The Northwest has always been know for being green.  Washington’s nickname is the “Evergreen State.”  In my experience, however, I have never seen things greener than they have been this year.  After a relatively dry and calm winter, the spring has been unusually wet.  May alone delivered 3.5 inches (8.9 cm) of rain at my weather station.  The average here is 1.63 inches (4.14 cm).

A Rhododendron and friends thrive in the shade garden

Hostas thrive in wet weather.

The shade garden is flourishing in the rain and the Hostas have never looked better.  They attract slugs and snails like magnets, but the little critters have been oddly MIA this spring.  I am not complaining.  Perhaps the dry winter is an explanation, but I am sure they will catch up soon.

Japanese Pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis)

Oregon Oxalis (Oxalis oregana)

Shade, acid and moisture loving groundcovers like Japanese Pachysandra and Oregon Oxalis look terrific in the Douglas Fir understory.  They make great companions for rhododendrons.

Native Lupines (Lupinus polyphillus)

Japanese Iris (Iris ensata) like wet feet

Our native Lupines are also thriving in the damp weather.  They provide more temptations for slugs and snails, but having been left alone this year, they are destined to reach four feet tall.  Japanese Iris like to keep their feet wet.  If you plant them at the edge of a pond or partially submerge their pot, they’ll be happy as clams.  Literally. 

A robin's favorite perch with varieties of Thyme and Japanese Holly (Ilex crenata)

Western Sword Fern (Polystichum munitum)

This little temple lantern is surrounded by a “lawn” of  Thyme, which looks like green velvet this year.  As you can see, the temple is one particular robin’s favorite perch.  The Western Sword Fern is indigenous.  I have a special passion for native plants, as you will come to know.  The sandy soil under one of my decks seems to be a Sword Fern nursery.  When they get big enough, I move them to new locations in the yard.  They are surprisingly drought tolerant.

Wallich's Wood Fern (Dryopteris wallichiana)

Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina)

The Wallich’s Wood Fern is a new plant for me.  They are slow growing, but eventually get large, 3-4 feet tall.  This one is keeping company with some ‘Pink Pewter’ Dead Nettle (Lamium maculatum).  This is a showy groundcover for shady spots, but keep it watered.  The Lady Fern is another indigenous “weed” that comes up all over my yard.  I generally leave them where they are.  They are beautiful, but very delicate.  The fronds will break at the slightest nudge.

Back in mid-April, the yard was so dry, I had to turn on my sprinklers.  I have a lot of new plants that are not quite settled in.  Since the rains of May, however, I have been able to leave them switched off.  We’ll see how long that lasts.  As June moves into July, I am sure our Rain Shadow summer drought will set in once again. 
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