Planting a Shady Strip
Master gardener Paul James solves a difficult dilemma involving a narrow strip of planting space and little to no sunlight.
A narrow strip between the entry wall of Paul's house and the sidewalk that leads to his front door has become a troublesome space. "I've tried to grow a number of things here, from dwarf bamboo to ferns, but nothing's really worked," he says.
So Paul decides to try something else - mondo grass (Ophiopogon). "This is hardly one of my favorite plants, but I'm convinced that it'll perform better than anything else in this weird spot."
Paul spaces the plants roughly two feet apart, and given the fact that mondo grass (or monkey grass) likes to spread, the gaps between the plants should fill in quickly. In the meantime, however, he needs something between the clumps of grass, something that is able to handle the conditions and provide some seasonal color.
For that he uses 'Crystal Bowl True Blue' pansies. The pansies will flower for at least the next several weeks, and in the spring, rebound with even more blasts of color. This easy and inexpensive solution solves what was once a particularly perplexing problem.
"Of course, the real problem was I kept looking for a real dramatic solution, when in fact, the simple solution was the best," Paul says. "And very often that's just how it is in the wacky world of gardening."