KLM Home Tips: Planning a Flower Garden

Shade Flower Gardens
Many plants love the shade.  In fact, many plants need the shade to grow and prosper.  If you have a flowerbed, container, or window box that gets less than six hours of sun every day, you need to be looking for the right shade plants to brighten up your garden.

Before you plan your garden, determine what kind of shade the flowerbed actually gets in a day.  There are some gardens that would be classified as partial sun, which would mean they get 4-6 hours of direct sunlight every day.  Some would be partial shade, meaning they can get 2-4 hours of direct sunlight, but they need relief from the sun, particularly from the intense late afternoon sunlight.  Finally, there are full shade gardens that flourish the best with least amount of sun, or just dappled sunlight throughout the day.
In a shady garden, you will not get the same big, blooming, colorful flowers that you may find in a full sun garden, but you get many different textures, interesting leaf shapes, and colorful foliage.  It allows for you to show your creativity and provide variety within your garden, but it takes very careful planning and attention.  In the first year of your shade garden, you must water it very well so it has the opportunity to establish a strong root system, given that you planted mostly perennials.  After your first year, it will come back green, leafy, and beautiful in the years to come.
Some common, but classic shade plants include impatiens, ferns, hostas, rhododendrons, and hydrangeas.  Many of the shade plants require different amounts of sunlight and more or less water, so be sure to look closely at the labels on the plants when purchasing them.  Those will tell you exactly what the plant needs to thrive in your garden.  

With the right planning, and the right care, a shady garden will stay interesting all season long and provide a lush, cool getaway right in your own outdoor space.

Sunny Flower Gardens
A full sunlight garden is one that gets direct sunlight all day, or at least 6-8 hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight every day.  When planning for a full sun flowerbed, be sure to consider what kind of sun intensity your plants will be getting in that placement because a plant that gets full sunlight in the morning but is in the shade all afternoon will grow differently than if it received full sunlight all afternoon.  However, with the right planning a full sunlight garden can provide easy care and color for many years!
For instance, perennials will bloom once a season, but will come back year-after-year.  These are very cost-effective and certain perennials will flourish in the hot, dry environments of full sun gardens.  Some examples are coreopsis, Black Eyed Susans, coneflowers, and chrysanthemums.
Annuals bloom non-stop for one season out of the year, but you have to replant them every year.  These are great for window boxes, borders, containers, and beds.  Full sun annuals will especially thrive when planted in sphagnum peat moss because it traps moisture in the soil and holds it longer, providing the roots with moisture for longer periods of time.  There are many annuals to choose, some examples are petunias, geraniums, marigolds, and dahlias.
Another type of plant that will survive in long hours of hot sunlight is a vine plant.  Vines climb, so they are perfect for covering a trellis, concealing a retention wall, or providing shade.  They are fast climbing and fast spreading, so they do require care so they do not dominate a garden, but they add height and variety to a garden.  Some examples include clematis and morning glories.

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