Gardening in shade is often considered both difficult and undesirable. Historically garden sites were ‘cleared’ of trees before a garden was created. But things have changed. All at once the sun's rays are considered harmful and a shady retreat from the midday glare seems more restful and relaxing. So a garden already full of trees is a blessing.
Trees are easy to fell but take much longer to grow. However there are plenty of small garden trees that create that luminous dappled shade within ten years. Or you could construct a pergola or a tunnel for more instant shade. Walking through its dusky dimness will give you a frisson on a hot sunny day, and sitting under a tree or in an arbour is more comfortable than cooking in the broad sunlight.
In many small town gardens the walls are high and cut out a lot of light especially in winter. Quite often the soil is compacted, and sour and the ground is stagnant. Treating the soil first before changing the planting, and the layout will refresh the soil nutrients and instantly give the whole area a lift.
This course aims to show you the potential for creating a restful, calming sanctuary from the mad world outside: somewhere you can sit at ease for as long as you like, where the birds will feed and nest, and a home for a wide selection of some of the most beautiful plants in the horticultural canon.
‘Gardening in Shade’ will take you through the steps of preparing the site, and designing the area and creating a ‘mood’, and finally finishing it off and outlining what maintenance it requires. You will be helped to analyse your garden's conditions, choose the right plants, and to plant and maintain them. It should thereafter only need the minimum upkeep.
Each week we will look at two different planting solutions for different aspects of shade, from woodland gardens through to a north facing walls and everything in between.