Bright Ideas for Shady Spaces
Book Review by Lorraine Hunter
In her book, Glorious Shade: Dazzling plants, design ideas, and proven techniques for your shady garden, Jenny Rose Carey has given me a new way to look at my own shady garden.
“Rather than stress over your shady spaces, it is time to celebrate them and revel in the benefits that a glorious shade garden will bring to your life,” she writes; a major benefit being “a cool, soothing place to relax.”
With the right plant knowledge, you can learn to embrace shade as an opportunity instead of an obstacle, says Jenny Rose. This beautifully illustrated book is more than a picture book, however. It’s a practical guide to everything a gardener needs to know about shade gardening. It tells you how to determine what kind, or kinds, of shade you have—full, part, edge, dappled, bright, morning or afternoon—and how to choose the right plants for every space. As she writes “The key to successful shade gardens is being aware of the changing daily and seasonal shade patterns—once you understand this you can make good plant choices.”
She offers practical maintenance tips, a handy seasonal calender for what blooms when, inspiring design ideas as well as a great plant list with photos of plants that thrive in the shade. And, she tells you how to use the plant palette to your best advantage including plant combinations, native plant suggestions, trees and shrubs, annuals and perennials. She also suggests ways of dealing with various pests like slugs and snails that seem to love damp, shady spaces.
A seasoned gardener, educator, historian and author, Jenny Rose knows her plants including those for every season and every kind of shade. Director at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Meadowbrook Farm in Jenkintown, PA, she has gardened in England and the United States and her book is full of inspiring photos of shade gardens in both countries, almost all taken by her. Her own garden, Northview, has been featured on the PBS series The Victory Garden, in the Wall Street Journal, the Philadelphia Inquirer and more.
This is a well-organized reference book full of bright ideas for shady spaces. I know I will be putting a few of them to the test this summer, such as using tropicals in containers that I can move around to add pops of vivid colour and lush texture and diving hostas and ferns at the right time to provide more shade-loving perennials throughout my shady garden.
Lorraine Hunter is editor of Trellis, the magazine of the Toronto Botanical Garden