Coping with the shaded garden

shaded garden

The older garden, with its established trees, has a lovely settled feel but presents a particular set of problems for the gardener. Increasing shade and competition from tree roots make it difficult to grow a wide range of plants.

The shaded vegetable garden

Most vegies require plenty of sunlight, but lettuce, beans, cucumbers, pumpkins, and rhubarb will all cope with some periods of shade, especially in summer. Smaller lettuce varieties like mignonette or butter are the best to choose for shadier spots.

Often the easiest way to achieve success if you have shade problems in your vegie area is to plant vegetables into pots filled with a good quality potting mix like Yates Premium. Potted vegies can then be moved around to take advantage of the sunlight. Keep them growing strongly by regularly liquid feeding with Thrive All Purpose or Nitrosol. Occasionally switch to Thrive Flower & Fruit, which is particularly rich in potassium and thus will help plants to resist disease.

The shaded flower bed

Although most flowers perform best in sun, there are still plenty of beauties that will lighten up shaded parts of the garden. Newer types of shade-tolerant impatiens have dwarf habits and they’re less likely than their tall, leggy predecessors to spread unwanted seedlings all over the garden. Cinerarias and primulas (seeds can be sown in the next few weeks and seedlings will be available in autumn) are happy in sheltered garden spots.

One beautiful summer plant that does well in the shade is the torenia. Torenias, which look a bit like blue snapdragons, have rainforest origins, love humidity, and are ideally suited to life under trees.

The shaded lawn

Ever wondered why the lawn in the shaded parts of your garden is so pathetic?

It’s because grasses and shade don’t mix well. Grasses evolved to grow out in open areas where they are exposed to long periods of sunlight. If grasses are forced to grow under trees or, worse still, in the shade of buildings, they struggle.

Here are some suggestions:


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