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Shade Gardens

What to do with that shady spot in your yard? Whether your yard is mostly shade or part shade there are plenty of options when it comes to shade loving plants and materials.

Tip of the Week: Shade Gardens              

While some may find dealing with shade challenging, shady spots in your lawn can provide refuge from intense summer heat and lends itself to unique gardens and stone areas.  Here are a few shade garden themes that will help you get started on your shade garden today.

Relaxed English Garden: Place a few hostas and/or ferns in the foreground of your landscape and around the sides of a bench or chair. Next add color with Big Root Geranium or Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart, which bloom in spring with either pink or white flowers (Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart). To ensure your garden doesn’t go completely bare by mid-summer consider planting Astible, which blooms in summer or Heuchera Villosa, which blooms in late summer or early fall – both of which come in varieties with bright green or deep purple leaves and put up light pink to purple flowers. Finally, frame behind your bench with Hydrangeas, which will bloom in late spring / early summer, but lose their leaves in the winter. Azaleas are also a nice alternative, which bloom in spring and keep their leaves all year long. Consider adding a water feature along with a citronella torch and candle to keep bugs and mosquitos at bay while you’re enjoying your garden. 

Zen Pathway: If you have a large tree covering a walkway or path consider adding a few plantings and features that play up the peacefulness of this path. First, take a look at your path and consider adding new or additional stepping stones that will take your guest on a short journey to your home or spot in your yard where you entertain. Next, add comfy texture and interest to your pathway by inserting high traffic ground cover between stones like Blue Star Creeper or Elfin Creeping Thyme. Next, highlight your path with Astilbe, Ferns, and Hostas, which are shade loving perennials that come in a variety of leaf color and textures. Add a few flowering annuals like Begonias or Impatients throughout. Finally, if you’re looking to add additional ground cover that stays throughout the year and loves shade, Ajuga also known as Bugleweed is a great choice – this ground cover puts up bright blue plumes in the spring and keeps its evergreen leaves throughout the fall and winter.

Patios: Unfortunately, there are rare cases where absolutely nothing will grow because of very deep shade not permitting any light to seep through. In rare cases that this, I recommend laying a patio, which can provide shaded seating. If you can run a light fixture to the area, you have an opportunity to create a dramatic look in the evening by spotlighting a fountain or sculpture.

Question of the Week: Are there any plantings or natural outdoor alternatives to keep bugs and mosquitos from taking over my yard and garden?

Washington D.C. is essentially a swamp, which means we are home to a lot of bugs and mosquitos. There are ways to keep the mosquitos and bugs at bay so that you can enjoy your patio, deck, and yard this summer. The key is to eliminate standing water and spread mulch. Standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitos that can potentially carry the West Nile Virus. If you have a water feature drain it regularly and make sure to run it daily. Mulching is also a great way to dry up areas that are breeding grounds for mosquitos and bugs. You also can tuck citronella plants, marigolds, and catnip into your garden, which mosquitos seem to dislike. Herbs like rosemary, basil, lemongrass are also known to repel mosquitos.

Got a landscaping question?  Send it my way: mailto:PatchQuestions@GreenerSideLLC.com

Happy Planting!

Aaron Gorski

Owner, The Greener Side Lawn & Landscaping, LLC

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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