Shade Gardening: Gardening in Shade.

Shade gardens hardly need to be the colorless, boring places that many of these are. Many colorful flowers need or can tolerate varying degrees of shade. Because the plants are not seen in the blinding glare of full summer sun, their colors appear richer, and subtleties of plant texture and form are more obvious. In a shade garden, you are more likely to notice the many tones of green foliage, yellow-green to bright green to blue-green to deep green; the subtle interplay of textures, feathery against bold, fuzzy against glossy; the ever-changing patterns of sunlight and shadow that dance over leaves and ground when the breeze blows. If you have shade on your property, think of it as an opportunity rather than a liability.
the first step in planting a shade garden is to evaluate the kind of light you have to work with. Shade is not a simple concept. Shade cast by buildings is different from shade cast by trees. The shade beneath a tall, open tree like an elm is brighter than the shade under a lower, denser tree like a maple. There is deep shade, partial shade, and light shade. Morning sun is easier on plants than the same number of hours of midday or afternoon sun, which is hotter.
When assessing the shade in your garden beds, consider its quality and duration-how dense the shade is, the time of day when it blankets your garden, and for what amount of time. Also, consider how the shade changes from season to season; shadows fall in a different place in July than in April. Consider reflected light, too. For example, does a white or very glossy wall near your garden bounce additional light onto the plants?
Unless your garden is in full shade that is, it receives no direct light all day {which is unlikely unless you live in the middle of a forest or surrounded by tall buildings}- there are flowers you can grow. In fact, you may be surprised at how many flowers will bloom happily in the shade. When planning your shade garden, choose white or pastel flowers for the areas of deepest shadow because dark-colored flowers will become lost where light is most dim.
Types of Shade:
If your garden is shady, it’s important to understand that there are different types of shade.
Partial Shade {sometimes called semi-shade or open shade} is found where plants receive 3 to 6 hours of sun a day, in the morning or afternoon, or receive lightly dappled shade with shafts of sunlight reaching the ground all day. Many plants will thrive in partial shade, including those on the list in “Flowers for Shade” listed  in the article below.
Light Shade {also called thin shade} is deeper than partial shade but is still a brightly lit environment. Plants may receive unobstructed sun for an hour or two a day, or they may be brightly lit with shifting patterns of sun and shadow from lightly leaved branches above. Another definition of light shade is a location receiving full shade for a couple of hours a day and partial shade the rest of the time.
Medium Shade {also called half shade or high shade} occurs under trees with light foliage high above the ground. Sun may strike the ground early or late in the day, but the garden is shaded during peak sunlight hours between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Woodland wildflowers such as the wood anemone {Anemone nemorosa}, foamflower {Tiarella species}, amid wild sweet William {phlox divaricata} bloom in medium shade, as will wax and tuberous begonia, fuchsia, daylily, and some other flowers; consult your local garden center for additional suggestions.
Full Shade describes a location where no direct sun strikes the ground. It is found underneath mature trees with dense foliage, such as maples and oaks. Woodland wildflowers are the best choices for a fully shaded location. Try trilliums, hellebores, and violets.
Dense Shade  is too dark and cool for a garden unless you grow flowers in pots and rotate them into and out of the garden every few weeks. Dense shade is the year-round shadow cast by mature conifers and tall buildings.
Remember, too, that you can plant sun-loving crocuses and other spring bulbs in places that are shaded in summer by deciduous trees, which do not get their leaves until after the bulbs have bloomed. Some summer lilies, such as the Turks cap lilies, don’t mind a bit of shade at all. Autumn blooming colchicums, lycoris, and hardy cyclamen will also grow well in light shade.

Flowers for Shade: Annuals.

The plants listed below tolerate partial shade.
Keep in mind that brighter light produces more flowers.
Annuals:
 
Ageratum houstonianum {ageratum}
Begonia hybrids [begonias, wax and tuberous}
Browallia speciosa {browallia}
Catharanthus roseus {Madagascar periwinkle}
Fushsia x hybrida
Impatiens species {impatiens}
Lobelia erinus {edging lobelia}
Lobularia maritima {sweet alyssum}
Mimulus species {monkey flower}
Myosotis sylvatica {annual forget-me-not}
Nicotiana species {nicotiana}
Torenia fournieri {wishbone flower}
Viola x wittrockiana {pansy}

Flowers for Shade: Perennials.

The plants listed below tolerate partial to light shade.
Keep in mind that brighter light produces more flowers.
Perennials:
 
Aconitum  species {monkshood}
Alchemilla mollis {Lady’s mantle}
Anemone x hybrida {Japenese anemone}
Aquilegia species {columbines}
Astilbe species {astilbe}
Bergenia cordifolia {bergenia}
Brunnera macrophylla {Siberian bugloss}
Chrysogonum virginianum {golden star}
Dicentra spectabilis, D. eximia {bleeding heart}
Digitalis species {foxglove}
Doronicum species {leopard’s bane}
Epimedium species {epimedium}
Galium odoratum {sweet woodruff}
Geranium species {cranesbills}
Hemerocallis species {daylilies}
Hesperis matronalis {dame’s rocket}
Hosta species {hosta}
Myosotis species {forget-me-not}
Phlox divaricata [wild blue phlox}
Polemonium caeruleum {Jacob’s ladder}
Polygonatum species {Solomon’s seal}
Polygonum aubertil  {silver lace vine}
Primula species {primroses}
Pulmonaria species {lungwort}
Smilacina racemosa {false Solomon’s seal}
Tiarella cordifolia {foam flower}
Trollius species {globe flower}
Vinca minor {periwinkles}
Viola species {violets}
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