Gardening Shade Gardening

Shade Can be Your Friend

20160310A.jpgI often hear gardeners complain about their shade gardens: how nothing will grow there and how trees roots make planting so difficult. In fact, I used to complain about gardening in the shade myself. Then I got smart (at least, that’s my take on it!).

It struck me one day that the shady parts of my garden actually needed less care than the sunny ones. Yes, plants there grow more slowly, but, if you pick the right ones, they still do fill in over time. Plus, I realized that, when I needed to relax, it was always to the shade garden that I went. It was cooler on those hot summer days, to start with – in fact, much cooler! – but somehow a shady nook is just more conducive to relaxing than a busy sunny border. I tend to move more slowly in my shade garden, to stop and notice details more, to more readily disconnect from life’s troubles. Mine really became for me a haven of peace and quiet. I know that sounds corny, but it’s true!

With spring around the corner, why not try to look at your shade garden with different eyes? True, it’s not always going to be a nonstop riot of bloom like some sun-filled gardens can be, but foliage colors, shapes and textures have their own subtle charm. You’ll find there are fewer weeds in the shade and, even when you do have to weed, it’s not as backbreaking as weeding in the burning sun. Start experimenting with shade-tolerant plants: not just the usual hostas and ferns, but epimediums, carexes, Solomon’s seals, winterberries, etc. The list just goes on and on: there are literally thousands of plants that don’t just tolerate shade, they really thrive on it.

Successful shade gardening essentially becomes more a question of attitude than anything else. Learn to love your shade garden and you’ll be surprised by the pleasure it will bring you.

Making the Most of Shade.jpgFor more on successfully gardening in the shade, might I suggest one of my books, Making the Most of Shade? Enjoy reading it… and enjoy gardening in the shade.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

0 comments on “Shade Can be Your Friend

Leave a Reply

Sign up for the Laidback Gardener blog and receive articles in your inbox every morning!

%d bloggers like this: