For almost 5 years, my wife has been nagging me (sorry, asking me politely) how we can transform a shaded area of our garden that I have been avoiding. So, when I asked this week what she thought I should write this column on, you can imagine her response! So, what can you do with a shaded area in your garden?

Firstly, growing plants in a dark area can be challenging enough, so before getting started, invest in improving the soil by adding some multipurpose compost and some chicken manure to the area.

Then it is about choosing the right plants; the difficulty with growing plants in the shade is that they need the light from the sun to survive by way of photosynthesis, so it is important to choose plants that are happy to live in the shadows! Hostas do well in shaded areas – but remember to try and keep them moist. My favourite would be ‘Elegans’ with its’s lovely blue flower.

If the shade is being caused by a wall, why not try and grow some ivy over it to add some colour, or even Hydrangeas - these wonderful shrubs generally do fine in the shade. The bright white flowers of Hydrangea Arborescens 'Annabelle' will glow in the shaded areas of the garden - I would always choose as bright plants as possible that can grow in the shade as dark plants will just blend into the background.

Rhododendrons are also very tolerant of the shade and next week I will tell you all about these amazing plants.


This plant usually starts to flower in Scotland in early May and produces a mass of beautiful pale pink, star shaped flowers with a central cluster of yellow stamens. It is a wonderful climber and great for walls or arches, or through fences or even to help disguise those old garden sheds! It likes full sun or partial shade and does well in any good, moist but free draining garden soil. A real treat with a lovely scent!