(Or to be precise, “semi-arid steppe climate.” I don’t really live in the high desert but I like to pretend.)

Let’s talk about baseline reality for a minute, shall we? Things like the layout of our dwelling places and the types of food that we eat and the living things that we surround ourselves with.

Unlike the malfunctioning washing machine in my rental, the deck is a pretty dang sweet setup. First of all, I actually have a usable deck, and I’m excited to have a protected outdoor space for my own. Second, the deck is pretty much the only bit of outdoor space that I have control over. I could potentially put some plants out my front door, on the opposite side of the house, but there’s not a lot of room there. Third, this a covered deck that faces North. It will be absolutely fantastic in the heat of the summer, but I’m looking to make it a more hospitable place by adding many pots and containers of plants.

The challenge here is that while my deck will be a relatively shady place, the summer will almost invariably be hot and dry. I’m no gardener, but I can’t think of any plants that will be tolerant of (or even thrive in) the hot shade.

Good thing there are people in this world who have more knowledge and experience with plants than I do.

After some searching, I now have a list of plants that I desire to put on my deck:

  1. Hellebore
  2. Begonia
  3. Hosta
  4. Creeping Jenny
  5. Ferns
  6. Lamium
  7. Columbine or acanthus
  8. Coleus
  9. Japanese forest grass
  10. Silver-falls dichondra

Apparently Japanese maple trees also do well in the shady-but-hot regions of the world (potted, clearly). Not sure I’m ready for the responsibility of taking care of one of those beautiful trees, but it’s certainly something to put on the “soon” list.

For now, I’m focusing on creating a beautiful, hospitable space for both myself and others that will harmonize with the natural environment–thus being the easiest to care for.

My plan is to take my list to a reputable nursery and ask the staff there what they think will also work best based on their experience in our region.

This is one of the reasons that spring is my favorite time of year; there’s so much promise and opportunity everywhere that only exists for a moment. Everything is new, and changing, and shimmering–until you blink.

Capitalize on it while you can.


On a side note, climate maps are fascinating. It’s interesting to me how the climate zones in the South and East are so broad, while the climate zones around the Rocky Mountains are much smaller and more varied. I wonder how that impacts things like regional culture and architecture.