YourLIFE: MAKE THE GLADE; GARDENING.
ABIT of shade is always welcome when the sun is beating down, but if your garden has a large tree you could find you've overdone it.
Big trees may look great, however they do pose a couple of problems. Growing anything beneath them is difficult as they take up lots of water and food materials from the soil - and all the time the tree is in leaf it casts a big shadow.
So how can you create a good show beneath these garden giants?
If the trees are grouped together, try to mimic the sort of conditions you would find in nature. A woodland garden with plants such as rhododendron, Pieris and azalea (acid soils only), spotted laurel, wood anemones and plenty of bulbs and hardy ferns could be the solution.
If the tree is growing on its own and the area beneath it is fairly small, try underplanting with ground cover such as an ivy, Waldsternia ternata or Gaultheria.
If tree branches are very low to the ground, find a good, reputable tree surgeon to advise you and perhaps "crown lift" the tree, removing the lowermost branches.
"Crown thinning" - thinning out the branches to allow more light to get through to the ground - may also help if the shade is dense, but remember that the tree will need to be dealt with regularly after that.
With a drought in progress, this is not the time to do much new planting, but when you do plant up beneath trees always try to make a planting pit rather than a hole, incorporating plenty of bulky organic matter to help get the new residents off to a good start.
Plants under big trees need extra TLC and regular watering and feeding, especially in the first few years, as they will be in competition with those big, well-established roots.
SOME plants do well even in quite dense shade. Good garden centres often have areas dedicated to just this sort of situation, so take a look and see what you fancy.
Bulbs are often a good option, especially those which put on the best show in the spring before most trees are in full leaf. Try snowdrops, wood anemone, chinodoxa, Cyclamen hederifolium, bluebells, Leucojum (the spring snowflake), Trilliums, Dutch crocus and some of the daffodils.
Herbaceous perennials are not quite so easy, but in dense shade consider Ajuga, Anemone japonica, Waldsternia ternate, Tiarella, Tellima, Pullmonaria saccharata, Hosta, Aruncu dioicus, lily of the valley, Iris foetidissima and Lamium maculatum.
If you are after more trees, or shrubs, there are plenty of good options, including the spotted laurel, Aucuba, Berberis thunbergii, Vinca or periwinkle, Skimmia, Viburnum tinus, Sarcococca (winter box), Pachysandra terminalis, mahonias and euonymus.
Get planning now and you'll be able to start planting in autumn, when conditions should be just right for your new plants to start to get established.
TAME THAT BIG TREE BY CREATING A WOODLAND GARDEN AROUND IT
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|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Jul 15, 2006|
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