The dark side of your garden: Shaded plants, garden pests and the composter

In celebration of the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, here at Floral and Hardy, we’re delving into the dark side of your garden.

As we disappear into the depths of your garden, we’ll investigate shaded plants and how to keep them, as well as how to minimise garden pests (without harmful chemicals and pesticides, of course!). We’ll also look at how to create an environmentally-friendly composter and some tips when it comes to composting.

So, let’s go, time to turn to the dark side…

Shade plants

While most plants thrive in sunlit areas, there are, of course, a number of plants that survive better in the shade.

Types of shade:

As well as different types of shade plants, shade itself varies in variety. Types of shade include: Deep shade, moderate shade, light shade, partial shade and dappled shade.

Light shade is, ultimately, where plants are screened from direct sunlight, partial shade is where plants are in the sun for some of the day and dappled shade is essentially the blotchy shade, perhaps where sunlight has filtered through some plants, trees or foliage. Moderate shade is an area that receives 2 to 3 hours of sunlight each day, and deep heavy shade is essentially a garden area under heavy tree cover.

Since we’re examining the dark side of your garden, we’re looking at the plants that thrive in dense and deep shade.

There are a number of plants, fruit and vegetables that can be grown in the shade. These include:

  • Kale
  • Chard
  • Redcurrants
  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Plums
  • Beetroot
  • Carrots
  • Runner beans
  • Raspberries
  • Blackcurrants
  • Rhubarb

Deep shade plants include:

Some of the plants that can survive in the darkest space and deepest shade in your garden are fairly limited. They include:

Silk tassel ‘James Roof’

A bushy, evergreen shrub that is hardy and vigorous. The leaves on this plant are leathery and the flowers are male catkins that grow up to 20cm.

Hall’s Japanese honeysuckle

The Hall’s Japanese Honeysuckle plant can be a shrub or climber and have a fragrant smell. They are often followed by berries when they grow.

Other deep shade plants are: Hedera helix ‘Oro di Bogliasco’, Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris and Pyracantha ‘Orange Glow’.

How to best look after shade plants

Make sure that the plant you’re choosing for the shaded area of your garden works well with the type of soil you have, for example, clay or sand.

What’s more, if you opt for a climbing shading plant, it will need early pruning to make sure it does indeed grow into a successful climber.

Garden Pests

While we don’t want garden pests out in the garden, destroying all our plants, we also don’t want to shower them and our plants with harmful chemicals.

A few ways in which we can deter pests are by:

Keeping your soil healthy

You can keep your soil healthy by aiming to keep it undisturbed as much as possible, you can also rotate plants at a suitable time of year and also add mulch to your soil. This can help prevent issues with your soil.

Encouraging natural predators

By encouraging a diverse growth of plants, you can encourage a wide range of insects and animals, which will ultimately include some predators of your pests!

Using horticultural oils

Natural oils sprayed on plants can also deter pests. Try fennel for slugs and snails, lavender for flies or basil for horseflies.

The Composter

And the final dark element of the garden? The Composter!

Many councils, of course, allow you to purchase a composter for a low price to encourage the reusing of waste from the garden. You can also make your own using slats or a wired frame.

Some tips for successful composting are as follows:

  1. Activate your compost by adding an activator substance (you will probably be able to purchase this from your local garden centre).
  2. Turn your compost from time to time.
  3. Separate grass clippings and wet leaves.
  4. If you compost fruit and vegetables, cover them with grass clippings to avoid fruit flies and other wildlife.
  5. Move your compost bin every now and again so different areas benefit from the nutrient rich soil.

Hope you have enjoyed your time on the dark side! And in the word of Star Wars…

May the (ground!) force be with you!

 

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