NEIGHBORHOOD GARDEN FOR MARCH 31, 2007
WHAT WILL GROW IN SHADE?
BY GLADYS JEURINK
different kinds of shade and some are almost impossible to grow
anything, such as deep shade under a low growing evergreen. This is
usually a very dry place since rain canít get there any better than
sunlight and if it does the tree snatches it away at once. Mushrooms like shade
but they must be moist. They also happen to be very dangerous unless you
know one from another. The kits are fun to try as you will be using
known spores but they do need some attention as they live on decaying
material. A kit may contain
a partially decomposed log or instructions on how to find your own and
they have to be kept damp all the time.
Fairy rings show up in your lawn because a dead root or decaying
material is there. They are neither edible nor fun. Ginger
will grow in rather deep shade but it needs its share of water.
In this type of area I like ground bark (fine) because it is
easier to walk on or gravel. Both of these let any rain down to the tree roots and keep
wooden legs of chair and chaise lounges dry to prevent rotting.
most important thing about shade gardening is the soil.
Has it been completely filled with tree roots? Have the trees
used up all the nutrients? Is there any humus there to hold food and
water? In one place I read that a WILLOW TREE can drink 60 gallons of water in one hot day.
Donít try to improve things by pouring good soil over the
roots. Before long your
tree will suffocate for lack of oxygen. Full shade is the hardest in
which to grow.
can be made into part shade by removing tree limbs to let in more light.
This wonít change the heavily rooted area which I like to cover
with several inches of mulch. Part
shade is a very good area for many plants especially in Nebraska where
summer sun beats down on the plants and scorches some of them. Afternoon
part shade and protection from wind produces some of my best plants.
The East side of the house and under a high trimmed LINDEN (Lincoln Electric System took care of this) gets morning sun.
Most of my houseplants go out here and grow well and a WISTERIA
(Wisteria chinensis) climbs a pole to spread out above the back gate
while a bird usually nests deep in the tangle of branches. The top of
the WISTERIA creates a shade
area below while it is in the sun with long chains of purple flowers. I
need to keep pruning the many branches that start out in order to get in
the back gate.
and FIBROUS BEGONIAS fill in
several of my shady spots. Both
of them adjust from sunny to partial shade if their soil is damp.
Both of them also do well in containers to add bright colors.
They are also very sensitive to cold so are the last plants I set
out in the spring. GOUTWEED,
BISHOPS WEED, or SNOW ON THE MOUNTAIN (Aegopodium
podagraria) is a very aggressive groundcover that also invades sunny
areas. There is a green form not as popular as the variegated.
You need to watch as sometimes part will revert back to the green
and needs to be removed!
There is a
nursery in Florida that sells painted CALADIUMS
by the quart. These bulbs I plant around and in-between 3 JAPANESE
FOREST GRASS (Hakonechloa
macra) as both like high shade and damp soil.
The grass gets about 18 inches tall with dramatic white stripes
in bright green leaves in 3 foot wide clumps under the big COTTONWOOD
TREE. The grass is listed for hardiness zone 7 but mine has survived
three years so I try to keep 2 to 3 inch mulch over the roots of both of
them year round. The CALADIUM bulbs get smaller rather than bigger in my yard so I need a
new quart every spring. Our
summer heat is just not long enough for them to grow after putting out
those many colored leaves. Rabbits
like to eat on the grass as soon as it starts to grow, so I have had to
keep it covered with Liquid Fence or blood meal.
(Convallaria majalis) are
small plants (6 inches) with pink or white perfumed bell flowers. In
damp shady areas they can take over other plants so you need to divide
every few years. Many years ago when I bought my first ones I picked up
a number of plants but when I reached the cash register I found out each
one was actually ten plants with a rubber band around. As tiny as they
are they can outspread any plant 10 times their size.
generally found in ditches, along edges of fields and other sunny places
is the OXEYE DAISY. In light
shade it tends to flop when covered with blooms and tends to spread
rapidly with both seeds and roots.
When they come up where I want them I just drop a cage over that
area and the cage supports the heavy blooms. So far I have never seen a
bug or a disease that could touch them.
There are many
plants to fit in shade, especially high or dappled.
The major problem will be food and water.
Shrubs and trees are very efficient at getting more than their
share. These plants can be watered very quickly using a hand sprinkler
near the roots thus avoiding fungous and high water bills from