Once your soil is up to snuff, you'll be ready to dig in and start selecting plants.
When selecting plants, choose varieties that can thrive in your garden's environment.
Just because a plant does well in your neighbor's yard doesn't mean it will be happy in yours. That's because even within your own yard, there can be several microclimates, each with its own unique combination of soil type, sunlight, shade density, moisture, and exposure to the elements.
Here are suggestions for choosing the right plants.
- If you yearn for a plant that hasn't done well in your garden before, ask local garden center experts for a similar one that can adapt better to your garden's conditions. Some varieties tolerate shade, drought, cold, or heat better than others.
- Resist exotic specimens that need coddling. Hardy plants that are native to your area will perform more reliably.
- Avoid spraying by choosing disease-resistant varieties.
Instead of groaning about limited light in your garden, celebrate the perks of shade: slower-growing weeds, fewer pests, less need to water, and cooler temperatures.
Any area that receives less than six hours of direct sun a day is considered shady.
These categories will help you select the right plants for the shady spots in your garden:
Partial shade. Receives direct sun in the morning or afternoon, or lightly dappled sunlight all day. This is the lightest form of shade in gardens.
Light shade. Receives an hour or two of full sun during the day and supports a wide variety of plants.
Half shade. Shaded for four or five of the brightest daylight hours. Gardens with no direct sun but lots of reflected sunlight also fall in this category.
Full shade. No direct sun. Found under mature trees with large leaves and a dense, wide canopy, such as maples and oaks.
Heavy shade. Deep, cool shadows cast by evergreen trees or tall buildings. Not many plants can grow in heavy shade unless they receive some reflected sunlight.
Continued on page 5: Budget Wise