There are times gardeners want to begin a new garden but do not have the best of locations to begin digging. Perhaps the only choice is at the foot of a tall board fence and the sun is on the other side. The perfect location for a small Koh Samui inspired garden is blocked by a tall evergreen tree. Walking to the garage there is a space between the sidewalk and the garage wall, but the area is shaded all day.
What is Full Shade?
There are many descriptions and degrees of shade. The terms used most often are partial shade, filtered shade and full shade. Full shade is the location receiving the least direct light. Locations in your yard that receive only indirect light are still possibilities for an ornamental garden. If an artist can choose a northern exposure for best light and produce masterpieces, why not a gardener? It is only a matter of choosing the right pallet for you work of art.
Full Shade Perennials
Perennials plants are those that die back to the soil line in winter, but the roots survive below ground. Come spring the roots revives as the soil warms and send up new growth. A plant that returns two or more consecutive seasons is referred to as perennial. I am a big believer in using only perennial plants for they only grow better as they age. Each year as they return in spring they become larger and offer more blooms. Also one does not have to replace them each year. The first year a perennials is transplanted it mostly sleeps. Second year it kind of creeps along in growth. The third year it leaps into action. So, a bit of patience is required when first transplanting new perennials.
The choices may be a bit fewer than for a partial-shade or filtered-shade garden, but a showy ornamental garden is possible. Mother Nature does not allow space to go to waste and has selected out specific plants that will take advantage of a heavily shaded area. In turn we humans have selected out the most attractive to our eyes over the millennia to create gardens in difficult places. Gardeners over the centuries have not given up and neither should you.