The Q&A Archives: Shade Garden

Question: I have a very dry area next to my house that gets a few hours of sun per day. I would like to create a garden of perennials and small shrubs. Can you give me some suggestions for plants that could survive in this environment?

Answer: First you need to amend the soil so it isn't so inhospitable! I'd begin by getting a soil test done so you know what you're dealing with and what you need to add. Call the UCONN Ext. System in Norwich at (203)887-1608. They can give you information about soil tests.<br><br>Next, I'd start adding some organic matter like compost or aged manure to the soil as soon as it's warm enough to work. Organic matter helps dry soils retain water.<br><br>Some perennials that will take partial shade are: Astilbe, balloon flowers, bee balm, bellflower, bleeding hearts, daylilies, delphiniums, ferns of all kinds. A good ground cover would be periwinkle. <br><br>Shrubs include azaleas, rhododendrons, cotoneaster...there are many more. I would do some work on that soil before planting, however, to improve its water-holding capacity.

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