20180705A www.statelykitsch.com.jpg
As your garden becomes shadier, adapt by putting in shade-tolerant plants. Source: www.statelykitsch.com

Your garden is not stuck in a time warp; it is constantly evolving. Trees grow and create more shade … and also dry out the soil. Since you began mulching five years ago, the soil underneath has become richer and more water retentive. Your neighbor’s irrigation system that seems to go off every night and sprays water in all the wrong directions is making the part of your lot right next to the fence much moister than it used to be, etc.

The easiest thing to do is not to try to combat these changes (bringing your neighbors to court for “loss of use” of your property is not a good idea!), but instead to follow them. Move the vegetable garden that is becoming less and less productive because of the shade to a sunnier spot, remove the yarrow that prefers poor, dry soil and now flops because the mulch has enriched the soil and replace it with astilbes that will love the richer, moister conditions, put in plants that like boggy conditions near the now soggy property line, etc.

When conditions change, the plants have to change too: learn to accept this fact and gardening will be so much easier.

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.

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