The Shadowy Side of Gardening

Areas that get full or nearly full sunlight are the coral reefs of the gardening world they’re the places where the most dramatic colors appear and the greatest variety of life thrives. They’re the main attraction, the stars of the show. Everyone loves a sunny garden.

Shade gardens are different. The beauty you find there tends to be more subtle; it’s in the variety of textures and hues, rather than bright pops of color. But they can be beautiful nonetheless, and when you find yourself on a hot August afternoon in Illinois, you’ll grow a real appreciation for them.


Start by taking a closer look at the environment you’re working with and selecting plants accordingly. The ideal spot for a shade garden is an east-facing area that gets about 4-6 hours of direct natural light per day, mostly softer morning light. These spots are great for shade-loving plants like hostas, ferns, hellebore, hydrangea, astilbe and caladium, which you can find at Wannemaker’s.

Like their sunny counterparts, the beauty of a shade garden is in its variety. However, shade-loving plants tend to come in cooler, more subtle tones, so you’ll need to get creative. Try building layers in your garden by using a variety of trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals. Mix things up with different heights, textures and colors. You can also brighten up your garden with warm-hued accessories, like a set of golden chairs.

What about caring for your shade garden? And what do you do with areas that get NO sunlight? Wannemaker’s team can answer all your questions and help you find the plants, tools and accessories you need. Visit us in-store today—and remember, don’t throw shade at shade gardens!