The Q&A Archives: Achieving a Natural Forest Look

Question: Our new house is surrounded by shade. I want to be able to have a flowering "natural forest look" for my gardening. With my inexperience in gardening I do not know what to plant or where. Can you help a potential gardener in distress? Kristin Keilt Rosemont, PA

Answer: You want to plant a woodland garden! Any plant that likes moisture and sun in the spring but tolerates low levels of light and drier soil in the summer is appropriate! Start by clearing out the underbrush and removing trees made spindley by crowding. You might want to remove some of the lower branches of some of the larger trees to let in more light. Lay down a 6 inch layer of compost which will need replenishing as the tree roots make their way into it. Spring bulbs will do well since they will bloom before the leaves come out. Ferns are great as well as these: Anemone virginiana (thimbleweed), geranium maculatum, epimedium, polemonium, viola, etc. Ask your local nursery for more ideas.

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