Best plants for Northwest shade gardens

by Lorene Edwards Forkner

If you live in the Pacific Northwest and don't have the space to plant a few trees, arbors, covered decks and even an umbrella will offer respite from the worst of the midday sun. Lounging on a small cushy lawn or swath of ground cover is considerably more comfortable than a heat-storing paved surface. Here are a few plants to include:

Begonias — Brilliant blooms in tropical colors light up the shade until first frost. They're edible too, with tangy, lemon- flavored petals and stems.

Ferns — So many to choose from. Big, small, evergreen, deciduous — there's a fern for every garden condition. Pet bonus: many are resilient to frolicking paws.

Hostas — A shade garden staple available in a seemingly endless range of cooling green from lime to sea foam.

Pennyroyals — Plush green foliage forms a dense, weed-proof mat. A perfect ground cover in shady areas and anywhere mowing is difficult. Pet bonus: its fresh minty fragrance is a natural flea repellent.


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