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Shadow Study

Shadow. My husband and I have not been in complete agreement about how shady our back garden is. The question is how will our shade loving plants fare if the garden is not as shady as I think it is. Hence, our Shadow Study.

Shadow at 8 am

Shadow at 8 am

Shadow is not only an afternoon phenomenon. Our house is sited directly facing east which means the house throws  a long shadow in the morning.

Shadow 9 am

Shadow 9 am

The shadow is moving, but the South Border and most of the North Border is still in full shadow.

Shadow at 10:15 am

Shadow at 10:15 am

At 10:15 most of the planting beds in the back garden are in the sun.  Half of the south border is also in the sun.

Shadow 11:30 am

Shadow 11:30 am

The back garden is essentially in full  sun, although a portion of the North Border is shaded by our neighbor’s maple tree, and a portion of the South Border is shaded by our lilac tree.

Shadow 12:30 pm

Shadow 12:30 pm

The Shadow at 12:30 pm. Full sun in the back garden.

Shadow at 1:20 pm

Shadow at 1:20 pm

The whole back garden  is in full sun. This photo show how the shadow is beginning to creep across the Hugel Project in the west.

Shadow 3:40 pm

Shadow 3:40 pm

The western edges of current beds are beginning to be touched by shade.

Shadow at 5:25 pm

Shadow at 5:25 pm

We have come full circle. The back garden is again in full shade.  My numbers are not precise but we can comfotrably say that from 10 am til 5 pm the back garden is in full sun except for the northwestern corner which gets shady earlier.  That is 7 hours of sun. The rule is  that 6 hours of sun counts for full sun on plant cultivation cards. My husband is right, BUT (a wifely but) I want to say that plants can be very adaptable.

The Shadow Study has been done when the days are the longest in the year. We didn’t get the Study done on the Solstice, but maybe we will do another study at the Fall Equinox and see what we learn then.

These photos also show  that work is moving apace on our kitchen/bath/laundry room renovation. Give us another month and the garden will be  glorious and so will the kitchen, etc.

5 comments to Shadow Study

  • Wow, your garden is really coming along. I love the low stone wall. I think these stone walls give a garden such character. You have the perfect perch to do a shadow study.

  • A timely post for me, as I struggle to decide where to plant a pagoda dogwood I purchased impulsively.

  • Helen Opie

    How wonderful to see what your garden is like only a year later! You inspire me to do the same, especially with my front yard as there’s going to be a lot of earth- pushing to reroute rain water away from the house and over to the slope down from my house on my west border. There’s some surplus earth which I intend to have makea slightly raised bed along my west border, north of where the water path will be going.

    It gets a little early morning sin, then is in house shadow, perhaps for the rest of the day. There were a few Solomon’s Seal here when I came and they seem to do OK. So now I can spend the winter figuring out what else the plant there. A Sun study would help me a lot, both for that edge and the front yard in general. Another for my back yard might be useful, too. It is mostly vegetables, and none of the sun-lovers can go on the wester 1/3 because the woods shades all the beds there by 2 PM. The next sunny day….

  • I think of these as “sun studies” rather than “shadow studies,” but it’s the same concept. I usually do mine at the end of May, as soon as the trees are fully leafed out. It’s a shorter day than at the solstice, but I figure it provides a good estimate of minimum sun in June and July.

  • Pat

    Lisa – We love the stone wall too. It makes the hugel project an aesthetic project.
    Bitten – It was a really good idea for us to do our study and see the realities, not just my vague impressions and recollections.
    Helen and Jean – I guess whether we do sun studies or shadow studies depend on whether we are trying to calculate the amount of sun or shade we are looking/hoping for.

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