Well-designed and properly planted shade gardens are the most refreshing parts of any landscape, but you can't plant them properly unless you understand the characteristics of shade.
Many homeowners start out with mostly full sun, but then either plant too many trees or let volunteers grow wherever they plant themselves. After a few years on this course a sunny garden can become a shady or even gloomy one.
It takes real courage to cut down mature trees, but sometimes this is the only way to reclaim the sun. In some cases you can lace trees out to let adequate light through.
The best shade is that which you create yourself, either by building a shade structure or by planting an appropriate number of well-chosen trees in the right places. The most difficult shade is that which you can't control - solid shadows of buildings or walls, sometimes alternating with an hour or two of burning hot sun.
Shadows don't stand still; every day they move from west to east as the sun moves across the sky from east to west. They also lengthen northward as the sun moves south during fall and winter, and then they gradually shorten again as the sun moves north in winter and spring.
These factors make gardening in the shade a lot trickier than gardening in full sun. So if you're interested in shade gardening, begin by observing and understanding the shadows in your own garden; notice where they occur, how dense they are, and their duration.
Not all semi-shade or even dense shade is alike. It differs widely according to what causes it and its exposure (the direction it faces). It's important to learn how to distinguish among these various degrees and exposures of shade and to learn which plants are most likely to succeed in each of them. Shade plants vary greatly in shade tolerance.
Most shade plants, particularly flowering ones, need semi-shade, which, by definition, means partial sun. Only a small number of plants will grow with no sun at all, but many gardeners have created beautiful gardens even in dense shade.
We have a great selection of plants that like shade and semi-shade. Come on in and find what you need for your own shade garden.