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Garden Shade: Difficulty or Delight?

June 01, 2016 - Gardening

Your trees grew, the neighbor’s trees grew, or the next-door house remodel added a full story—whatever the reason, you are now dealing with shade. Don’t despair! You may have to trade the summer gold of sunflowers for the spring gold of the kerria, but plant choices are plentiful.

First the challenges. Mature trees seem to spread their roots everywhere. No matter where you dig, you are fighting for space and water. Getting plants started under these dry shade conditions takes a sharp eye for watering and a good dose of water-holding compost.

Gardens with moist shade can suffer from poor air circulation, increasing the opportunity for diseases to take hold. Choose the disease resistant varieties of your favorite shade-lovers.

On the other hand, it’s in mid-summer heat that cool, shade gardens really shine. That shade means less watering and fewer weeds. You spend less time doing maintenance and more time in the hammock.

True, the shade garden lacks the rainbow colors a sunny border provides. But, walk through your local nursery’s shade collection. You’ll find smooth, shiny, or lacy leaves of relaxing blues and greens, as well as striking yellow and white variegations. You’ll have it “made in the shade.”

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