If you are thinking about planting a shade garden in your Houston, Texas backyard, take the time to think about and plan out what you really want. A shade garden can be a lovely focal point of your yard, and a charming place to relax and escape the heat. Here are a few guidelines and tips to get you on your way to creating a lovely shade garden in your Houston, Texas backyard.
Define your shade. This may sound silly but there are various degrees of shade and you should think about what you would like in your garden. Dappled, partial , afternoon or deep in the woods? This decision will guide you in where to plant your Houston, Texas shade garden (if under existing trees) and what types of trees you may need to additionally plant. This will also affect what type of plants you will have, since some thrive in full, bright, or partial shade, etc. As a general rule, “full shade” means four hours of sunlight or less every day, and “partial shade” is four to six hours.
Examine your soil. If you are planning your Houston, Texas shade garden under existing trees, look at their roots to see if you will even be able to dig a garden beneath them. Test the pH of the soil, as most plants and flowers that do well in shade also do well in acidic soil (meaning you want a reading of less than seven). If you need to increase the acidity of your soil, try adding aluminum sulfate or sulfur (your local Houston, Texas garden center should have these.) I prefer aluminum sulfate because it changes the pH immediately (sulfur needs time to work.) Ask the staff at the garden center to help you determine the proper amount you need, since you don’t want to overapply either of these. If you get either substance on existing plants in your Houston, Texas garden, wash it off so the leaves don’t burn.
Plan your plants. It’s fine to just purchase plants that like shade and place them in your Houston, Texas yard under some trees, but if you put a little planning into it you can have a breathtaking shade garden. Are you looking for gorgeous flowers, interesting groundcovers, textured leaves or a little of everything? Browse galleries of Houston, Texas shade gardens to get some ideas. I like to mix annuals and perennials, since annuals give you a chance to change things up and perennials give you a lovely base to work from. For annuals, try pansies, impatiens and begonias. Perennials that will do well in these Houston, Texas gardens include bee balm, wedelia and cedar sage. Go Buchanan’s Native Plants for great tips and ideas, plus a great selection of plants.
Now get busy planting and send me some pictures!