Friday, 15 January 2010

Choice of "sun" or "shade" garden ?

I am really interested to hear from all of you gardeners about what you would choose if pressed to do so ?
Would you chose a sun garden ? or a shade garden (yes with different degrees of shade but no direct sun) ... so considering the types of plants available to you for those conditions .. what would you choose and why ?


our friend Ben said...

Yow, this question isn't fair, Joy! What gardener could possibly choose when both are so wonderful?! For my vegetables, herbs, and fruits, and for roses and my meadow garden plants, I have to go with sun (and wish we had more of it here). But for sheer beauty, I love my shade gardens! Perhaps most subtle and beautiful of all are the spring bulb and wildflower gardens, which put on their show while the trees are bare, so even though they're shade gardens they're in the sun while they bloom. Best of both worlds!

Unknown said...

Hmmmm. I have both, Joy, and being a spoiled brat with lots of room, I don't have to make that choice. I guess, on reflection, because I need the sunlight myself and adore echinaceas, I do prefer the sun garden. That being said, I love my shaded areas too with their interesting plants and bright foliages. So I'm glad I don't have to decide. It'll be fun to see what others (other than Teza, whose answer I can pretty much predict) have to say about this.

Meadowview Thymes said...

Good question Joy. I had a shade garden, then lost that big Bradford Pear and went to a sun garden. I miss that tree terribly, but I will have to admit, I love having all that sun-- even with our hot summers. I had to do more watering, but my flowers started growing like crazy with the added sun. If I had to choose, I would go with sun. :)

RURAL magazine said...

I would like a little of both, best of both worlds. Well, you didn't say we couldn't. LOL.


Anonymous said...

Joy, This is such a tough question. Shade gardens provide such a sense of tranquility, but sun gardens have so much color and energy. I guess if I had to choose, I'd end up choosing the sun garden because two of the most wonderful plants that we can grow in the north *because* they love our cold winters, delphinium and peonies, are sun-lovers. Still, I'm glad I don't really have to choose :-). -Jean

Barry said...

I could shock the hell out of you and say SUN ALL THE WAY.... but then the Earth would likely stop spinning.
Its SHADE for me, always has been, always will be. Take out the UV effects of sun, and the need to focus primarily on flowers, not to mention so many plants that I simply don't aspire towards, nor colours that I don't especially like that seem 'sun' related - oranges, reds and yellows..... yeah, I'll be a shady character and lurk in the darkest corners of the garden... but thanks for asking!

Karen - An Artist's Garden said...

Sun every time - For me, not the plants, they would just have to fit in with my desire for lots of sunshine. But then don't forget I live in wet wales :)

Diana Studer said...

I will take dappled shade. Best of both worlds. Now in high summer, full sun gives us the sunburnt version of frostbitten.

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Hey there 'ben' : )
It is a tough choice for some of us isn't it ? .. The herb and rose plants would be my weakness for sun even though I am a shade kind of gal ? I know what you mean exactly !

Jodi girl you don't know how much I envy you ! (you spoiled brat you ! haha)I had a feeling that you and your echinacea could not part company for anything less than SUN ;-) but yes grabbing the best of both worlds would be most of us .. even though I would have to lay the law down , just for interest sake mind you .. to see when pressed which way we would go .. and yes Teza is pretty well a safe bet ? haha

Linda did your pear grow straight up ? our neighbors have a pear tree (I don't know what kind it is ) but its branches go straight up in the air and it amazes me !
Now you have converted to sun ;-) I guess there is no going back LOL

Jen you naughty gardener ! you are supposed to pick one girl ;-)
Everyone who thinks they can will pick the best of both ... go sit in the corner now !! LOL

Jean it is a tough question and that is why it interested me so much ! I wanted to get a sense of each gardener's way of thinking and it is as you say , shade brings tranquility and sun energy and yes having both is ideal (I'm very glad to have both) but I enjoy seeing who goes with which because it does speak a little about each individual gardener : )

Puppy I am dead sure the earth would not only stop spinning but fall off of its axis if you went with sun !! and we would all gasp along with that ;-) I have to say I am with you in those shady corners of the garden so do we smoke a cigarette now ? hahaha

Karen .. I feel for you in Wales .. Carrie in Northern Ireland has the same gray wet weather and I know it is hard to handle week after week after month. But .. you have some gorgeous scenery there !! wink wink

Hello there Elephant's Eye Girl : )
It took me a while to actually see that eye, but once you see it you never see anything else : ) LOL
Yes .. dappled shade is wonderful and YES ! I can understand your correlation of frost bite by sun along with our version of cold .. it stings the plants something awful ;-(

Mary Delle LeBeau said...

I would have both. I need more sun for the plants that draw the hummingbirds, like the salvias and all those vegetables. Then, I wouldn't be without my lovely shade plants and all their subtlies.

Deborah at Kilbourne Grove said...

I have to agree, this is a very difficult question.
I would probably go with sun, even though being out in it to long gives me a headache. The plants that I love best are happier in the sun, but for my self, I prefer dappled shade.

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Mary Delle .. most of us seem to be hard pressed to choose .. like you I would need sun for my herbs but the quiet peaceful cool shade and the subtle plants that are happy there draw me to that side more often : ) .. but the hummers oohh ! you have to have something for them yes ? LOL

Deborah .. yup .. that headache thing can really be a beast .. dappled shade is cheating but it is a "good" thing! LOL

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

I would love a mix. Right now all my garden spots are full sun-- the back is a little shady but has the potential of flooding, so I don't plant much.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

Oh my, this is a tough one. I don't think I'd want to be without either. I guess it all depends on what I'm growing. But if I was forced to pick only one, I'd choose the sun. And if I needed to, I'd just put up (or build) some type of cover to create a shady spot. But I couldn't create sun. So yeah, I'd pick sun.

garden girl said...

Hi Joy, if I could choose, I'd have sun in the morning and mostly shade in the afternoon, except for the veggie garden - that would be full sun.

I much prefer working in the shade. It's much kinder to my fair skin, and of course a lot cooler. I'm not really a big fan of high heat.

I love the foliage that can be grown in the shade. I have almost no weeds in the shade, and have less watering to do.

But oh, how I love flowers, and I'd love to have more space with full sun for more of them. I do sneak in a lot of plants that would do better in full sun. I find pockets here and there of the sunniest spots, and take full advantage of them for blooming things. I definitely push the envelope putting plants that would be happier in full sun in part sun areas.

*~* Linda *~* said...

I wasn't going to comment because I'm not a gardener per se (although being a home owner you can't really avoid it to some extent because you have to deal with what you've been given and I'm doing the best I can to deal with the plants God gave me)but I had to comment on the reflection that choosing sun or shade DOES somewhat reflect our personalities and I never noticed it til you folks were talking about it here. I am totally a sun gal, and then when i saw the comparison to personalities I confess that I saw how accurate it was in my case. Sun= energy, color, activity and such attention-drawing flowers... and that is sooooo me. I envy those that can do shade because they are able to find contentment and pleasure with things that aren't so 'in your face'. And then people that can't chooose... why perhaps they exemplify characteristics of both?? Interesting philosophy... It certainly rang true for me. :) **hugs**

CiNdEe said...

Brrr its cold there!
I would pick a shade garden. Last Spring we went up the hill to a place and it was totally in shade. It was the most beautiful gardens! I loved it so much and wish I had the exact thing here! Shady/cool just lovely!!!(-: I do have a lot of shade here but a lot of sun in areas too!

debsgarden said...

Shade is precious in our hot summers. Definitely shade! Shade is mysterious. It is a place for romance and peaceful contemplation. It's a place to sit with a good book or listen to birds. I like the lush plants with their many shades of green and blue foliage. The best thing about sun is vegetables! And roses. But you better have a hat and sunscreen on.

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Janet ! You have me curious as to what you actually do plant in the back with that potential flooding problem ? trees and shrubs that can put up with it ? or perennials ? that can survive the extra water ?

Martha girl I would have guessed right off the bat that you are a sun person ! LOL .. mountains of energy that you have I know you can handle the sun and the point you made about not being able to convert an area to sun but we can for shade is a great point to make : ) well done !

Linda (garden girl) ..I know exactly what you mean about the fair skin problem and what the sun does to us : ) and yes ! shade provides stunning foliage and cool beauty for us .. I am an herb girls so I need at least that much and I also do that bit about putting a full sun flowering plant in part sun and cross my fingers .. I have seen them STRETCH a good deal to get as much sun as possible though and that can look a little awkward ? LOL

Hello there Ian's Linda : ) LOL
You "got it" .. how we see that line drawn for many gardeners .. sun=energy and shade=peace and tranquility, restful atmosphere .. I envy the energy people so much for their energy but my first true love is shade and I am happy to see that our trees are adding to that element .. more privacy and noise reduction (you haven't heard the neighborhood parrot we had to endure all last year .. you would have had a great LAUGH ! but it was so annoying !!!).. I would have guessed you to be a sun gal too .. so much going on with you and the kids ! .. and yes .. people who could not give up a little of both are a mix in that sense of personalities too .. this is a barometer of characteristics ? ;-)

Cindee : ) it is actually warm here for a couple of days 1 and 2 degrees above 0 !! haha ..
That place must have been absolutely gorgeous : ) .. I know you struggle with the heat and how dry things get there .. I think Mista G was happy to be here during the summer ? LOL .. I would love to have all the work I want done for the bricking of the back especially to look the way I want it to as a beautiful shade garden .. so if you go to that place again .. take pictures for me so I can see please ?? ;-)

Hello debsgarden ! You have described the qualities of shade so well ! and how precious it is during such hot summers and believe it or not we do get HOT summers here too ! .. but that need for my herbs (most of them) to have full sun and a few of my roses .. yes ..tricky to find but we do eek it out ? LOL

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

Hi Joy, I plant salt tolerant perennials and shrubs. The trees that are in were here when we moved in. It is interesting as some plants are salt tolerant but can't handle being underwater for long it was a lot of trial and error to start gardening in the backyard.

Rose said...

Oh my, Joy, this is like one of my kids asking me who is my favorite child? I would probably say sun, since most colorful plants require full sun. But I sure would hate to give up my hostas, heucheras, and other shade lovers. Fortunately, I don't have to make this decision.

What I must have, though, are trees! I couldn't live on a treeless patch of land.

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Janet it must have driven you a bit crazy for a while until you hit the right ones .. and that is interesting about salt tolerance but not long for water submergence but then again I have read about some on the UK coasts that take salt spray but not the water aspect.

Rose girl .. I am totally behind you in the NEED for TREES ! I am cramming as many as I can in my two gardens .. my hunt for the Korean Maple is the main driving force this Spring : ) .. and some how I knew you would have to side with the sun side of things but yes ! we are lucky and we don't have to choose !!

gittan said...

Hi Joy! I would, and have, chosen a sun garden. The most reason for that is that I do love the sun! I just can't get enough. Before we started all over with our garden it wasn't that sunny at all. We only had a few ours AM and then all those huge trees made it shady. We really missed that there where no place to sit and enjoy those last sunbeams in the evening. Now we are looking forward to sit down by the new raised bed every evening with a glass of wine (no, we don't drink wine every evening "lol") and enjoy those last sunbeams. You know there's a lot of planing to hit the right spot for that =) But still we do have some parts of the garden with shade and of course we love them to. That's where we (read, the Carpenter) goes when the sun is to hot. And that's where we plant the wonderful plants such as Ferns and Hostas that doesn't like to much sun / gittan

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Hello gittan !
I understand exactly what you mean .. especially when we have such a short "summer" season with the sun .. having a place to enjoy the last rays of the day is important .. my goal is to actually have a better seating area for a little fire pit so come Autumn I can have a place to roast marshmallows !!! haha I'll trade wine for marshmallows every time ! LOL .. but yes the shade (my choice if hard pressed) gives us so much .. I couldn't be without it ;-)

Corner Gardener Sue said...

I enjoyed reading everyone's comments, and could identify with many of them. I am indecisive in a lot of things. My first thought was sun, because I like to grow veggies, then, I thought of my skin, which has been exposed too much, and has patches of sun damage. Plus, when I saw all of Joy's beautiful foliage in the post before this, thought I'd pick shade. Then, I remembered butterflies need the sun, so I went back to choosing sun because I love growing plants for the butterflies and caterpillars.

Cat said...

I want to sit in the warm rays and soak up all that growing energy!

Anonymous said...

Hi Joy~~ Ditto to what Elephant's Eye said. Dappled shade, definitely. It has more to do with the fact that I am not favorable to the brightness of summer sun. Shade and green neutralize its severity. And there are an amazing number of plants that can tolerate some shade.

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Sue a lot of us shade gardeners have that hold back or exemption about shade .. the butterfly and hummingbird and bee thing .. they need sun plants .. but I need shade so it is always going to be 3/4 shade and 1/4 sun if I work it out right ? LOL

Cat girl .. I also thought you would be a sunny soul and that is a good thing considering where you live and how much sun you need for all of those growing fruits and veggies : ) you "grow" girl ! LOL

Grace my thoughts exactly .. I'm still laughing at your description of the air there in your last post .. too funny ! and YES ! more and more cultivars of favorite plants such as the heuchera/hosta are coming out so there is no excuse to amazing beauty we can create in the shade !

Corner Gardener Sue said...

Speaking of sun and shade, the raised planer box in front of our house faces south, and also has a west exposure. The tree in the front yard shades it when it's in leaf, but it still gets west sun. The sun plants I put there when we first moved in got leggy, but when I tried hostas, they got burned. It's been a challenge figuring out what will grow there. Right now, I have a variety of things in it, including hellebores, which I need to keep watered because they are under the place where the roof hangs over it. The heucheras in it grow slowly, but seem to be hanging in there.

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Hi Sue .. yup ! I have areas of overhang which really makes watering a pain .. alot of the side area are day lilies so they can put up with a bit of drying out .. and I understand what you mean about the heuchera and hellebore putting up with those conditions too , once they establish they really hang in for us .. heuchera can heave a bit over winter conditions but all you have to do is place them back in deeper and they seem happy again .. they are great tough plants when need be. I am so excited waiting to see if Golden Lotus hellebore flowers this Spring .. if it doesn't I will aim for next Spring, for something like that I will WAIT : )

Rebecca @ In The Garden said...

I've been mulling this over for a couple of days and I have to pick shade. Not so much from a gardening perspective, but since I *have* to be surrounded by mature trees to feel ok, otherwise I'm a little on edge. Also, it is easier to conserve water and many sun loving plants do quite will in even heavily shaded spots.

Phew, glad I finally made a decision. ;)

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Hey there Rebecca I thought it was taking you quite a while to make up your mind.. and I understand completely about the need for mature trees .. we are lucky to be in an older neighborhood with many trees .. phew !!
I'm glad you feel better with making the right choice : ) me too ! LOL