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When Your Garden is a Shady Balcony

I face the prospect of gardening where shade dominates the daylight hours. That’s my fourth floor balcony.

Recently Jessica Damiano, Associated Press, wrote a wonderful article for the Boston Globe about shade gardening.

The name of the article is “Not all shade is the same: Gardening when there is little sun.”

She offers great advice.

The first step, she writes, is to understand your shade level. Is it partial shade or full shade? And for how long?

My balcony has no sun until about 4 p.m. But that short time for sun is restricted to one corner of the balcony.

The rest of the balcony remains in shade all day long. [above]

From my past experience I know that a few flowering plants do well on my shady balcony. They include begonia, impatiens, fuchsia, and coleus.

White Flower Farm offers a three-plant combinatin for a container that you can use in shade.

It’s called “Magic Dragon Annual Collection.” [below]

‘Magic Dragon’ Annual Collection [White Flower Farm]

I thought that the three plants would be perfect for my heavy shade. They include: coleus ‘Drangon Heart’, impatiens ‘Roller Coaster Hot Pink’, and fuchsia ‘Billy Green.’

I first heard of this combination in a Zoom session with a group of Garden Communicators a few months ago.

I decided to try this combination.

I bought one of each of the three plant varieties. If you buy the Collection from WFF, you get two plants of each variety.

They are new hybrids of old fashioned plants.

The fuchsia comes from South America, Mexico, the Caribbean, and New Zealand. Today there are 12,000 cultivars according to Neil Kingsbury’s Garden Flora.

The same book desribes the long history of impatiens as well. It too comes from warmer climates like East Africa and Madagascar.

The coleus originates in East Africa and India.

All three plants like warm weather but will grow in shade.

They also look great together in a container [above].

This morning I planted the three of them in a large pot.

We’ll see if they address my shade problem. Or can I call it an opportunity?

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