Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Shade

These lilies were moved to full sun. They are much more of a presence and have twice the number of buds.

Plants like to cast shade.

As a garden grows and changes, the quality of light changes. Small changes in the shade canopy can remarkably change the ability for nearby plants to thrive.

My garden is a mature one. Things that bloomed beautifully when they were once planted are now struggling to just survive. The good part of this is the weeds have a harder time to even germinate.

I have read somewhere that a 1% reduction in the shade canopy results in 10% more light reaching the ground. There is also this British study regarding full sunlight plants which receive up to a 25% reduction in sunlight do just as well as in full sunlight. It also state those plant in a nutrient poor soil benefit from some shade.

The fig leaf hollyhock is having a moment because I cut back hard the trumpet vine growing up the fence behind it.

Information like this needs to be more readily available for the home gardener.

One fallacy about plants and shade that I can attest to is that daylilies do well in full sun to part shade. Living next door to a daylily hybridizer and seeing his daylilies growing in optimum conditions: soil water, sunlight, and nutrients; I would say it is a mistake to consider growing daylilies in partial sun.

Keeping large shrubs cut back and trees strategically planted to provide shade for the gardener, but not the other plants is a challenge. Adding another shrub or tree, no matter how desired, is fraught with difficulties.