Multi-season interest. For some reason, it seems like that phrase has become passe over the past few years. But it’s crazy to design a garden without incorporating plants that offer more than one season of interest, especially if you’re designing a small … Continue reading
Dry shade. Two words that strike fear into the heart of many gardeners. Let’s face it, when many gardeners imagine a luxurious shade garden, full of sumptuous foliage plants, they are typically thinking about a shade garden with moist, or even wet soil. But a cruel truth of gardening is that many of us struggle with a combination of the two most difficult growing conditions – lack of light and dry soil – combined into one unforgiving site. Finding plants that thrive in dry shade is often a difficult task. Until now.
Planting the Dry Shade Garden by noted author Graham Rice is a much-needed resource for gardeners who are struggling with dry shade. A comprehensive look at the topic, Rice’s book begins with an overview of degrees of shade in the garden. He looks extensively at the shade created by trees and offers a list of the types of shade found under a variety of trees – from the light shade under paperbark maples (Acer griseum) to the dense shade found under hornbeams (Carpinus betulus). He then discusses ways to reduce the shade in your garden to offer a wider array of plant options.
But the heart of Planting the Dry Shade Garden is the profile of over 130 different shrubs, vines, perennials, bulbs and annuals that will add interest and excitement to your dry shade sites. Each plant profile offers several pictures and Rice also lists recommended cultivars. I was pleased to find out that some shade plants I had assumed would not survive in dry shade will, such as bear’s breeches (Acanthus mollis). Apparently the dry shade keeps some traditional shade garden thugs in check.
If you are battling dry shade in your garden, do yourself a favor and check out Planting the Dry Shade Garden. You won’t be sorry.
Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Timber Press, for the express purpose of reviewing it.