Many gardeners feel that they are plagued by excessive shade in their yards. But there are all kinds of shade; you need to determine which type you have before you can proceed to solve your problem. A spot with dappled shade can actually open up a number of planting opportunities for you. Deep shade is a completely different ball of wax.
Then there's the issue of what it is, exactly, that's casting shadows over the spot in question. Believe me, it matters! Planting under evergreen trees is notoriously difficult, because the tree roots sop up any water that's available as quickly as a napkin absorbs water on a kitchen counter. I must say, though, that my neighbor has been quite successful in growing Emerald Gaiety euonymus under a huge pine tree.
At least if it's a building that's creating the shadow (as when you plant on the north side of a house), you have to worry about light deprivation only (not lack of water, too -- unless you're planting directly under an overhang).
There are more plant choices for partially shaded areas than you might think. One option is woodland plants, which include:
Need more ideas? There are many books on plants that have it "made in the shade," including The Shade Garden: Shade-Loving Plants for Year-Round Interest by Beth Chatto. If you read my review, you'll see I have some issues with the book; but it's still not a bad reference book to have on your shelf.
Related resource: Top 10 List of Shade Plants
More: Landscaping Books
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