Planning a shaded perennial garden

tracydr(9b)February 6, 2011

I have a very difficult space around my swimming pool. I think I'd like to use it for mostly perennial herbs, maybe mixing in basil in the sunnier areas and some shade resistant beans ( is there such a thing?) along the back fence, unless I can come up with a good climbing flower to attract hummers and pollinators. Maybe I could even put some mint in back since the shade will keep it from going wild?

Havent had great luck with mint pots in summer, seems to cook the roots, but haven't tried burying them yet.

Here it is. It's mostly shaded, maybe two hours of sun, but I'm in AZ, so in the summer that can be a lot of sun. Front gets more sun than the back and I even got some tomatoes off the front last year. Borders the pool so needs to look nice. Want to attract hummers year round, as well as pollinators, since my veggies are all around the yard. Don't have any other places to put herbs so would like to put them here but could stick some non-herbs in if needed, maybe salvias.

Need some height in the back where the most shade is and move to lower in the front, or should I make a walk through garden with height on both sides and a path? It's about 30 feet long by 20 deep, maybe even larger. I'll go measure today. Sort of pie shaped, longer in the back than front.

I can't post a pic on here because right now there is a giant mound of tree trimmings in it, sorry!

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A walk through with a few paths for access to all the tasty herbs. Thyme, oregano, strawberries for ground cover with strawberries in the very back in the maximum shade, oregano in the maximum sun. On the sides, frame with larger plants like common sage, lavender ( which variety tastes best?), Rosemary. Throughout the garden find good spots for the mint, catnip, bee balm, lemon balm, basil/ cilantro ( summer/ winter).
Need lots and lots of chives, garlic chives. Marigolds, alyssums, nasturtiums.
Kale, lettuce will be planted in the winter if space allows, maybe some peas on the fence.
What beautiful, flowering, hummer and pollinating attractors am I forgetting? I'd like to make an order this week to get started. This will be fun!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 10:42AM
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Nobody? Picked up a chocolate mint today. What a flavor!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 6:36PM
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nygardener(z6 New York)

Try searching in this forum for shade. A few herbs will tolerate shade, but many of the plants on your list may have a tough time without at least 6 hours of sun a day. You might get away with less under the intense Arizona sun.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 4:16PM
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Thanks! Hoping to get some herb lovers input.
I have a patch of garlic chives alive after two years in partill sun so know they do fine. I also have lavender and Rosemary, but in full sun.
How do mint, bee balm, catnip do in the shade? Will they blossom?
Need something red and tubular for the hummers that likes the shade, need some ideas on that as well. Maybe runner beans?They will only work in cool weather so will need warm weather replacements during summertime. What about hyacinth beans, do they tolerate a lot of heat?

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 10:46AM
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Tracy, there's a wild patch of catnip near here that's in the shade. It might get a couple hours of afternoon sun at the most. I often harvest it towards the end of the summer when my cats have near depleted what I grow in pots for them. It grows like crazy, but it gets pretty leggy(flops over)reaching for the light and it does flower.
I transplanted some chocolate mint last fall to a partially shaded moist area. I have yet to find out how it will do. I have some lemon balm in the same vicinity in a hollowed out piece of log and it does ok. I had used the log for a container the year before close to the building and moved the whole thing with soil still in it because I thought the LB was dead, but it reseeded and grew, so it stays where it is, LOL.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 12:02PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Angelica and lovage both grow tall and do not mind a bit of shade. But they do need moisture. Baytrees will grow surprisingly well in shade too.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 1:39PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Agreed on angelica and lovage both tolerating shade. Violets can handle dry shade, but not lots of heat. Sweet woodruff same as violets.

If I recall correctly, hyacinth beans are originally from very warm and tropical places, like India. Having grown lots of beans, though not specifically hyacinth beans, I know they are piggies for water and wilt under dry conditions. They will most definitely need full sun. I do believe there are red-flowered salvias but they too would need sun. The native columbines are red, though not tubular and would take dry shade.

I think the big problem for you is that you have (assuming because of AZ) dry shade. That's a tough one and most culinary herbs are not going to like one or both of those conditions. There are medicinals that will, but I'm suspecting that's not the type of herbs you are looking for.

I would personally plant dry-shade tolerant plants there, ideally native varieties. There are many that could attract your local pollinators, incl. hummingbirds which look quite lovely. If you check out xeric shade plants or dry shade plants, you'll find a nice selection. And I would find a sunnier, more optimal location to plant my herb garden.

I'm not trying to discourage your plans, but plants do best in the conditions for which they evolved. Making them thrive elsewhere can be a lot of effort or an exercise in frustration.


    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 8:43AM
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Bee balm will do very well...but just remember to give it some water. I live in eastern Washington (five miles from Idaho) and we have hot and dry summers, but cold, snowy winters. The bee balm loves the shade and spreads like crazy. The hummingbirds love them, too! :)

Also, I don't think the shade will slow down most mints, at all. Bee balm is like mint and I have spearmint growing like crazy in a shady spot, as well. The sweet woodruff is in front of the bee balm and likes the shade, too.

Strawberries do well with a little shade and so will some roses. Lavender Lassie and other hybrid musks will bloom in shade (but maybe not quite as much). In the hot part of summer, many of the roses prefer some afternoon shade, since it's just too hard on them with all that heat.

Honeysuckle grows well in some shade, as will pansies, columbine and even alyssum. They may not be herbs, but they look good with them! Best of luck with your garden.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2011 at 3:06PM
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