A Great Place to find All The Dirt on...

Shade Gardens

Articles on Web
Database Articles
Books to Buy
Books in Library

All of the items listed here have been reviewed and found relevant to your request for information on how to plant and care for a garden in a shady area in California. Articles and Websites on both annuals and perennials have been included. It is worth noting that there are many more resources out there - and if you do not find what you are looking for within these links, I recommend using the following search terms: landscape architecture, landscape design, landscape gardening, shade garden, shade gardens, planting design, garden design. These terms tended to provide results more directly applicable to your needs.

Good Luck with your garden!


Garden Guides Tips & Techniques for Gardening in the Shade - provides an extensive list of annuals and perennials for shade gardens. The article also references soil composition and amounts of water needed for shaded areas. It also references color schemes, and how lighter plants and flowers stand out better in a shady area.
Better Homes & Gardens A search of "shade garden" results in 247 stories; the first few include "Beginner Garden for Shade" - addressing types of plants, layouts, and soil composition needed to ensure a healthy shade garden. (NOTE: full article was available when linked through www.lii.org, however, upon return, was unable to view article without signing up as a bhg.com member). I recommend you try to access this page, but if unable to view article, proceed to the next in the list.
Garden Web A search of "shade" in this question and answer forum produced 17 questions and links to discussions concerning what can be planted (in urban shade, dry shade, heavy shade, etc.). While the site itself is reviewed (www.lii.org), the comments within each grouping are not authoritative. That said, some of the comments and discussions provide some excellent insight into the care and planting of shade gardens (including those in urban settings).
Garden Centers A great article on perennials for a shade garden. The bulk of this article is simply a list of perennials - including asterisked plants that tolerate deep shade. NOTE: over the course of the last two months, this link has come up "dead" about 50% of the time, I recommend you continue to try to access it (it was live again as of November 21st) because the information provided is worthwhile.

Articles on the Web

Gardening in the Shade An article by Deborah Brown (University of Minnesota) about Gardening in the Shade, 2005. This article addresses annuals, bulbs, perennials, and herbs and vegetables. It also addresses light and soil composition and provides insight into the planning of the garden. Well-written and easily understandable - even for "brown-thumbs" like me!
Selecting annual plants for shady areas This article by Steve Cramer focuses on ground cover for shady areas, but addresses the benefits of impatiens and begonias also. While the article focuses on shade gardens in Colorado, a number of recommendations cross state lines and the ground cover suggestions could easily be used in California.

Articles and Magazines ONLINE (SJSU Student Access Required)

Made for the shade

Gustafson, Steven. Landscape Management, Apr98, Vol. 37 Issue 4, p41, 1p, 1c; (AN 543116)

This article provides a list of (and discussion about) six annuals which provide dependable color and performance in areas blanketed by shade.

Brunnera macrophylla

Conlon, Hubert P.. American Nurseryman, 7/15/2005, Vol. 202 Issue 2, p66-66, 1p; (AN 17570258)

Reports on the significant improvements in Brunnera macrophylla that have transformed the underutilized, spring-flowering perennial into a lovely summer foliage plant for the shade garden. Physical descriptions of the Brunnera macrophylla; Availability of the variegated forms through tissue culture; Common cause of the foliar injury observed on macrophylla.

Annuals light up shady areas

Price, Sallie. Grounds Maintenance, Nov2000, Vol. 35 Issue 11, p12, 3p, 4c; (AN 3884612)

Focuses on the qualities and varieties of plants that thrive in the shade. Degree of shade, soil moisture and soil pH affecting the survival of the plants; Importance of analyzing the plants' natural needs before its introduction in new shade gardens; Plants tolerant of shade includes vine maple, alders, hollies, hazels and barberry.

Shade Gardens Sorin, Fran. Woman's Day, 07/17/2001, Vol. 64 Issue 12, p102, 2p, 10c; (AN 4755628)
The Natural Shade Garden (Book) Yang, Linda. New York Times Book Review, 5/31/92, Vol. 141 Issue 48983, p31, 1/7p; (AN 10484376)
Sure-fire flowers for shady spots Roth, S.A.. Organic Gardening (1978), Apr92, Vol. 39 Issue 4, p66, 5p, 2 charts, 7c; (AN 9204060994)

Books - Available for Purchase

Gardening in Small Spaces : Creative Ideas from America's Best Gardeners This 2002 book provides information about all types of gardens; a search-inside-this-book for "shade" found 27 pages; the discussions on those pages indicated shade gardens would be addressed in depth.
Making the Most of Shade : How to Plan, Plant, and Grow a Fabulous Garden that Lightens up the Shadows

This 2005 book (reviewed by Booklist) provides information about Shade Gardening. I did not have access to this book, but the recommendation speaks for itself:

"Sharing his considerable expertise throughout this comprehensive guide, Hodgson entertainingly educates both novice and seasoned gardeners about the myriad merits of shade gardening. From cultural considerations to design decisions, Hodgson covers those relevant topics necessary to transform dark garden corners into radiant exhibitions of texture and color."


Books and Magazines Available @ Your Library

The California landscape garden: ecology, culture, and design Mark Francis, Andreas Reimann. Berkeley, Calif. : University of California Press, c1999.
Planting the landscape: a professional approach to garden design

Nancy A. Leszczynski. New York ; Chichester : John Wiley & Sons, c1999.

Garden Design This Quarterly Periodical is available at the Willow Branch Library

Software for Landscape Architecture (3-D)

http://www.gardencomposer.com/ The 2005 version of this software runs $39.95, but the 2004 version is available for $19.95 (through the Order section of the website). This software allows you to create a garden in 3-D, but also provides many additional features, including an extensive lists of plants and their descriptions. There is an extensive DEMO detailing the many aspects of the software.

This software company provides all aspects of Architecture and Landscape design. The one product, Master Landscape and Home Design, includes a 3D Landscape Design feature. The software runs $49.95

http://www.sketchup.com/ This software includes a 3-D nature sketch up library. While reviewed by zd.net and c-net.com, it is probably the least robust of the software listed here. It is also the only available for a free, 30-day trial (I recommend you uncheck all of the "spam" boxes when requesting the 30-day trial).
Landscape Vision This software runs $49.95 but is available for $39.95 through November 21, 2005. A nice feature of this 3-D landscape design software is that it provides a "plant bio" screen, indicating pertinent and necessary information about the plant and its placement in a yard. This software was also reviewed by zd.net and c-net.com.