If you have a problematic set of trees in your yard or property that you simply don’t know what to do with, go with a positive mode of thinking and “make the problem the solution” and make those trees into part of a shade-loving garden. The trees will naturally provide mulch and shade to the understory making your duties easier.
What is a woodland garden? A woodland garden can take various forms but generally it is a cultivated area that is occupied by many trees and has its own unique understory flourishing beneath. These trees and understory’s shade-loving plants can be existing and further shaped or cultivated, or from scratch you can design your own woodland garden. This type of garden can be a standalone feature or just part of your overall landscaping.
Reasons to Start Woodland Garden
Some reasons you would start a woodland gardening project:
You already have woods, a forest, or a cluster of trees on a space that needs some aesthetic attention. You want to add to the diversity of plants, animals and insects to your land by incorporating a forest/woodland element for the trees and breath of shade-loving plants.
These natural gardens have a “magical” feel to them and such settings have been written about in many fairy tales and folklore, where appropriately the fairies come out to dance at night. Woodland gardens are particularly enchanting at night when the garden is moonlight and shadows and bright lights reflecting on the leaves are scattered throughout.
Of course, no two woodland gardens will be the same. A woodland garden in the Northeast would differ greatly in species compared to another in the southwest. For this reason it is key that if you are designing a woodland garden, you’ll use your area’s native shade loving plants Instead of a traditional garden in full sun, a woodland garden is similar to a forest floor where many shade-loving plants and flowers thrive.
For example some woodland garden plants that may grow well in your area are; hostas, rhododendrons, ferns, yews, lily of the valley, and bleeding hearts.
“Low-maintenance” is a perk of woodland gardens. Their aesthetic is much more natural, forest-like and requires less attention than any lawn or manicured garden, and even vegetable gardens that often need frequent watering. However, all your work is not done, keeping the understory healthy is important and can be helped by occasionally trimming the lower branches of the trees.
Woodland garden design is heightened by adding more visual elements. Rocks, stumps, a path, a seat or swing can all make your space more unique and useable. Growing medicinal herbs or edible mushrooms on a log or two can make your woodland area even more beneficial and enjoyable.-BEN TERRINGTON