How to improve dark dingy corners of your garden – what to buy and plant to create an oasis?

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Ah, shady gardens. It’s probably what I’m most constantly asked about. Unless your grow space is a rooftop terrace, or has no physical boundaries at all, there will be some corners that don’t see much light. If you live in a city, or in a garden on an overlook balcony or in a basement level garden, you will struggle with light most of the day. But you don’t have to compete for plants.

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Before getting a garden last summer, I grew up on a shady woodland balcony. For my first six months it was a daunting, squirrel-infested dead zone. Then I started planting things that didn’t need a lot of light, and it became a green oasis.

Once you step into the world of shade-loving plants, you’ll wonder why people didn’t tell you about it before. They are gardening’s best kept secret: tolerant, beautiful and with, I think, an air of effortless class. A good shade garden can be transporting, the kind of thing that can take you into the forests of New Zealand or Japan.

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They are also often easier to care for. Well-established shade pockets stay lush with less water than an exposed south-facing bed. They also stay green much more of the year. The trick is to largely abandon the idea of ​​flowers and enter the realm of textural foliage instead.

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