"WHY TRY TO STUFF THESE AREAS WITH THE EXCITEMENT OF DIVERSITY AND COLOR TYPICAL OF SUNNY AREAS. IT WON'T HAPPEN ANYHOW!"

Athyrium n. pictum at Squire House Nursery
ATHYRIUM N. 'PICTUM'

hosta blue angel
HOSTA 'BLUE ANGEL'

Carex pennsylvanica woodland sedge for shade gardens native plant
CAREX PENSYLVANICA

Carex plantaginea for shade gardens Squire House 55001
CAREX PLANTAGINEA

GARDENING IN THE SHADE
Tips from garden designer Martin Stern

Shady areas of the garden can be restful and comforting so Martin Stern, owner Squire House Gardenswhy try to stuff these areas with the excitement of diversity and color typical of sunny areas. It won’t happen anyhow!

Think about about the spaces of your shade garden: how you move through the space and experience the protection of the tree canopy, are there places to rest or relax with others? Think about pattern: the pattern of light and shade, the pattern of non-living elements such as paths or walls, the pattern of interesting arrangements of shade-loving plants. And think about texture: shade plants offer such a beautiful array of contrasting foliage. Heighten the beauty of bold, gorgeous hostas with the foil of delicately fine-textured ferns and sedges. Use nuances of shades of green - there are so many in the shade garden!

Understand well the particulars of your shady areas in terms of soil, moisture and light. These elements combine to create ideal conditions, manageable conditions and difficult conditions.
Ideal conditions might be light, loamy soil under trees that are not surface-feeders (greedy for water) such as Oaks with open canopies, limbed high to expose light.

Moderate conditions might be average soil under a mix of trees with a denser canopy.

Difficult conditions might be tight, dry soils under surface-feeders such as maples and elms with dense canopies.
You may ameliorate the conditions by improving the soil with organic material, thinning or removing trees or providing supplemental water. But it is always best to choose those plants that will adapt the conditions and use them with intelligence and artfulness even if the palette is limited.

Need help? Hire the experts at Squire House for a design consultation
651-436-8080 or contact us via email



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