As a gardener, finding the right balance between sun and shade can be difficult. While it is true that most plants in both my vegetable and cut flower gardens prefer full sun, many benefit from shade during the hottest portion of the day. Over the years, I have found the addition of part shade to be especially beneficial to many of the more delicate flower types that I commonly use in arrangements for the house. I frequently find myself seeking refuge in the shadiest corner of my yard, as well, in hopes of beating the summer heat.
I was recently asked by the Gardening Know How editor to describe my perfect landscape; to describe something that I had always wanted in my yard, but currently don’t have. Immediately, I knew what my answer would be – shade!
Having always lived in a densely populated area, it became commonplace to watch as mature shade trees were cut down to make room for new houses, apartments, and the development of shopping centers. With each tree that my neighbors removed, my own yard became hotter and hotter during the summer. Soon, I found that it was nearly impossible to spend any time outside in the afternoon.
It wasn’t until I planted a small fruit tree in the corner of my garden that I began to explore the option of adding shade trees to my space. However, I soon found that there were many limitations. The most notable of these was obviously size. Maintaining a small garden can already be quite challenging, and it quickly became obvious that my dream of abundant shade was simply not viable.
Dreaming of Shade
I have long enjoyed meandering through parks, forests, and nearly any other type of hiking trail that I could find. Without a doubt, there is something about being immersed in nature that allows me to relax and immediately let go of any stress or anxiety. With the scent of moist soil and pine needles beneath my feet, the gardener within me can only hope to one day craft a shady garden oasis of my own, in which I am able to enjoy and to entertain friends and family. Though I will continue to search for a small, fast growing shade tree for my tiny backyard; I can’t help but dream of a large landscape filled with cool and refreshing dappled sunlight.