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Shady Landscapes

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June 11, 2013
When speaking with home gardeners, many struggle with growing plants in the shade. But my friend Linda successfully grows gardens to maximize the shady areas of her yard. Shade creates a microclimate that offers both advantages and challenges. Good choices for shady conditions include the ever-popular hosta, which should be grown in the shade is a must in south Mississippi. Impatiens also need to be grown in the full shade, and add splashes of color to this border. Now a plant that I don’t think is used near enough is poke-a-dot plant, whose splattered leaves remind me of a painter shaking excess paint from his brush. And I really like the use of the rough cut field-stone to define the edge of this shady planting. A more natural woodland setting can be achieved in the shady landscape. Linda has used bronze woodland fern and evergreen giant liriope, which can both grow to over two feet tall, as the foundation plants around her gazebo. Late season color will be provided by the Shishi Gashira and Leslie Ann camellias, and butterfly bush, Buddleia davidii. But there are times when the shady landscape doesn’t need any help from colorful plants. Linda has created the interest in this bed using garden art. The large evergreen shrubs cleyera and Indian hawthorn provide a deep, rich background for the various bird houses and bottle tree that add colorful character. And all gardeners know armadillos are unwanted landscape visitors, but who could resist having this armadillo sculpture standing watch in the shade. There are many options for the creative gardener to have it made in the shade. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.

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