The Q&A Archives: Planting Around a Shady Deck

Question: I am a first time gardener. I have a variety of special places in my garden. However the people that lived in this house did not keep up the beds, so I have a long hard job ahead of me. I have an area next to my deck that only gets sun in the late afternoon. I figure that this would make a lovely place to read a book on a hot summer day. I would like to make it an attractive, warm and welcome place to sit and de-stress. I love roses but have learned that most need more sun than I can provide in thisarea. Have any suggestions? I also would like to hide the unsightliness of the ground under the deck without putting a formal structure ie: lattice. I don't have a huge cash flow and would like to make this area attractive since it overlooks the deckand is barren at this time. I would like to use mostly perennials so that the cost will diminish as my plants grow in size. I am up for any color combination, although blue is my favorite color. Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you shortly. Elise Diamond East Meadow, NY

Answer: Since the area beside your deck only gets sun in the late afternoon, you can experiment with plants that prefer partial shade. Try herbaceous perennials such as astilbe, Mertensia (blue flowers), columbine, and brunnera (blue flowers), and shrubs- Clethra, Boxwood (smells great!), and Mountain Laurel. Be sure to include some shrubs because they will give your garden structure. The area under your deck will only be appropriate for plants that tolerate full shade-Ivy is a good choice. Ask your local nursery for more ideas.

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