Gardening for Shaded Areas


Shade Gardening

If you find that your garden has limited access to natural light then fear not, there are still many plants available for growing in partial or even fully shaded areas.

shady-garden-bench

Highly shaded areas need not be a deterrent to getting active in the garden and are in fact increasing becoming more popular as gardeners in many urban areas are finding ways of making the most of every possible little piece of space. Be creative and you will easily find something that can fill almost every little corner of the garden.

Balcony in Ang Mo Kio area. Growing flowers and herbs in hanging pots balcony/corridor is very popular in Singapore .
Balcony in Ang Mo Kio area. Growing flowers and herbs in hanging pots in a balcony or corridor is very popular in Singapore.

Creating your own border when light is restricted can actually be an easy process and doesn’t differ too much from planning a sunny border.

But first!

Two essential considerations when selecting shade loving plants….

  • Good drainage
  • Make sure the soil receives a good level of nutrients

During the wetter periods of the year and in particular when little light is present to absorb the extra moisture on the surface, good drainage will help maintain a good growing environment and provide the best chance possible for the roots. Because the sun is restricted then you can help the plants in shaded areas by adding a natural organic substance or fertiliser to the soil to help enrich the soil. This will help replace the nutrients that may be missing and hopefully help avoid the soil from drying out.

shadey garden path

Creating your own border when light is limited can be an easy process. When choosing plants have a check to see if they will tolerate partial shade or full shade, then let your own preference be the guide. Have a look now at some of our suggested plants and bulbs, all suitable for planting now in preparation for flowering next year.

Perennials

The range of perennial plants and shrubs available is quite extensive and there is sure to be something for everyone.

Hosta

Hosata smaller

Designer Hostas are a popular choice because of the wonderful foliage they offer and can really add a touch of class to the border.

Ferns

Mixed ferns

Ferns will prosper beautifully and come in such a variety of colours that they must be worth a try.

Tricyrtis

Toad lilies

Tricyrtis (Toad Lilies) can also be used to add an unusual effect with their truly amazing spotted flowers in autumn.

Heuchera

Heuchera

The front of a border can benefit from the stunning foliage that Heuchera can bring, particularly since recent developments in breeding have introduced new colourful varieties such as ‘Autumn Leaves’ (bright ruby red foliage) and ‘Plum Royale’ (shiny purple foliage). These low-growing plants will easily fill gaps and spaces in the border that may be left between larger trees and shrubs.

Convallaria Bordeaux

4.1.2

If you would like to add little fragrance in spring then we suggest trying the very reliable Convallaria Bordeaux (Giant Lily of the Valley), great for planting in groups where the white flowers show themselves from the middle of spring on wards.

Monarda

Monarda

Monarda are a superb choice for fragrance in summer and autumn, where the spiky head flowers are complimented by a wonderful mint aroma.

Bergenia Erioca

Bergenia Erioca

A new improved version of the more common Bergenia. The hardiness of Bergenia makes it suitable for gardens all over the country, even in some of the colder parts of northeast Scotland.

Shrubs

Popular shrubs for a shade-loving border come in all shapes and sizes. Some can be grown as stand-alone items in a border, while all those listed below will work side-by-side with many perennials and shrubs to add a really varied showing.

Big leaf Hydrangea

Hydrangea Magical Revolution Blue

The big leaf varieties will do well in shade. Our pick is Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Magical Revolution Blue,’ which will tolerate even fully shaded areas where almost no natural light gets in. This variety produces large headed blue flowers, which actually turn deep purple as the flowers mature.

Juniper Sky Rocket

Juniper Rocket Juniperus

A marvellous narrow conifer tree that can grow up to 3m, and because of its slender column shape it will not restrict light for other areas of the garden.

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia Creeper)

Parthenocissus quinquefolia - Virginia Creeper growng with Hedera - Ivy on house wall

If you have a south-facing or a wall where light is obstructed then why not try growing a climber up the wall, with Virginia Creeper the ideal candidate because of its remarkable leaf colourings, especially in autumn.

Vinca major ‘Variegata’

Vinca Major Variegata

A great variegated leafed evergreen shrub that will grow in almost any garden soil and location. Wonderful for growing underneath trees as well, where the blue flowers appearing in spring can last up until autumn.

Pachysandra terminalis

Pachysandra terminalis

For year around appeal you could also try the increasingly popular Pachysandra terminalis, which will save hours of intensive garden labour by suppressing weeds and acting as a ground cover shrub. The vivid green, succulent foliage is a real sight when planted in rows and can act as a low growing path boundary or screen.

Bulbs

A good way to make the most of shaded areas under trees and large shrubs is the introduction of naturalising bulbs, which left undisturbed over time will often multiply to create a beautiful woodland effect.

English grown Daffodils and Narcissi bulbs

Narcissi

Many varieties are suitable to grow is shaded areas and our favourites to give a try are ‘Cheerfulness’ (Showy double white variety), ‘St. Patrick’s Day’ (Lemon yellow blooms) and the original native UK Daffodil ‘Obvallaris’, fondly known as the Tenby Daffodil. (Illustrated in order mentioned from left to right).

Crocus and Miscellaneous bulbs

misc bulbs

Great for planting en masse and leaving to multiply in highly shaded areas. The dwarf nature of these perennial bulbs make they great for adding a little bit of colour where needed. For some spring colour try planting Crocus ‘Prince Claus’ (colourful blend of white and blue) or the wonderful yellow Crocus ‘Fuscotinctus’. Iris reticulata ‘Cantab’ will offer an enchanting pale blue display or the popular Muscari armeniacum will create a sea of lavender blue/purple.

Bluebells

1000547_b

The perfect flower to round up our list. Coming across bluebells in the wild is a real treat and many people like to grow their own. They love being planted under trees and are a real delight in dappled shade. Also supply these in the green for easy transplantation and reliable results.

September Plant of the Month – Echinacea purpurea

Echinacea purpurea

Echinacea mixed

Echinacea are incredibly vibrant coloured cone flowers with giant heads on tall stems. Their bright colours will attract wildlife to your garden, as bees and butterflies love this plant as much as we do. The purpurea varieties are the only Echinacea grown from root stock, producing those thick stems that make them perfect for use as cut flowers. Echinacea are a tough plant, their eye catching colourful blooms that draw so much attention actually love to be ignored, a great hassle free choice for you garden.

The delightful shades of Echinacea purpurea are ideal for a summer border. The cheerful flowers look great mixed in with other plants and bulbs, or can be planted en-masse for a bold splash of colour. They will even do well in pots – plant in a deep container and position where they will get plenty of sunlight.

Companion plants

colourful mixed perennials flower bed

Echinacea are spectacular in a mixed border – as illustrated above. They partner really well with Rudbeckia varieties, as you can see above, the bright purples look particularly striking against the bright yellow of the Rudbeckia Goldsturm. We’ve highlighted a few more great companion plants in the gallery below.

Planting

POTM September Echinacea Quick facts box

Echinacea need to be grown in full sun, they won’t thrive at all in shade but will cope with a little. They are tolerant of a wide range of soils as long as it is well drained and they are drought tolerant once established. Deadhead to prolong flowering. You can propagate by division in spring and autumn but they prefer not to be disturbed and can become more bushy in habit but less floriferous.

How-to Tutorial

Jeff demonstrates how to plant border perennials together in this easy to follow video. Rudbeckia and Echinacea complement each other exceptionally and both make excellent summer border plants.

Aftercare

Pinch off spent flowers on a regular basis — or use them as cuttings in flower arrangements — to extend the blooming period. Apply a quality flower fertilizer several times during the gardening season to promote big, beautiful blossoms. Mulch to prevent weeds, conserve moisture and improve aesthetics.

Cut plants to the ground in late winter after flowers have gone to seed.

Click HERE to view our full range of Echinacea!

July Plant of the Month – Scabiosa caucasica

Scabiosa caucasica

Scabiosa Mixed

Introduced to the UK over 200 years ago Scabiosa caucasia are a striking alternative to the sunny yellow, orange and red shades that tend to dominate the summer months. They become a beautiful sight once their amazing and colourful blooms appear during the summer, flowering perpetually from June through to the first frosts in autumn. They make excellent cut flowers, but left in the garden are highly attractive to butterflies and bees.

POTM July Scabiosa

 

 

 

 

 

 

Planting

Scabiosa like a sunny position. They will do best in temperate weather conditions, do not allow to get over wet in winter. In a really hot summer they can die back but as the weather cools towards October they may start to flower again. Extremely hardy and free flowering; they will thrive in most well drained soils – particularly good for chalky soil.

Aftercare

Deadhead to promote flowering. When established they will be more drought tolerant.

Will naturalise if left undisturbed making them a good addition to a wild garden.

Top Picks

Scabiosa Caucasica Snow Cushion

‘Snow Cushion’ is a mound-forming, deciduous to semi-evergreen perennial with broadly lance-shaped, variably-lobed, grey-green leaves and upright, wiry stems bearing semi-double, white flower heads from early summer into autumn.

This attractive perennial will produce pincushion type flowers from June through to late October. They are very hardy plants and free flowering, and Scabiosa thrive in most types of well drained soil.

Click HERE to view our full range of Scabiosa!

How to: Attract Wildlife to the Garden

butterfly on violet scabiosa
Wild butterfly on a violet scabiosa

You can easily attract various wildlife to your garden all year around by allocating just a little bit of time and space to your garden this Autumn. For many people wildlife is a welcomed addition to the garden providing extra character. Also the knowledge that they are doing their bit to help with British conservation.

Online now you will find many varieties of plants and shrubs which will help you along the way, by both attracting and providing food/shelter for various forms of wildlife. Composting and letting a few patches of your garden grow a little wild will help to encourage visitors (and what gardener needs to be told the virtues of compost!).

If you have the space grow trees and big shrubs. By devoting even the smallest part of your garden to attracting wildlife you can turn it into a paradise for beneficial birds, mammals and insects.

bird hanging under peanut birdfeeder (goldfinch)Birds

Birds are attracted to areas where they find both food and shelter. A good way of doing so in the autumn/winter is by planting up shrubs and trees which produce berries, such as Ilex (Holly), Pyracantha or Gaultheria. Not only will they produce valuable food but they also produce some much needed ornamental value in the Winter months. A bird table is also a fantastic way of enticing birds into a specific area of the garden. Ornamental grasses are also a popular way of making the garden appealing to seed eating birds.

Butterflies

They will visit most gardens, especially if they find plants in sunny or sheltered locations. The secret here is to make available nectar rich, fragrant flowers which are colourful and from which they feed.

Perennail strip for Blog pollinatoors
Lavender, Buddleia, Syringa, Forsythia and Echinacea are just a few fantastic garden favourites for attracting butterflies and all look great in the garden!

SquirrelSquirrels

Of course, they are fascinating wildlife to watch as they scurry around during the day. They feed off acorns, buds, nuts, berries and seeds. They will initially appear scared and frightened but with regular feeding they will soon feel at home in your garden. They are easily found around woodland areas, large trees, beech tress. Squirrels are especially attracted to your bird feeders, although take caution as they can damage them over time.

Toads

Provide water and shelter for Toads! These are great for keeping unwanted pests at bay and if you have a pond or one nearby its likely you already have Frogs and Toads living nearby. (If you have a dog remember Toads will release skin secretions which are toxic to dogs).

Hedgehogs

A pile of old logs or bricks, some overgrown grass or turned over empty pots can all help with providing shelter for animals. Hedgehogs will happily take advantage of your hospitality and thank you by eating pesky slugs and snails. An ideal natural defender of you Hosta plants!


Grown Your Own: Seed Potatoes in Sacks

Potatoes in Growing Bag

We sell certified seed potatoes which are
supplied as grade
33-55cm seeds. 30 seeds weigh
approximately 2-2.5kg (salads 1.5-2kg).

Step 1 –

Fill one third of your Patio Potato Sack (15-20cm) with the damp compost
and place the seed potatoes on top of the compost. Then cover the seed potatoes
with a further 10cm of compost up to half of the sack.

Step 2

As plants start to grow and green foliage appears add more compost
around them to slowly fill up the potato sacks to a few inches
from the top. We do this as the potatoes grow from the stem beneath the
soil level so we want to keep that stem covered.

Every time that you add more compost you can feed the bag
with a general potato fertilizer which is high in potash.

Make sure you keep the compost moist at all times, but not too moist
as the tubers/seed potatoes will rot if over watered at this stage.

Step 3 –

For a bumper pack, increase watering when the plants
flower (this is when the tubers begin to form). They will usually be ready
for harvesting once the flowers begin to open.

Step 4

About two weeks before the potatoes are ready to harvest
you should cut all the growth off at ground level to prepare
the potatoes for lifting, making the skins tougher and less
likely to break on lifting.

Woman harvesting salad potatoes 'Bambino' grown in patio planter bag
Woman harvesting salad potatoes ‘Bambino’ grown in patio planter bag

How-to Tutorial

In this easy to follow video planting guide, Jeff demonstrates how to grow your own potatoes in a grow bag.

Our Top Choices

1. Potato Casablanca

Potato Casablanca

Casablanca are a superb new First Early Variety producing white skin and creamy coloured flesh. A great all-rounder. Casablanca has good resistance to common scab, blackleg and golden eelworm. This new variety is bound to become a household name and be one of the top potatoes in the kitchen.

2. Potato Desiree

Best red, main crop variety. Desiree potatoes have a firm, creamy tasting flesh making them ideal for smooth mash or being cooked in a sauce, such as our favourite Potato Dauphinoise/Dauphinoise Potatoes. Desiree are easily recognisable by their lovely red skin and light yellow flesh. Desiree are normally larger, longer and oval shape.

Potato Maris Piper

3. Potato Maris Piper (Main Crop)

This is the best option for beginners and the best chipping variety available, and a versatile ‘all rounder’. Potato ‘Maris Piper’ produces dry, floury tubers with creamy-white flesh of good flavour, that rarely discolours on cooking.

 

 

Click HERE to view our full range of Potatoes!

 

How to Plant Roses

climbing-roses-on-trellis-2

Few shrubs/plants will add the elegance and beauty to the British garden quite like a Rose. Roses are available in a wide number of colours, shapes and sizes. They are grown for their attractive and often fragrant flowers, flowering mainly in summer and autumn. Discover when and how to plant Roses with our easy gardening guide.

How to Plant Roses

Dig a hole large enough to take the roots when fully outspread. Distribute the roots evenly round the hole. Put in a little fine soil to which has been added a small amount of bone meal.

Fill in a further 5cm of ordinary soil over the roots and tread in firmly. Tread in additional soil firmly at each stage as the hole is filled. If they are not the winds of winter will loosen the roots. This may cause the newly planted rose to die.

Generally speaking, the depth of holes for planting roses will vary between 10-20cm. But examination of the plants will show quite clearly the depth to which they were originally planted.

How to Prune Roses

Prune bush Roses in mid-March up to the second week of April. Floribunda Roses are a little tenderer and need pruning one week later than the above dates.

Prune HT Roses back hard in the spring. As long as the roots are firmly established, leaving only three or four eyes per stem. If left unpruned they will die back along the stem and perish or produce leggy poor specimens.

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