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Extension > Source - Spring/Summer 2007 > Gardening gets tough!

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Gardening gets tough!

Gardening in the shade challenges many gardeners because they fight shady conditions rather than adapting to them. Instead of struggling to grow sun-loving flowers and lawn in a shady, dry soil site, why not design a diverse, beautiful garden that will actually thrive?

Carefully choosing flowering shrubs, perennials, annuals, ground covers and ferns adapted to shady conditions means your garden will be colorful, interesting and easy to care for. The Best Plants for 30 Tough Sites Cover

Gardening Gets Tough

You can find the best plants for tough garden sites—dry shade, slopes, lakeshores, septic mounds, boulevards and more—in a new publication, The Best Plants for 30 Tough Sites. Written in celebration of 30 years of master gardening teaching, it contains lists of durable plants along with photos and special characteristics such as self-seeding, fragrant, long-blooming and minimal litter-producing.

Compiled by master gardeners throughout Minnesota, the lists were edited by Mary Meyer, Deb Brown and Mike Zins, current and former Extension horticulturists.

The publication sells for $9.95 plus shipping. Purchase through the Extension Store.

Searching for the right shrub?


Shade locations are some of the most difficult sites on which to grow plants. Find recommendations based on your site's soil type and light exposure in The Best Plants for 30 Tough Sites.

Choose from boxwood, yew, barberry, dogwood and azaleas—to name a few. If you want dense cover, try bush honeysuckle; it's a good choice for a tough, low-growing shrub in an area of light shade. Viburnum and hydrangea are among the few shrubs that can put on a nice floral display in the shade—the Annabelle hydrangea produces large snowball-type flowers in the summer.

Finding the right plant for tough sites can be a challenge. This publication will help both new and experienced gardeners.

For more gardening information, see Yard and Garden

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