Shade gardening

Shade, due to trees or buildings, is an almost inevitable part of gardens and gardening. Understanding that plants respond differently to shade and that a wide range of shade situations are likely to be encountered is invaluable in planning and planting a garden.

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Shady walkway at Barnsley House, Gloucestershire

Quick facts

Buildings cast shade but without roots dry the soil to a lesser extent
Evergreen foliage is too dark for all but a few plants
Light varies with time of day – midday sun is strongest
Plants can detect shade by monitoring light composition
Plants respond to shade, to varying degrees, with avoidance and tolerance
Shade cast by trees is also associated with dry soil due to root action

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