They are a Southern thing. The plants we place in shady places. Their big green leaves move gently in the smallest breeze, convincing us that it is actually pleasant and cool outside even when it is not. I remember them from the neighborhood I grew up in here in North Dallas. Often they were planted around large Live Oak trees edged in brick . As the grass inevitably turned brown in the heat of the summer , these plants were lovingly watered and tended to in those cooler shady corners.
I have them in my yarden too. I have lived in my house for 30 years now. The trees have matured that I planted so long ago. And there is much more shade now. I have a Red Oak tree in my front yard that was just a sapling when I moved here in 1991. As an homage to my childhood neighborhood I have edged a bed around it with the angled brick that I remember and planted caladiums, white begonias, and elephant ears. On the east side of the house, under my kitchen window, I have another shady bed. There I have planted ferns- four varieties, hostas, and lirope under a Little Gem Magnolia tree. And of course, I have two large hanging Boston Ferns flanking each side of the covered patio in the back yard.
This year, our summer has so far been wonderfully mild and rainy. It does happen here in Texas- just not very often. But the shade plants still need to be watered. After all, temperatures in the 90’s are still hot. This is a task that I love though. The plants get bigger and bigger almost in front of me. And the variety of greens in their foliage is so calming and energizing. I love my shade garden – it’s a Southern thing.