How to Create an Easy, Colorful Shade Garden - Hostas, Impatiens and Periwinkle
Gardening has been a passion of mine since I was 11 years old when a neighbor gave me her extra annuals to plant in my yard. I set those few marigolds in a sunny spot, and they quickly burst into color, giving me the impression that I had a natural green thumb. It was pretty disappointing the next year though when I tried to bring that brilliant yellow color to a shady part of my parents' backyard. I learned the hard way that not all plants work in all situations. Over the years, through trial and error, I gained the knowledge needed to get great gardening results in all kinds of conditions - from extreme sun to intense shade - and with very little effort. I found the easiest way to fill a dark spot in your garden is to find one perennial, one annual, and/or one ground cover to keep that shady area looking colorful, bright and lush from Spring through Fall. Here are my top three picks to fill a shady spot in your garden:
This was the first shade-loving plant I ever worked with and had amazing success. It's a hearty perennial that never fails to deliver lush foliage that comes in several shades of green. Some varieties are even striated with pale yellow or white stripes which can really lighten up a shady area of your yard. In late summer, hostas produce delicate pale purple flowers - a welcome bit of color as autumn approaches. Fluffy hostas are also the perfect choice to plant near rocks, decks and fences because they tend to soften the look of hard edges. Hostas get fuller year after year and can easily be divided and replanted, which can also save you money! These no-fail plants are a must for shady gardens.
I learned quickly that this is the most colorful flower available for shade gardens. This cheery annual is a fast bloomer that expands quickly and provides vivid color throughout the spring and summer. Impatiens thrive in shade and come in variety of hues - red, white, pink, salmon, and peach - and all they really need is water. Impatiens are THE choice when you want to add color to a shady area of your yard. Choose a tone that compliments the color of your house or echos some of the hues in other parts of your yard. If the spot is really dark, I like to plant white impatiens - the brightness really draws the eye to an area that might otherwise be overlooked.
This was the first plant I ever ordered from a catalog. In most parts of the country, this easy-to-grow flowering groundcover thrives in shade. Periwinkle provides tiny blue, white or pink blooms in the spring, and a dense carpet of green throughout the summer months. This low-maintenance plant spreads and becomes fuller with every year making it the perfect option for those on a budget who want a luxurious, rich looking garden.
A Great Resource
This book has a lot of great ideas for your shady garden areas. And the gorgeous photos are a great inspiration!
Give It a Try!
Hosta, impatiens and periwinkle are all easy to maintain -- just give them a lot of water in the beginning to help establish the roots. Then sit back and admire their beauty! Any one of these plants, or a combination of all three, can bring color, light and life to a dark area in your yard and make it easy to have a beautiful shade garden!