How Can I Have a Shade Garden?
“What do you mean, shade? There isn’t any shade within a mile of my place.” This may be your reaction if you live in the Plains states. Or maybe you have just moved into a new housing development; one just a few years old, that has no mature trees or much of anything for that matter.
But what about the north side of that fence or on the north side of the house? Even the east side will provide some shade. True, in the summer there isn’t a lot of shade even in those places. It’s still in some shade, usually in the afternoon.
Care must be taken when creating a shade garden against an east wall as the wall will continue to be radiating the heat it absorbed in the morning. Some shade plants, such as ferns, may not be able to handle that dry heat. It would be best to add to the shade in this area by planting trees or shrubs that will cast additional shade to your potential planting bed.
Even with a garden placed on the north side of a fence or building, one must realize that there can be a lack of shade problem. The further south towards the equator your home is the less shade there will be in this spot at summer solstice, the longest day of the year. You may wish to provide further shading by some means of extended roofing in this area.
For instance, the front of my home is the north side. I want to (and hopefully one day will) build a covered walkway there as an addition to an enclosed porch. If I just extend the roofing past the walkway somewhat, I will provide more shade to grow my shade-loving plantings.
The further south you are towards the equator the more likely you are to need some type of shade supplementation even for a north side planting. As always, gardening is an experience of trying things out to see what fits your location, soil, micro-climate and in this case, amount of shade. Have fun experimenting and be aware not everything you try will work every time.