I’ve never had to deal with shade before. Up until now, my biggest landscaping challenge has been the relentless sun of the Wyoming range. We moved to town last year, and that has all changed. There are large, towering elm trees which shade most of my yard. I didn’t even know where to start when choosing plants.
Give me a hot, sunny yard and I know just what to start with. Fringed sage, Salvia nemerosa, Lavender, Sedums, Antennaria, Yarrow, and Eriogonums. They can take whatever the sun dishes out. They’re my tried and true first line of defense.
But shade? Oh, and don’t start thinking cool and moist shade. My soil is sand. Sand inconsiderately deposited by the North Platte River way before anybody had the slightest inclination to grow stuff here. And after 300 years or so, it’s managed to collect almost no organic matter.
Dry shade. That’s not exactly a category rife with suggestions in your latest and greatest coffee table landscaping book. So I’m back to the experimental stage. I’m looking for plants that do well in poor, fast draining soil, partial sun, winter temps of minus 20 degrees F, summer winds of 70 mph, and the occasional hail storm.