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A wide choice of speciesUnder a tree or in a sunless courtyard where the shade is permanent, it is better to orient yourself towards species originating in the undergrowth and used to the absence of light. This is particularly the case with ferns ideal for filling the darkest places and which remain green all year round, hostas, ivy or even periwinkles as ground cover, primroses, violets, spurge or acanthus which flowers all summer. In order to avoid too much uniformity and to brighten up a dark corner, we will try to diversify the shapes and colors of the foliage. The Japanese maple with its purple coat, the orange tree of Mexico, the heart of Mary or the rhododendron and of course the hydrangea will give colors to the decor. If you want to plant under a tree, give preference to species that bloom at the very beginning of spring in order to anticipate the appearance of the leaves of the trees. The plants can flourish before being completely sheltered by the abundant foliage. This is particularly the case for spring bulbs, which bloom in March / April.
Hydrangea (credit: bohnenkampj - Fotolia.com) Partial shade there is a wide choice from aster to columbine, from Japanese anemone to camellia ... In order to decorate a wall with honeysuckle and clematis. The bamboos will also flourish wonderfully, just like the boxwoods which structure the beds and display their always very elegant silhouettes. We will preferably choose leaves that light up the garden (golden, variegated) and we will play on colors, from white to pastel shades, to apple green, which will illuminate the shaded place but also on the different varieties. Thus the fern is adorned with different shades, offering textures that blend with each other. Planted en masse, it dresses a garden square without monotony. Perennial summer flowering heucheres present a great diversity of colors and give shimmering colors to the winter massif thanks to a persistent foliage… It's up to you! And on the ground the white flowers of the bellflowers counter all received ideas. And yes, a garden in the shade can offer a beautiful flowering.
Camélia (credit: Jean-François Mahé)
On a shaded balconyPerfect in pots or planters, begonias will bring color to the terrace and the balcony, shaded or exposed to the North. Fuchsia with very diverse foliage, impatiens, acer or pieris which flowers for a very long time will also brighten up your planters. We will of course find hydrangeas, hostas that are good in pots, astilbes from Japan, rhododendrons and of course bamboos and boxwood, essential! Hanging plants like ajuga will marry climbing plants like honeysuckle. And why not treat yourself to the legendary Nordmann tree?
Begonia (credit: Willemse France) In any case, avoid excess water because in the shade there is less evaporation. For this, choose containers made of porous materials (terracotta, wood). And in order to increase the brightness you can play with the colors of the paving, walls, pots. You can also install mirrors, steel or zinc containers that reflect light. Even if the sun is discreet, a balcony can benefit from the reflective effect of the surrounding buildings and windows. Choose plants of good size, because they will grow less quickly than in the sun. Compensate by adding fertilizer to your soil to encourage growth and flowering. Finally, prune the stems of the plants which could increase the shade while lengthening. With a little common sense, sound advice and a few tips, the shadow can be an ally. Stop misconceptions!