Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Definitions Regarding Exposure

A visitor to our website asked to have clarification of our terms regarding light shade, part shade and part sun. I can see how a person could be confused. So I thought I would put the info here. It is a complex subject, but I will give it a try. 

Light shade: dappled light, such as comes through tree leaves

Part shade: shade for a good part of the day, but not all day

Part sun: receives direct sun, about 4-6 hr a day

Full sun: 6 hr of sun a day

But there is one more important factor and that is WHEN the sun is shining. If a plant receives 6 hrs of sun from 3pm until 9pm, that does not count for much, as the sun at that time is considered to not be as strong as it is at midday, from 9am to 3pm or 10am to 4pm.

Also, sun from 6am to noon is kinder than sun from 3 to 9pm because the air is cooler. So some shade plants can often take full sun (6 hr) if it is in the very early morning (east side of the house) but not during mid day, or late afternoon.

Water also plays a role. There are lots of shade plants that can take more sun, as long as they get lots of water.

After I sent this to Neils he replied "It reminds me of the understanding the all the terms the arctic aboriginals have about snow."  That sums it up rather well. They instictively understand snow, and an experienced gardener understands shade. But both are confusing to the beginner.