Some of the most beautiful flowers thrive in shade or tolerate a dappled sun area. Different combinations of perennials and annuals are all you need to brighten up those dark areas.

Some of the most beautiful flowers thrive in shade or tolerate a dappled sun area. Different combinations of perennials and annuals are all you need to brighten up those dark areas.

Foliage color and shape is important in the shade garden, adding a dimension of texture and vibrancy throughout the season.

Two challenges await the shade gardener: tree roots and dry areas. To alleviate both problems, try adding organic matter, such as Posy Power. Plenty of compost, shredded leaves and/or topsoil mixed with peat built up around the area will ensure that this new planting bed will thrive without competing with the surrounding trees. Hand-spading is recommended under trees to prevent damaging shallow root systems.

If you can't work the entire bed, try adding a few "planting pockets." These are small areas that have been improved with organic matter and planted with younger plants that have shallow roots.

A shade garden can be a soothing retreat from a hot summer day and a nice reward for your gardening efforts.

Helpful hint: If your shady area won't grow grass or weeds, then it won't grow shade plants, either. You may want to consider blending garden art, such as birdbaths, glazed pottery, statuary or a fountain to achieve desired results.

Bee's Top 10 shade plants

Pulmonaria: Polka-dotted leaves? How cool is that?

Hosta: Yes, they're everywhere, but they come in giant or mini, green, blue, yellow, striped, rippled - lots and lots of choices.

Brunnera: Flowers like forget-me-nots but is a hardier plant.

Bleeding Hearts: Dainty droplets of pink or white dangle from fragile-looking leaves. Gramma's fav.

Jacob's Ladder: Green or variegated leaves with pretty blue flowers staking above.

Lamium: Silvery white leaves hug the ground with pink, white or violet flowers.

Heuchera: Lots of textures and colors of leaves make this a great border plant.

Ligularia: Dark leaves with brilliant yellow flowers. Stunning!

Begonia: These annuals are so versatile; you just can't miss if you use them.

Astilbe: Plumes of pink, white or peach reach up over luscious, glossy green leaves.

Why not give yourself the relaxing spot you deserve in your own backyard by brightening up that shady area?

Bee and her husband, Brian, own and run Fisher's Gardens in Olde Reynoldsburg. They have a large collection of hostas in their shade garden.