Not all gardens are created equal. Some attract more sun than others depending on the structures surrounding it. What do you do then when there isn’t enough sun to reach your warmth-loving plants? Stop fighting the shade and embrace it. There are plenty of other plants that have adapted to shady conditions and actually thrive in it. Examples of which are annuals, perennials, shrubs, ferns, and undercovers.
Advantages of a shade garden
In the heat of summer, moisture doesn’t evaporate as fast in shade gardens, thus eliminating the need for frequent watering. This makes the gardens fairly low-maintenance. Pests seem less of a problem and weeds don’t grow or spread as fast. And of course, they create a nice and cozy spot of shelter for you from the sweltering sun.
How to start a shade garden
First in your list should be determining what kind of soil you have in the shady area of your garden. Is it too dry or too moist? Is it acidic or alkaline? You must also find out if the shady area attracts partial light or has very dense shade all day. The partial light will allow for a more diverse and wider selection of plants, but there are also many beautiful and interesting ones such as the Lungwort, Wake Robin, and Lily of the Valley that love the deep shade.
Shady garden issues and how to deal with them
Once you have established the condition of the shady part of your garden, it is now time to address the problem areas, if any, one by one. Most of these issues are easy to solve and after dealing with them, you will soon have a flourishing and colorful garden under the shade.
Most people find that soil under the shade of trees is often very dry and hard due to the trees’ roots sucking up all the moisture around it. If that is the case, experienced gardeners recommend mulching around plants. Mulch helps the soil retain moisture and attracts beneficial worms that will help loosen it. Most are made of natural matter such as chopped twigs, fallen leaves, bark, wood chips, straw, grass clippings, sawdust, and hay. Human-made materials such as newspapers, black plastic, and landscape fabric may also be used.
In some places, the soil is heavy and clay-like which turns mushy when wet but dries hard like a rock. Experts simply recommend using expanded shale that would make the soil drain better and make it easier to work with. Meanwhile, using commercial fertilizers with ammonium-N will raise the acidity of the soil while applying garden lime will lower it.
Although many types of plants can grow in deep shade, you may wish for a less dense and filtered tree shade. In this case, simply cutting off a few tree branches down to the trunk will let more light in to reach the ground.
In as much as gardening is a fun and fulfilling activity, being under the heat of the sun can sometimes discourage you from doing it regularly. Shade gardening is one way you can keep your gardening hobby while also protecting you from the sun’s harmful rays.