Carol Klein shares top tips for shade-loving plants – ‘be careful’

Great British Gardens: Carol Klein explores Coton Manor

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Among the popular shows she has starred in is Gardeners’ World on BBC2, which she will be featuring in tonight. Joined by garden designer, Nick Bailey, she will be exploring a range of unique gardens providing viewers with original design ideas.

Carol has shared her wealth of knowledge in many television programmes. During a previous episode of Gardening with Carol Klein, the gardening pro provided tips on how best to create a green space for shade-loving plants.

 She advised that a planted container would suit any shady spot, and shade can be created in a range of places, including a space behind a garage or beside a house.

 “Sometimes it’s really lovely to think about having a container and making a real merit of that shade,” she said.

During the episode, Carol planted a fern – a plant often found in woodland and shady areas. She planted a Japanese painted fern, or Athyrium niponicum, and advised choosing an evergreen.

Demonstrating how to plant the fern, she filled a container with loam-based compost.

Carol then added leaf malt, which contained fallen leaves she had gathered and allowed to rot.

After gently breaking down the roots to allow them to settle into the compost, she scooped out planting holes and pushed in the plants.

Once in position she topped the compost until all the plants had been covered up to the base of the stems.

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Alongside the fern, Carol planted a Euphorbia, sometimes known as spurges, which she said can suit a range of conditions. 

They are especially good for dry shade, she added.

Once the small flowers have turned a deeper green, they can eventually be cut down to the base, advised Carol.

“Be careful when you do, though,” she warned, “because all spurges have a milky sap which can burn and irritate skin – but don’t be put off by that.”

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 Ferns have many benefits including requiring low maintenance.

“I won’t need to feed them at all because they’re woodland plants, so they’re used to spreading their fine roots out, backwards and forwards, and living in close proximity to each other,” she said.

She advised that the ferns required a good watering once planted.


Shrubs are often used to create boundaries and hedges. Providing tips on how to maintain shrubs, Carol said Box was a popular choice in gardens and allows gardeners to be creative with their designs, such as topiary. 

Carol advised trimming the new growth on the shrub with sharp sheers or garden scissors, twice a year in June, and again in the autumn, to keep it neat.

 Glebe Cottage where Carol lives with her husband, Neil, has featured in television programmes. 

During one episode, she told viewers that the couple had transformed the garden into “their idea of paradise.” Photos of their garden have been showcased on social media on Carol’s Instagram page.

 Gardeners’ World airs tonight on BBC 2 at 8pm.

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