Bringing light and life to your shade garden

Experienced gardeners know that shade gardening is far from easy. Aside from the nourishment benefits of the sun, the range of plants that flourish with just a glimpse of sunlight far outweighs those that can thrive without. However, most gardeners will also agree that there’s something incredibly rewarding about ducking away to your shade garden on a scorching summer day to defy expectations and make something stunning out of a consistently shady area. For urban gardeners with sheltered patios and limited options, we’re looking at you, too!

The benefits of a shade gardening may surprise you. Because the sun’s reign is limited in shade gardens, moisture will evaporate slowly and reduce the maintenance and watering requirements on these sorts of gardens. Additionally, pests of all shapes and sizes (including weeds) will make less of a showing in these darker areas. Less watering and fewer pests means low maintenance, and we call that a win-win.

So the challenge isn’t so much caring for a shade garden as it is choosing the right plants for the job. Dropping sunlight-hungry beauties into a dark garden is a real tragedy, but with the right information you’ll be on your way to working with plants that require little to no sunlight. A challenge worth taking on!

The most commonly regarded ‘shade plant’ is arguably the Hosta. They’re large and luxuriant, growing leaves that look like they’re straight out of the rainforest. Best of all, they’re simple to grow. Just ensure that there’s ample room for drainage in the soil and keep things damp (not wet!)

Bleeding Hearts are a surefire win if your goal is to bring brightness to the darkness of your shade garden. Another dependable perennial, Bleeding Hearts bring radiance to an otherwise shady shady garden, with long elegant stems and heart-shaped flowers. Easy to grow and easier on the eyes, Bleeding Hearts are an easy recommendation, and one we make often!

Continuing our crusade for colour in the shade, Astilbes are, again, perennial (we dig patterns here, and yes, pun intended) that grow plumes of vibrant flowers. Pick a moist, shady area and commence with adding an array of colours to your darker garden. By the way, if you need any help with colour palettes, we have an Inspiration Garden entry for ­just that. Between the Astilbes and the Bleeding Hearts, your shade garden will be anything but dreary.

In addition to the above, we recommend Japanese painted ferns and Hakonechloa grass. For more information and other inspiring ideas, head to our store or deeper into the Inspiration Garden. Happy gardening!

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