Guide to Shade Gardening

Shade gardening is lots of fun and a pretty easy process once you understand the basics. Join our garden expert Debbie as she plants a shade garden and talks you through the act of plant selection. You'll learn of some wonderful plant choices for different parts of your shade garden.


Have you ever tried to plant a shade garden, gone into your local garden centre and gotten frustrated coz everything with beautiful flowers on it says full sun, full sun, full sun? Well, don't worry, because at Spring Hill Nursery, we love shade gardens. So, we're going to help you plant one out right now. And don't worry, having a shade garden doesn't mean you're limited to just green. So, let's take a look at what I've got going on in my shade garden I'm going to be planting. First of all, what I'm using as a foundation planting here is a dwarf Japanese Maple. Now you'll notice I've put it on higher ground because this is going to grow to about ten feet and I want it to create some vertical interest and become a focal point to my shade garden. And of course, looking down here, no shade garden would be complete without hostas. Now, with modern breeding of hostas, you'll notice hostas don't have to be just green anymore. There are so many different colors, sizes and textures. You'll notice this one here has a beautiful lime green with a darker green edging. There are many varieties that have some beautiful white variegation to them, and you know, they also have a lovely flower stalk that will bloom throughout the entire summer. So, hostas are a great addition to any shade garden. And of course, if you have a woodland style garden, like I'm planting here, it also wouldn't be complete without ferns. Now this is a Cinnamon fern, and of course this is going to grow beautifully and give it more of that woodland look. Next, you'll notice is Japanese painted fern. Now I really like this fern because of the detail in it, the purple coloring that blends so well with the green. Now over here, this is a geranium that's called Espresso. This, I really love because of the coloring of the foliage. You'll notice it has kind of a chocolaty hue to it, and when the bluish flowers come up, it's really going to be stunning. Now here, I've started a begonia bold in a pot which I'm then going to transplant. Now of course, begonias will shoot up stunning, stunning flowers once they're in bloom. Now let's say you're a gardener who likes to neglect your garden, be honest, lamium is a wonderful choice. Now, this is a ground cover that is just tough as nails. Once it starts growing out, it's actually going to root along the stems and it can handle wind, it can handle drought, it can handle neglect. It loves gardens like this and it looks beautiful planted among the rocks. Now if you want to get some color in terms of annuals, these are a great choice. These are coleus. Now if you look at different coleus, they come in so many different colors, and you could see there's no flowers here, but look at all the color! All of this stunning array of color and these are just going to get bigger and more vibrant through the summer. And of course, as an annual, they can be popped out when they're done and in the fall, you can replace them with a different annual. So you can see, not only do I have my work cut out for me, but I sure am going to have a very colorful shade garden when I get finished here. So, that's all it takes to create a shade garden. As you see here, I've got my garden planted. It's been growing now for a few weeks and everything is maturing nicely. Now keep in mind, just because a plant needs shade, doesn't mean it can't take the heat. Right now, where I am, in zone 5, temperatures have been above ninety, even ninety five all week long and as you can see behind me, everything is doing great. So, don't be afraid, color your shade garden today.