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View of an early morning band of sunshine that cuts the picture into bright and shady sections
Early morning view

- summer

All life as we know it on earth depends on the light provided by our star, the sun.

The oxygen we breathe is (mainly) produced by plants, which, like human beings, go to sleep at night - they only work during the daytime, no night shift here. So not only is light the key factor for growth in all gardens, but it's responsible for life itself as well.

We, the animals, breathe in the oxygen that all those hard-working little plants make for us and in exchange we give them carbon-dioxide when we exhale. Plants, on the other hand, use the carbon dioxide produced by animals to manufacture food for themselves and oxygen for us.

It's not a perfect circle though - there's plenty of CO2 to go around, so plants can easily survive without the presence of animals, as they have done during many periods in our geological past.

How do Plants Grow?

Plants process the light of the sun during photosynthesis, the process by which they:

In a nutshell: No light = No growth = No garden.

Light and the Cottage Garden

All plants have their own, very personal, preferences with respect to light.

To ensure that your garden thrives, the light requirement of individual plants should be taken into account when designing and preparing your cottage garden planting plan.

The most practical way to do this, as we've all seen in seed, plant, shrub and rose catalogues, is to classify them by the amount of light required for them to thrive: Sunny, light shade, half shade and deep shade.

So we need to find out what the light zones are in our garden before designing it.

The easiest way to do this is to draw a light and shade plan.

* ATP is the prime energy source (fuel) used by all living things. - a Gardener's Practical Guide to Natural Cottage Gardening

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