06:57AM | 08/15/01
Member Since: 08/11/01
4 lifetime posts
I live in new york about 1 1/2 hours from new york city - it gets very cold here and we get a lot of snow. Our backyard is all shaded and our house does not have any foundation plants around it. I would like to add some plants but I do not know what kind to add. The nurseries say there is not much to add other than hostas. Is there something I can do?
thank you

Jay J

08:52AM | 08/15/01
Member Since: 10/26/00
782 lifetime posts
Hi lin,

For me (and I'm no expert), it's hard to say what you should do. HOWEVER, a visit to a local library or to your local Horticulture Society should help. Read around and ask around for guidance.

Look around your neighborhood for homes that have the vegetation (growing in shade) that you'd like to plant yourself. If there's a day that you see someone outside, go and ask them what it is that's growing. (Of course, introduce yourself and tell them where you live and what you're trying to do.) If they don't know what it is they have growing, go back to your car and get your camera. (Initially, I'd leave the camera in the car in case the homeowner knows what they have. Then, all you need is a pencil and paper; NOT the camera. Besides, if you bring it right up to them, it might 'spook' them.) Once you've identified what you've seen, then go 'look them up' at the library or Nursery. Be sure the plants you select are 'intended' for the environment you have around the house. Soil, light, temperature, and so on WILL make a difference.

I'd like to add one more thing. Be sure that whatever you plant, that you have a 'full size plan' on how large you want the plant to grow. For example, if you want it to grow 5' high where the 'base' of the plant is 3' across, then plan on keeping it at that height and width. In this example, you want to plant the plant 3.5' from the house. The diameter of the base of the plant is cut in half (where 3' / 2 = 1.5'), and you add 2' for distance to the foundation. In other words, cut (in half) the FULL size DIAMETER of the base of the plant (In this example, the full size diameter is 3' -> 1.5') THEN, add 2'. Hence, plant the plant 3.5' from the foundation.

The reasons you want about 2' from the foundation are few, but important. Sun: The 2' space will allow the sun (what little there might be since you're planing in the shade) to dry the ground. Air: The 2' space will allow air to dry the ground, and allow the air to CONTINUE moving around the house (unobstructed.) Working Room: The 2' space will allow you (and Maintenance People) to have some 'working room' on ALL sides of the plant.

All too often, homeowners plant trees, bushes, and plants TOO close to the foundation, and they let them grow 'wild'. In doing this, they 'invite' termites, mold, mildew, and other problems associated WITH THE ABSENCE of sun and air movement. And in your case with the absence of sun, you are already at risk of the aforementioned, and you haven't planted anything yet.

Have you considered a rock garden? Artificial plants too??? I'd stay away from anything that grows 'on the ground', like ivy. (It promotes dampness and certainly prevents airflow.) Try to stick w/plants that are 'lean' and grow kindof above the ground. Use the 2' Rule based on how large you'd like the plant to grow. Your research should help you in determining this info. (Pruning information is usually provided w/the plant information.)

My best to ya and hope this helps.

Jay J -Moderator

PS: Look into Dendrums ...

[This message has been edited by Jay J (edited August 15, 2001).]


02:57PM | 08/15/01
Member Since: 09/01/00
312 lifetime posts
There are plenty of shade loving plants available but you didn't mention if you're looking for perennials,annuals,or shrubs.Try another garden center and tell them to skip the Hosta routine (although you can't kill them and you can divide them every year).Snow is really not a factor since annuals are already dead by then,and shrubs and perennials go dormant till spring.Good Luck!


09:06AM | 10/12/01
Member Since: 01/16/01
71 lifetime posts
Hi Lin,

Have you thought of buying some garden planning software? I recently purchased a Sierra product that has a plant encyclopedia that one can search for plants that meet specified criteria. (e.g. shade, flower color, perennial)

You can even layout your garden and take it through the seasons and years to get a VERY rough idea of how your hard work will look in a few years.

Just a thought...



Post a reply as Anonymous

Photo must be in JPG, GIF or PNG format and less than 5MB.


type the code from the image


Post_new_button or Login_button

Making this trio of storage totes is simpler than you might think. Gold screw bolts and spray adhesive hold the fabric cov... Built on a rocky island in the Drina River, near the town of Bajina Basta, Serbia, this wooden house was cobbled together ... Large steel-framed windows flood the interior of this remodeled Michigan barn with daylight. The owners hired Northworks A... Edging formed with upside-down wine bottles is a refreshing change. Cleverly and artistically involving recycled materials... A Washington State couple called on BC&J Architects to transform their 400-square-foot boathouse into a hub for family bea... Similar to the elevated utensil concept, hanging your pots and pans from a ceiling-mounted rack keeps them nearby and easy... Few projects are more fun than upcycling a vintage piece in a surprising way. Outfitted with a sink and a delicately tiled... The thyme growing between these stepping stones adds a heady fragrance to strolls along this lush, low-maintenance garden ... Decoupage is an easy way to add any paper design to your switch plate, whether it is wallpaper, scrapbook paper, book page... Twine lanterns add pops of crafty—but sophisticated—flair to any outdoor setting. Wrap glue-soaked twine around a balloon ... When securely fastened to a tree or the ceiling of a porch, a pallet and some cushioning make the ideal place to lounge. V... Reluctant to throw away any of those unidentified keys in your junk drawer? Hang them from a few chains attached to a simp... A stripped-down model, sans screened porch, starts out at $79,000. Add the porch, a heated floor for the bath, and all the... Salvaged boards in varying widths and colors make up the dramatic accent wall in this attic space. The high-gloss white of... This garden shed has been decked out to the nines. Designer Orla Kiely created the intimate home for a flower trade show, ...
Newsletter_icon Google_plus Facebook Twitter Pinterest Youtube Rss_icon