Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.
Sunday, June 10, 2012
5 Reasons To Make Your Own Shade
Do you have time to wait for trees to grow? No matter how old you are, I say, yes. If you like shade, go ahead and plant a tree ... or ten! Trees grow while you're sleeping, while you're at work, while you're raising your children, while you're cleaning the house, while you're gardening. Put them in the ground and a few years down the road you'll be glad you did it!
If I had known 20 years ago when I planted four live oaks and two drake elms in my back yard how much I was going to LOVE shade-gardening I probably would have planted a forest of them.
Each oak tree started out no taller than me and hardly 1.5" in diameter. Currently the canopy from those oaks is high and shifting sunlight peeks through the limbs from every angle at all times of the day.
As the day progresses, and the sun moves from east to west, a good deal of light floods in under the edges of the canopy. The trees have grown so tall. More light around the perimeter allows for options like Brugmansia, oakleaf hydrangia (Hydrangea quercifolia), sweet almond bush (Aloysia virgata), variegated shell gingers (Alpinia zerumbet), bromeliads, irises, ferns, begonias (and many more) ... all plants that prefer part sun but not full sun or total shade.
Photos like this one remind me of a time when every square inch of the space shown here was lawn. As a matter of fact, almost the entire back garden was lawn before I planted the trees. It never fails to amaze me. To think ~~ my very own little hands have planted every single plant visible in these pictures.
Gradually. Lovingly. Passionately. Every single plant.
Shade gardening is so much easier than full sun gardening. Of course that's just my opinion.
I have my reasons for making such a claim.
Here are my top 5:
1) Tree cover helps hold the moisture in the soil which means my shade plants don't require nearly the amount of water that full sun areas do.
2) The umbrella of outstretched limbs from trees protect plants from scorching, intense sunlight; in winter that umbrella acts like a blanket to keep the more tender varieties from frost-bite. Shade keeps me cooler, too. No matter how hot and humid it is or the time of day~ I can garden in the shade.
3) Less weeds. I don't know about you but weeds in the sunny areas are a constant battle. In the shady areas the percentage of weeds is greatly reduced. Weeds are very manageable in the shade.
4) Shade is peaceful. Walk from a sunny, bright spot in the garden to a shaded area and relief is the first thing noticed. Beyond relief is the pleasant shift to a restful, tranquil environment even in the midday hours.
5) The varieties of plants to choose for a shade garden is endless. Colorful, textural Florida-Friendly plants mixed with natives and fun tropicals neighbor well together in happy masses creating an easy-care environment.
Go ahead and plant a tree if you wish you had more shade.
Did I leave out any great reasons why shade-gardening is the BEST!?
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