Moving From Sun to Shade? No Problem!

No matter what growing zone you live in, one thing’s for sure: Your garden will change over time. If you buy a house in a new subdivision, your young trees will grow large and block direct sunlight one day. And what if you lose a tree and suddenly find yourself bathed in bright light? Should you plant full-sun flowers and shrubs and then move them when they stop thriving in part-shade, or wait until you have mature trees before planning your garden? Here are some ideas for your garden in transition.

Choose plants that will grow in both sun and shade
There are many varieties that thrive whether they’re in partial shade or dappled sunlight. For example, foxgloves are tough and they will blossom again after you deadhead them! Plus, they seed if you leave the blooms in place, resulting in more plants! Heuchera also re-blooms when you cut its flowers, and it’s a cinch to divide in early spring. Hardy geraniums can tolerate everything from full sun to full shade, and Jacob’s Ladder, with its stunning blue flowers also works in both sun and shade. Bonus: its lovely foliage looks great even when it’s not blossoming. Lady’s Mantle, a low-maintenance fave, spreads over time and handles both sun and shade.

Lose a tree, gain an opportunity
You certainly don’t want to shock your shade-loving plants just because a tree is removed or knocked down in a storm. But a sudden change in sun exposure can shock even the hardiest plant – turning them yellow or burning their foliage. The good news is, there are varieties that will weather the transition: pansies, salvia, verbena and Renga Lilies, for example, can handle full-sun. Others, like ferns and hostas, can easily be moved to sheltered spots in your yard.

Gardens find a way to adapt
Consider adding some pergolas or other structures that can shelter some of your more delicate plants, as they adjust to different amounts of sun. And take advantage of new light to see your garden with fresh eyes: Maybe your dining area will work better on the other side of the yard. Or perhaps the corner where your towering tree once stood is now perfect for a pond with fish or a waterfall? Instead of worrying about how your flowerbeds will weather, get creative with new combinations: More sun could mean it’s finally time to plant that vegetable patch you’ve been longing for! And a shadier area could be ideal for a reading nook with comfy chairs and a fire pit.

Share how your garden has changed over the years!


Garden with path: Photo Credit: flowercat Flickr via Compfight cc

Backyard with parasol:

Heuchera: Photo Credit: douneika Flickr via Compfight cc

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