Sunny gardens can yield a bounty of flowers and vegetables, but they can also require a lot of watering and sweat to keep them going. There is, of course, many unwanted weeds which also love to thrive in the sunny spots. Conditioning the soil for wanted plants also creates desired conditioning for unwanted plants.
There is one place, though, that the battle between weeds and gardener is much quieter. It is a place of tranquility and naturally moist conditions - the shade garden. Shade plants tend to need less work to maintain and there is a variety of perennials which love the shade - eliminating the need for planting each spring.
Having a healthy shade garden will also cut down on soil erosion, which is especially important around the foundation of the house.
Tip 1 - Know which Growing Zone You are in
You can look up the growing zones on the Internet, or they are mapped out on the back of any seed packet.
Tip 2 - Head for the Shade at Your Local Nursery
Your local nursery will keep the shade-loving plants in a shady area of the nursery in a section marked "shade plants." How easy is that. The local nursery will, of course, emphasize shade plants which grow best in your growing zone. However, there may be some exotics included in the mix for the more dedicated shade gardeners. Ask the nursery people for advice on the best choices for your own shady spots.
Tip 3 - Some Plants that Do Well in Shady Places
Hostas are a great perennial for the garden. They spread fast and have evolved to store water well. Plant them far apart to allow room for growth. Do not plant other plants to close to the hostas or you will be constantly thinning out your shade garden.
Lily-of-the-valley is another perennial which can do well in the shade, and will spread quickly. Other perennials which do well in the shade include forget-me-nots, monkshood, bleeding hearts, and bluebells.
Ferns are the kings of the shade garden. They also spread quickly and are very durable and need little care. They remind us of primitive times and thereby lend a very pristine look to the garden. They also come in great many varieties.
There are a variety of ground covers that do well in the garden, such as, periwinkle, lungwort, various ivy species, bunchberry, creeping buttercup, and sweet woodruff.
Tip 4 - Don't Plant too Close to Tree Trunks
The roots near the tree trunks will rob nursery plants of nutrients. There are wild plants, such as mosses and mushrooms which do well near the trunks of trees. If you have some woods nearby, you can take some decaying bark from the same type of trees you have in your garden to encourage more moss and mushroom growth around the tree trunks. The mulching effects of the decaying tree bark will help give your shade garden a more filled-in natural look.
Tip 5 - Use Nature as Your Guide
You can visit nearby woods for more clues on how to develop a successful shade garden. Look for areas in the woods with similar conditions to your own shady spots. Take note of the type of mulch which is around and the types of plants which are thriving. Make sure the woods are not a preserve or private property before transplanting anything. Carefully sample from the wild spot. Leave behind enough plants and materials for the spot to continue to flourish.
Allow the wild plants in your garden to flourish, which are not too pervasive.
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