Gardens in dry shade | Gardening Tips

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06 February 2020

Brian Wardhaugh, IRT horticulturalist and columnist, lets The Good Life in on the secrets to gardening in dry shade.

Find out his choices for a low-maintenance plant palette that provide form to the garden and still add a dash of colour.


Hi. Brian, here, from the IRT Garden team. Today, we’re looking at dry shade and the challenges that that brings. It’s a simple matter, really, of choosing plants that are extremely drought-tolerant.

The secret to it, though, is to keep your plant palette simple.

This garden requires minimal maintenance because we’ve chosen plants that are as tough as old boots.

We’ve got the Murraya hedge at the back, which gives the garden structure. Clivia nobilis, with its large bell-shaped flowers. We’ve got Matchstick Bromeliads, Japanese Sago, Mondo grass, and even a small mini hedge of Nandina domestica.

It’s a matter of keeping your plant palette simple and choosing plants that are extremely drought-tolerant.

This garden, here, I’ve looked after for 14 years. I’ve only introduced the Sago palms.

So if we keep things simple, you, too, can have a garden that is almost maintenance-free and looks good all year round.