.

As you begin to plan your shade garden, start with a new mind set. Consider the fact there is no law saying everything in the garden must bloom. Interesting combinations are possible with both foliage and blooming plants. Start your planning by first monitoring the afternoon sun. It can be a bit harsh, especially in the warmer regions of the US. Western sun creates a challenge for these special plants.

After planting your shade-loving collection, be sure to imitate nature in the way you finish off the bed. Do this by sprinkling either wood chips, shredded bark mulch or leaf mold (composted leaves) a couple of inches thick around the plants. If you use leaves from the autumn drop, run them through a leave shredder or go over them with the lawn mower first. This will help keep them from matting and they will decompose at a faster rate. The mulch will assist the soil in staying moist and also creates a woodland humus as it decomposes.

Watering shady-area plants is very important, especially under trees and during dry times of the year. Soaking the bed deeply once each week during dry times of the year will help encourage the plants to develop deep roots. A deep watering weekly will help root growth much better than will several shallow waterings during the week. It is even more important if the plants are near a tree, as the tree will soak up a large quantity of the water, leaving the plants struggling for the scraps the tree misses.

When deciding what plants to put in your shade garden, a popular plant you might consider adding is a hosta – also known as lantation lilies These beauties originated in the Orient and are an excellent shade perennial. Some are basically foliage plants, but more recently cultivars have fragrant flowers as well. Hostas vary in size, from two inches in height to four feet tall. Trumpet-like flowers in colors of white, blue, purple or lavender are common. Foliage colors vary from blue and white, yellow or green. The leaves are glossy and can be rounded, oval, heart-shaped or strap-like. When growing hostas, be on the lookout for slugs. Hostas are a favorite selection on the garden menu for these creatures.