Gardening Guru Tip of the Week – Shady Planting

Gardening Guru Tip of the Week – Shady Planting

We welcome our resident gardening guru Geoff Stebbings from www.thebikinggardener.com with his weekly tip for what we should be doing in our garden this week.

Today our Geoff shares with us his top tips for shady planting.

Many gardeners think that a shady border is a problem and that nothing will grow. But it all depends on how dense the shade is and whether the shade is from a building or under dense trees. The worst shade is under evergreen trees and hedges and here the soil is very dry in summer and there is little light. Here the only plants that will thrive are spring bulbs and the toughest plants such as ivy and periwinkle.

If the shade is under deciduous trees it will get light in spring and the choice of plants is wider. But it is best to plant in autumn so the plants can get established before the drought of summer. In addition to spring bulbs and early flowers such as hellebores and pulmonarias you can add evergreen shrubs such as fatsias, viburnums and aucuba.

But if the shade is the north of a building with no overhead trees to keep off rain or tree roots to suck up moisture, the problem becomes an asset. Here all sorts of woodland plants will thrive including hostas, ferns, epimediums and lots of delicate primulas. Evergreen shrubs including camellias will grow and, being in a cool spot, will flower later than in the open garden, and thus less prone to damage from frost.

Most shade-loving plants bloom in spring but you can add extra summer colour with a few summer bedding plants including fuchsias and begonias which will grow well with the minimum of sunlight.

You can find Geoff at his daily talks at the Allianz Garden Show Ireland this year which takes place at Antrim Castle Gardens from 5th – 7th May.


Catch up on Geoff’s other tips from this series:

Gardening Guru Tip of the Week – Hellebores

Gardening Guru Tip of the Week – Pruning

Gardening Guru Tip of the Week – Seed Sowing

Gardening Guru Tip of the Week – Magnolias

Gardening Guru Tip of the Week – Growing Your Own Vegetables

Gardening Guru Tip of the Week – Summer Bulbs

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