The Shade Garden

What is a shade garden? Could it work in your yard?

Planting a Shade Garden

The tall conifers of the Pacific Northwest provide plenty of shady spots in our gardens. Why fight the depleted light levels while gardening, embrace the low light levels and plant a shade garden? You can plant a successful shade garden by following these easy step or guidelines:

1) Once you select a spot for your new shade garden, observe throughout the day the amount of light/sun that will fall on your proposed site. Some plants will grow in deep shade while others will require partial sunlight.

2) Know your soil- Most shade gardens have moist soil but some can be dry depending on the canopy of the tree. You will have to water until the plants are established.

3) Amend the Soil- Use organic matter such as compost, this will enrich the nutrients and help provide good drainage.

4) Select flowers that provide size, color, texture and a blooming time that will meet your needs.

Common shade garden plants: astilbe, bleeding hearts, columbine, day lilies, coral bells, foxglove and hellebores.

5) Finish by selecting attractive foliage that will add depth and contrast to you garden. Two of my favorites, hostas and ferns are great for shade gardens. You can add a ground cover to suppress the weeds, but be careful as many are aggressive growers and can take over a garden.

An established shade garden requires plants that not only tolerate their new home, but thrive within it. Once your new garden is established you will be surprised at how easy it will be to maintain.