About Us



Personal Gardens
since 1986

Garden Tips

Dry Shade

fernPlanting in dry shade is one of the more challenging growing environments a gardener will encounter. Here in Toronto we have plenty of gardens dominated by maple trees whose shallow roots and sometimes heavy leaf canopy rob the ground level of water, nutrients and sunlight. Forested ravines are also prevalent and the sloping landscape, even if leaf and humus covered, tends to be very dry.

Here are some techniques Personal Gardens employs to deal with such situations.

1. Be realistic!
Under heavy maples many so-called “shade” perennials won’t tolerate the low light levels … others need consistently moist soil … the palette of available plants is vastly reduced so be careful and conservative with your choices. Choose for leaf not bloom!

2. Job number 1: get the ground covered! If dry shady areas can be lushly covered with patterns of foliage this is often enough.

garden3. Soil modification: Planting small trees, shrubs or even perennials into in-ground containers covered with mulch means you’ll gain a couple of seasons growth with reduced root competition although you may need to root prune later. Understand that if you modify or add enriched soil ontop of existing grade maple roots will soon grow throughout this area, often within one season!

violet4. Plant choice – some plants we’ve had success with include Barrenwort, Violets, Hosta, Lamium, shrub Euonymus, vine Euonymus, shade vines (i.e.Virginia Creeper), Ostrich Fern, Kerria, Yew etc.



gardenMost gardeners are principally concerned with what they put into their garden. Sometimes a better approach is to carefully consider first what visual elements you’d like to remove and how you might do it. If you frame a garden properly, reducing visual clutter, the garden itself will always look better and the “garden feeling” will be stronger.

hyacinth1. Is the garden intended to be viewed from one principal view point (a viewing garden) or is it intended to be seen from multiple points of view (a stroll garden?)

2. Are there views beyond the property lines that need to be screened?

3. Are there long horizontal fence lines or vertical building lines that need to be “broken” or softened?





The Garden's Path



quoteConsider first what visual elements you’d like to remove ... if you frame a garden properly, reducing visual clutter, the garden itself will always look better.quote

mission | gallery | about us | tips

Personal Gardens Ltd. Tel: 416-778-4764 Email: