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Shade Gardening -7 Expert Tips for Shade Garden Success

Shade Gardening -7 Expert Tips for Shade Garden Success

Over the years of gardening, I have found shade gardening required less time and maintenance than my sunny perennial borders. It also became a tranquil place to relax and unwind after a hectic day.

Here are a few shade gardening tips that are quick and easy to do.

1) Consider the grand design. You can create the illusion of space by installing a gently curved pathway. Create shade by installing a pergola or umbrellas if you have open sunny areas.

2) Most shade loving plants benefit from some sun (preferably morning which is less harsh) Light colored foliage plants brighten up shaded areas and look colorful all season. Gold Hostas and moneywort go from gold to yellow. Black leaf plants such as heuchera Obsidian really depend on some sunlight to bring out the deepest black leaves possible.

3) How to add light to deep shade
Don't hesitate to limb up lower branches of trees and shrubs. Those tired and overgrown shrubs will not only have a fresh new look but more oxygen circulates creating a healthier environment.

4 ) Plant selection & foliage
The less sun available, the less energy there is for plants to produce a lot of flowers that you would normally get in a sunny perennial garden. You can create a beautiful setting with the right mix of foliage color, shaped & textures. Blues and green foliage plants are calming and comforting colors.

5) Tough areas
If you are having a hard time getting anything to compete with tree roots, grow your favorite shade plants in containers. Sink pots in the ground between roots or add height with taller pots.

6) Berm or terrace
For problematic areas, consider a berm or terrace. Make sure you don't cover more than a third of tree roots. A raised bed will be easier to maintain and bring in plants closer to you for your enjoyment.

7) Shade garden success
If you are just starting out, select plants that are more widely adaptable to various degrees of light and soil conditions.

I once had a shade garden that included hostas, heucheras, hellebores, Hydrangeas, Ferns and more. It was an easy care shade border that was beautiful 3 seasons of the year and a terrific place to unwide after a hectic day. It was easier to manage than my full sun perennial bed. As the plants got bigger, they filled in nicely covering bare spots and reducing maintenance.