The shade comes from overhanging trees and the house. The hill is rather steep, pretty decent dirt, though there seems to be a lot of pebbles as well as I think someone tried to stem the flow of water by putting rocks in place. The hill is actually facing west, but it is sandwiched between trees and a two-story house, so it really only gets sunlight for about 2-3 hours in mid-day.
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Welcome! I’m Margaret Roach, a leading garden writer for 25 years—at ‘Martha Stewart Living,’ ‘Newsday,’ and in three books. I host a public-radio podcast; I also lecture, plus hold tours at my 2.3-acre Hudson Valley (NY) Zone 5B garden, and always say no to chemicals and yes to great plants.