Shade Garden - Knowledgebase Question

niantic, CT
Question by rneff
March 16, 1998
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?


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Answer from NGA
March 16, 1998

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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.

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.

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.

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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