Plant Profiles

Plant DB title blockAspenASPENS.  Dancers in the garden, aspens are popular choices for fast-growing windbreaks, screens, and mass plantings. Their oval leaves flutter in the slightest breeze. These extremely cold-hardy trees can gain almost 5 feet in height per year.

Avoid problems with their invasive roots and suckering by selecting species and varieties that won’t run rampant. Enjoy the best fall color with the quaking aspen. The trees have a preference for moist, well-drained soil but they adapt to almost any soil.

Golden bambooGolden bamboo, one of the most common types, is a medium-sized, fast-spreading plant with finely textured leaves and attractive golden-yellow stems. This evergreen is often used as a hedge or screening plant to provide quick privacy.

Because this is a running-type bamboo, it’s best to plant it in a contained area, such as between driveways, so it won’t spread out of control and takeover a lawn or garden.

Holly fernFor that shady spot, you can’t go wrong with holly ferns. Their evergreen fronds always look good and they mix well with other shade lovers, without taking over.

They can be planted close and massed as a groundcover, or used as accent plants where soil is rich and well drained.


Glossy leaves, stellar blue flowers, quick coverage — periwinkle is an ideal coverage for shade. Its only flaw is that it’s so popular it’s become underappreciated.

Prepare the soil well prior to planting and add humus to retain moisture. Keep the plants cut back to encourage bushy growth, and to keep them within bounds. Periwinkle can become invasive.

Oak Hydrangeas (Hydrangea Quercifolia)

oakleafhyThis is only native hydrangea to the United States and is a great background filler plant that can get really large if you want it to. It seems to like sun and shade but blooms more in sunny spots. It is a broad, rounded shrub up to 6ft tall and wide. The leaves are large and lobed and remind me a bit of a large grape leaf. The flowers bloom for a long time and are cone shaped that are a creamy white that fades to pinkish purple. It is deer resistant which is a big plus in our area. ‘Snowflake’ bears double flowers and one of my favorite.

There is also a smaller version called ‘Pee Wee’. Other varieties include ‘Alice’, ‘Alison’, ‘Harmony’ and ‘Roanoke’. One of the cool things you can do with this plant is creating an archway. It could look great next to an arbor and could be trained to climb up an arbor and would be a nice with a vine growing over the top. I trim them back hard in March when all of the possible frost is behind. Trimming is not required

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