Shade gardening for an exotic display of tropical elegance
So many gardeners, even experienced ones, often bemoan the fact that their apartment or home has no expanses of sunny soils in which to plant their sun-loving favorites. Many also regard a shady garden as a difficult prospect, believing that hardly a plant worth viewing does well in the shade. This is a myth we hope to dispell. If your garden is entirely in shade, there are a world of possibilities whereby you can have a display that rivals any sun-drenched spot in the neighborhood.
Have you ever taken a walk in shady woodland areas and marveled at the carpets of flowers produced in spring? How about hostas, those wide-leaved, graceful perennials which are the subject of many a collector of garden species? Shade gardening is almost an undiscovered niche to the conventional gardening enthusiast. You may be surprised to learn that there are entire books written addressing this special gardening situation.
Shade gardening does require a special and discerning eye to the design, but the results can be magnificent. If you're not familiar with the plants that do wonderfully in shade gardens, introduce yourself to the topic online. Type 'shade garden plants' into your search engine and then follow the links to ones that intrigue you. Nurseries which specialize in shade plants provide a good introduction to the subject and plenty of inspiration. Once inspired, you may also want to invest in a book which covers the special soil needs, gardening techniques and suitable plant combinations required of the shade garden. Now you're ready to design.
Many plants which do well in shady conditions also do well in pots. Potted shade plants offer another advantage, in that many of them may be brought inside to over-winter in your home. When it becomes too cold for that grouping of cyclamens to survive on your patio, you can move them inside to nestle happily on a kitchen windowsill. The same holds true for begonias and fuchsias. Left outside, they'll die down for the winter, but will return in spring unless left exposed to a hard freeze. Inside, you have greenery in winter in a cool room.
In temperate regions, ferns, azaleas, gardenias and hypericums die back a bit, but come back strong come spring. Perennials such as carpet phlox live on along shady woodland paths, producing their lovely displays of flowers for years.
If you live in a tropical climate, such as Florida, you can have magnificent displays of color in shade-dappled areas under canopies of larger trees, throughout the year.
A garden spot nearly devoid of direct light can be a real blessing! The sunny field of wildflowers has a formidable rival in the well planned shade gardener's design.