These are some of my favorites in the garden, both trees, shrubs, perennials, and tropicals.
‘Ivory Silk’ tree lilac is a delightful tree with long lasting fragrant blooms and a full rounded leaf canopy. It grows a bit too large for small gardens. In contrast to other lilacs it seems quite happy to grow as a single trunk tree with no sucker growth. There are no apparent pest problems.
In this photo are two favorites, the Full Moon Japanese maple, with yellow leaves, and black leafed elephant ears. This elephant ear grew so vigorously that it was out of scale with the maple, but with some growth by the maple this year order will be restored. I plant an assortment of elephant ears and bananas in the ground, in water, and in pots throughout the garden.
Heptacodium, the Seven Son tree, has quickly become one of my favorites. White blooms in August are followed by bracts, or fruit, or whatever, that you see in this photo.
I don’t particularly care for azaleas, but the Encore azaleas have grown on me with their multi season bloom. While they do not flower through the Summer in my northern Virginia garden like they do along the Gulf coast, this picture was taken in late October. There are numerous buds waiting to bloom that were nipped by freezing temperatures a week later.
Mahonia ‘Winter Sun’ has unusual November flowers and a more compact growth habit than the early Spring blooming Mahonia beali. The stickers on its leaves are just as lethal, sure to draw blood, so be careful not to plant next to a walkway or patio.
Japanese iris are great plants for the shallow edges of a garden pond or for a wet area.
The Red Knockout Rose is a great flowering shrub. Many people fear roses are high maintenance, but the Knockouts are practically no maintenance. The hype for Knockout roses is understated in my opinion. They are an exceptional plant with blooms almost nonstop from May through November.
Just look at the foliage colors of ‘Flaming Silver’ Pieris japonica. How could this not be a great plant? And it blooms too. It seems to be a magnet for lacebug, but otherwise is an exceptional plant.
The fernleaf Japanese maple has outstanding Fall color, and is a nice spreading small tree.
There is no better tree than our native dogwood. Spring blooms cover the tree, late Summer berries often persist into the Winter, and beautiful red Fall foliage.
Nandina domestica is a graceful shrub with multi season interest. It will often have red Fall color, and the berries persist through the Winter. There are a number of varieties depending on the space you can allow.
Ostrich fern is at its best when the new leaves are unfurling, but it is an outstanding plant that will slowly spread into open areas, in particular when the areas are damp.
Globosa or Montgomery Spruce are dwarf blue spruce that will work in most gardens. However, they are not quite as dwarf as many expect. I have one that is over six feet tall and even wider. Don’t crowd them so you can fully see their beauty.
‘Silver Cloud’ Redbud is just as colorful in leaf as in bloom, maybe more. From across the garden it looks like it’s always in bloom. It fades a bit through the Summer, but is still very attractive.
There are many other plants that are favorites, sometimes for a day, or a week or two, and then not for awhile. As they pop out at me I’ll be sure to get a photo or two.