Help choosing yard / garden plants
I just moved to Denver and would like some information as to what types of garden vegetables and decorative plants I could grow here (preferably native plants). The backyard faces East and has two raised planters, and is heavily shaded...maybe some early morning direct sun but otherwise full shade / dappled sun. The front yard faces East with two raised beds and some large barrel style planters. The front will also be mostly shade with the exception of one bed that will probably get full sun late in the day a few hours before sunset. Do you have recommendation for plants that will grow here and what conditions they will thrive in? Thanks.
Denver County Colorado sustainable gardening and landscaping
Vegetables and Herbs:
Based on your description of the amount of shade you have in your growing areas, there will be very few vegetables that would work for you. Most vegetables that produce fruit or roots need sun for most of the day. A few of the leafier types of vegetables can be grown in light or partial shade. Vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, kale, mustard greens, and beet greens will be thinner leaved and less robust when grown in light shade rather than full sunlight, but they will be tasty even though their growth is not luxurious. Linked here is an article about gardening in the shade that discusses, annuals, bulbs, perennials, herbs, and vegetables.
You can probably get several kinds of herbs to grow in your shadier area. Linked here is an article about growing herbs. http://web.extension.illinois.edu/hort_factsheets/growingherbs.cfm
Flowers: Perennials such as ferns, bleeding heart and hostas need much less sunlight and can thrive in filtered shade.
If you are interested in native plants, linked here is a great article on getting started with native plants. It explains how to evaluate your location and assess what plants will work. http://extension.colostate.edu/docs/pubs/native/FrontRange.pdf
And here is another great article on native perennials that lists several that can grow in partial shade.
There is a lot of information to get you started!