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Northwest Gardening: Making the Most of Moist Soil

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Pick the right plant and Northwest Region gardeners will have plenty of success--even in overly moist soils.

Japanese blood grass (Imperata cylincrica 'Rubra')

This summer, as the rest of the nation swelters and gardens dry up in the heat, we've enjoyed cool, moist and often rainy weather here in the Northwest. August is when I most appreciate the lush plantings in the wet or moist spots of the garden, where spikes of bright-red Japanese blood grass (Imperata cylincrica 'Rubra') flourish and swirls of golden Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra) edge beds and ponds.

There are plenty of trees and shrubs that also adapt to areas with too much moisture, including birch, spiraeas, cedars and redtwig dogwood, as well as many ferns, primroses, astilbes and native plants.

To really transform a damp area into a garden destination, include a pathway using stepping stones set in gravel; or use flat stones set into the soil. Not only will a pathway give the area a better flow, but you'll be able to avoid stepping onto and compacting the damp soil.

northwest pond with water feature

Mounding the soil, adding raised beds and planting into large containers are all ways to deal with soil that is too wet. But diving into the pool of moisture-loving plants is an adventure that could lead you to consider adding a pond or water feature to your landscape. Or perhaps it is moisture-loving blueberry bushes that float your boat.

What plants have you discovered that adapt to damp soil?