The Q&A Archives: Planning Shade

Question: I have a section of my front yard that is 8ft deep and 14ftwide it is backed by a hugh cedar tree and a rose bush and one side by a 4 ft hedge. The front is the sidewalk. This section gets morning sun .I would like to make it a perennial flower garden with as many aromatic plants as possible. My question What plants should I use and their placement. This section faces almost North.

Answer: Based on your description I am having a bit of a difficult time envisioning it all, but if the area is shady and there is also root competition from a tree and a hedge and they overhang the area and block the rain then you will need to select plants that can tolerate dry shade. These would include things like hosta, pulmonaria and epimedium as well as vinca minor and perhaps some specialty ivies. Unfortunately, none of these is particularly scented with the exception of some hostas which have fragrant blooms. You might be able to remedy this by growing scented plants in containers and rotating them through the area in succession so that they spend a week or so in the shade and then are moved back to the sunnier area they prefer. This can be fun to work out and opens many more possibilities.

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