In a year here we’ve not felt the need to test the sun canopy. Direct sunlight reaches the terrace very rarely, though in the mornings light reflected from the white walls and windows across the way can be bright enough to cast shadows. Where the walls of the flat surround the terrace they are covered with white tiles, like an outdoor bathroom. Not very subtle decor, but good for making the most of the available light.
Still, there’s no getting away from the fact that one side of the terrace is very shady. The climbers rooted in the plant boxes head straight up towards the light, anchoring themselves, if they get the chance, by sending shoots among the tiles of the adjoining mansard roof. Regular pruning is called for.
The bare, lower stems of the climbers need low growing plants to hide them; ferns fill this niche well. A couple of old stumps of Dryopteris sprouted into new growth, once water was no object. These ferns kept tough, green fronds throughout the mild winter just gone. Now in March, they are sending out delicate new fronds, edged with downy hairs. I’ve never watched developing fern fronds so closely before.