You can create your own little shade garden and even control its size.
Trees such as oaks, hollies and mountain ash will grow large with time, but you can restrict their size by planting them in containers or raised beds, as shown here. Surround them with shade-loving plants to create a tiny woodland.
When to Start: Fall
At Its Best: Spring to fall
Time to Complete: 3 hours to plant
- composted organic matter
- drainage material
- soil-based potting mix
- young trees grown from seed
- male ferns (Dryopteris filix-mas)
- woodruff (Asperula)
- ivy (Hedera helix)
Prepare the Bed
Buy or build a raised bed, or hire a landscaper to construct a brick bed like this one. Add drainage materials, such as broken bricks, rocks, etc, to the base and fill the bed with garden soil and some organic matter.
First plant your young trees, staking them if required. Position the woodland plants about 18 inches from the trees. Water well and mulch. Keep the bed watered, even after the plants have established.
Top Tip: Staking and Feeding
When your seedlings have grown, you can either plant them in large pots, in raised beds, or in the ground. In windy sites, those planted in beds or the soil may require staking. Check your trees regularly and loosen the ties as the trunks expand. Remove the stakes after a couple of years. In spring, apply a shrub and tree fertilizer to the soil. For those in pots, apply a slow-release fertilizer.