Way up here in the land of tall conifers, dry shade is a common gardening challenge. I’ve had success with the following plants in the shade of conifers, and they also work well in deciduous woodlands or in the dry rain shadow of north-facing buildings and garden walls. As with any new plantings, they will require summer water for several dry seasons until they have established a root system capable of competing with existing tree roots.
Not every plant is destined to be a Garden Superstar. Every stable needs a thoroughbred but also a team of workhorses. Every musical needs a few divas, but also a solid chorus line. Every killer app development team... okay, you get the idea. Every garden needs a few (or many) plants that might not shout for attention but do their job quietly and dependably. Here are a few of my favorites:
Drought tolerant* or low water use* are terms we use often in Northwest gardening. You see them on many of our plant signs and information sheets at Swansons. More so each year, as we recognize the importance of saving water in the face of our region's growing population and potential effects of climate change. Also, we see ever more examples of how beautiful a well-designed, drought-tolerant garden can be! However, this doesn’t mean these plants don’t need water. Read on to learn the truth about helping these plants thrive.
For a tough spot, sometimes you just need a tough but easy-going plant. But that doesn't mean you have to settle for unattractive or boring. Try these beautiful, high-performing plants for year-round interest and worry-free care. They are some of my personal favorites, put to the test in my Northwest garden.