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Shade Gardens
There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it.....Minnie Aumonier

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Detailed Shade Plant Profiles

Begonia

Coleus

Foxglove

Hosta

Hydrangea

Impatien

Plumbago

Violet


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Every home has a place for at least a small shade garden.  While the full-sun vegetable and perennial gardens also have their functions, nothing takes the place of a tranquil, quiet corner of the yard with sweet scents, almost fluorescent colors, and best of all, cool shade.  Contrary to popular belief, a shade garden can be host to an astounding number of flowering and foliage plants.  We have all heard friends bemoan the fact that their yard is mostly shady and "nothing will grow."  That couldn't be farther from the truth - there is a huge selection of suitable plants, shrubs, ground covers, and even under-story trees that will do beautifully in even fairly dense shade.

This brings us to the issue of the shade itself.  Every landscape differs in where and what type of shade it holds.  Observation is the best way to deduce what the needs for your particular yard are, but some general guidelines are as follows. 

Light Shade is an area where as the sun moves across the sky, the areas of shade move along with it.  These areas get a lot of light in intervals during the day.  Some full-sun plants will do just fine in these conditions, and depending on the location and climate (such as the deep South), they may actually appreciate the intermittent relief from the hot sun.  

Open Shade is the shade you would find on the northern side of a house, or under an open-ended covered porch.  Many plants will do just fine under these conditions, but bona-fide full-sun lovers may not do well here. 

Medium Shade is found under decks and in northern-facing areas with a structure or tree blocking the available sunlight.  This situation is where the dividing line really starts between full-sun and full-shade plants. 

Deep Shade is easy to spot.  It's that area in the yard that gets essentially no light at all, due to structures, thick hedging, or what have you.  The plant selection becomes much more limited when faced with deep shade, but there are still enough available choices to make it an attractive, cool, and inviting space for living.

These categories will dictate where a plant belongs for the purposes of this page as we sort through appropriate plants and where to put them.  I will be adding a list of plants and enlarging the lists almost daily, so Bookmark this page and return often - and when you do create that shade garden of your dreams, be sure to pause and look at all the neat little things that Mother Nature chooses to add to the scene.

As a note, in some cases, individual shade plants may also be important annuals, biennials, perennials, and herbs.  In these cases, I have listed them in multiple categories so they won't be overlooked.  This is a large website, and it is very difficult to cross-reference everything and still have room for the subject matter.  I have done my best, but don't forget about the backspace buttons if you find yourself in an unintended category.

 

 

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