Thelypteris kunthii — Southern wood fern is one of my favorites. Beautiful fountain shape, more upright than it looks here. Fast-growing to 3ft. tall wide, spreads into colonies. Excellent for shady foundations under trees. Also called Southern shield or Southern maiden fern (this is why its best to buy ferns under their Latin names!) z. 6-9

Grass is a sun-loving plant. It typically needs six to eight hours of sunlight daily for good health. While several shade-tolerant species may do OK under trees and in other sheltered spots, its more likely that youll end up with weeds, scraggly grass and bare ground. Its much better to plant a shade garden or a shade-tolerant ground cover that in a few years will blanket the area like a green carpet. And you wont have to mow. A local nursery expert will advise you on which plants and ground

Perennial fills spots where nothing else will grow. Its large, lavender flower spikes rise above the arching, evergreen tufts of grassy foliage. Excellent for planting under trees or overhangs, or in other shady areas. Full sun to full shade; 12-15 Bloom Time: Late summer Zones: 4 to 10