Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Have a Shady Garden? You Must Read This Book!

I just came back from a week's holiday yesterday, and I am already missing my garden! When I bought my house two years ago it needed a TON of work as it had been sitting empty for about ten years. I did the essentials first of course, like having the burst pipes fixed and updating the electrical systems, but what I REALLY wanted to do first was to tackle the overgrown backyard. It was hard to know where to begin: the lawn consisted of thousands of tiny saplings mixed in with foot-tall weeds, and there were no flowerbeds to speak of. After hours of roto-tilling, the lawn was ready for seeding and I had plotted out huge curving flower beds along both sides of the yard. However, with the majority of the yard in partial to deep shade, I was at a bit of a loss to find enough plants to fill in the beds beyond hostas and impatients. Looking for inspiration, I turned to the book Making the Most of Shade by Quebec author Larry Hodgson.

This book has been enormously helpful to me, and I am constantly referring to it. It has everything from how to use a newspaper barrier to help keep weeds at bay in a new flowerbed to five sample shade garden design plans that help you create an instant garden. My favourite sections of the book are the A-Z encyclopedias of the best perennials, annuals, bulbs, ferns, grasses and climbing plants for shade. Each plant is featured in a two-page spread, with a close up colour photo, growing tips, problems and solutions, top performing species, bloom time and more. Every plant that I've put in that Hodgson has recommended has thrived in my yard. With lots of room still for new additions to my garden, this book is going to be accompanying me to nursery for the years to come!

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