Lysimachia nummularia (Creeping Jenny)

Groundcover 

Creeping Jenny is a creeping ground cover which forms a leafy mat only 2-4" tall. It will root where its leaf nodes meet the soil. It makes a great weed suppressor if you don’t mind it taking over. This ground cover thrives in damp soils which will often kill off other types of ground covers. It features round, slightly ruffled, leaves tightly packed on the stem. Abundant, cup-shaped flowers are a stunning bright yellow appear in early summer. Creeping Jenny tolerates limited foot traffic.

Picea (Spruce)

Dwarf spruce varieties tend to have a slower growing habit with a globular form. A nice dwarf spruce variety is Glauca Globosa (P. pungens "Glauca Globosa"), it grows slowly to 2-3ft tall; it may grow wider than tall and can develop one or more leaders that should be pruned off to keep its shape. Use dwarf spruces as a low hedge or in containers, in rock gardens or mixed borders. The bird's nest spruce is another great variety of spruce that forms a small “dwarf” round shrub with an impression on the top making it look like a bird’s nest giving this spruce its name. It grows between 2-4ft tall and wide. If you are looking to create a topiary shape or just have that perfect live Christmas tree the Dwarf Alberta spruce is the best choice! This spruce is great for patio pots most often seen next to a front door. Conical in shape they end up getting around 6ft tall and 3ft wide at the base.

Mahonia (Oregon Grape)

Oregon grape is an evergreen shrub that spreads by suckering, with an upright growing habit that gets 3-6ft tall and 5ft wide; although, it can be trained to grow higher with pruning. The Oregon grape is noted for its yellow flowers in spring and edible blueish black berries that ripen in late summer. Pinnately compound; each compound leaf (10” long) has 5-9 spiny, oblong leaflets (each leaflet is 3” long). New foliage will emerge red hued in the spring and will mature to glossy, dark green by summer. Foliage gains purplish tinges in fall and eventually turns to a burgundy-bronze color by winter. In cold areas these plants can suffer from winter burn. Bright yellow flowers (2.5” long) bloom on stalks in April, flowers are mildly fragrant; following the flowers are edible berries that ripen to blue-black by early fall. Berries are sour raw but make good jellies and are attractive to birds. There are some species that can grow sun, but most will want some afternoon shade.

Pieris

Pieris are a broadleaf evergreen shrub that matures anywhere from 3-12’ tall with a dense, upright habit. It has drooping clusters (racemes 6” long) Waxy, white flowers hang on slender, one-sided terminal panicles blooming in early spring. Bead-like flower buds are set in late summer for the following year and provide winter interest and contrast to the evergreen foliage. Serrulate, long oblong leaves (3.5” long) that emerge orange, bronze, or bright red but mature to glossy dark green. Many cultivars are available with flowers in various shades of white, pink and deep rose, various colors of emerging leaves as well as some varieties that are variegated.

Miscanthus (Maiden Grass or Silver Grass)

Grass

Maiden grass is a clump-forming warm season grass that typically grows to 3-7’ tall. This grass has a dense clump of upright arching stems and leaves which give it a round, fountain like appearance. Leaves have tapered tips with serrated margins and whitish-silvery midribs. By mid-fall the foliage often turns a gorgeous shade of yellow-orange before eventually turning beige for winter. Feathery pink to red flowers form in loose terminal panicles, bloom above the clump from late August to October. The flower panicles will eventually turn beige by mid to late fall as the seeds mature. Flowers and foliage both retain a good shape with a beige color and ornamental interest throughout winter. Miscanthus can sometimes spread wildly in places. Thankfully most of the ornamental varieties are sterile.

Pinus (Pine)

Versatile pines have evergreen, aromatic foliage, can tolerate full sun, is drought resistant, and need little maintenance. There are some dwarf pines that have a mounded growth habit and will commonly stay less than 5ft tall. Dwarf mugo pine (Pinus mugo pumilio) is a great example, which grows wider than it does tall, the dark green shrubs is a slow grower and can reach 3 to 5ft tall and 6 to 10ft wide in 10 years. There are other mugo pines that do well as a hedge and will grow 6-8ft tall and 4-6ft wide.Another Pine with bright green needles is the Japanese red pine "Low Glow" (Pinus densiflora "Low Glow") growing to 4ft tall and wide. Several varieties of dwarf pines have low growing forms. The "Hillside Creeper" Scotch pine is a faster growing pine (Pinus sylvestris "Hillside Creeper") that only get 1.5-2ft tall but can spread 6 to 8 feet. All of these are great for rock garden plant to cascade over terraces.

Molinia caerulea (Moor Grass)

Grass

Purple moor grass is an upright, warm season perennial grass that has dense, flat narrow leaf blades that grow from 1-2ft tall. Leaf blades emerge green in spring, thin, white and green flowers have a purplish tone, but rapidly fades to brown as the seed sets after flowering. Flower stalks and the foliage turn yellow to orange yellow, eventually fading into light tan. 3ft upright to arching, wispy flower stalks are topped with narrow flower panicles that rise above the foliage in mid-summer.

Molina caerulea is separated into two subspecies. Subspecies caerulea which is moor grass with its grass clump being 18” tall and the flower stalks being 2-3’ tall; and subspecies arundinacea which is the tall moor grass that has a mounded grass clump being 3’ tall, with flower stalks pushing upwards of 6-8’ tall.

Pyracantha (Firethorn)

Firethorn is a semi-evergreen to evergreen shrub that grows to 8-10ft tall and 12ft wide. It has white flowers in the spring that form in drooping clusters. Following the flowers are orange to red berries that ripen in the fall. Glossy green, long oval leaves look like they have been stretched out. They have hard needle-like spines that cover the branches.

Muhlenbergia

Grass

Muhlenbergia or pink hair grass is a clumping, warm season, perennial grass that is noted for its  wonderful summer foliage and gorgeous clouds of fall flowers. Glossy dark green leaves and stems are thread-like that form a clump that is 2ft tall. Fall flowering is what sets this grass apart from the others. Tons of open, airy, loosely packed pink to pinkish-red flowers float above the foliage in a long fall bloom. Beige seed fluffs remain attractive in winter. Plant grows 3ft tall and wide when in flower.

 

Rhododendron and Azaleas

Rhododendron (Rhododendron spp.)

Rhododendron is made up of 500 to 900 species and includes both azaleas and rhododendrons. Most are evergreen but there are some are deciduous. They can reach anywhere from 1-6ft tall and wide. Most plants will have large, dark green, oval leaves that have fuzz on the underneath side. They are grown primarily for their attractive spring flowers and for the evergreen types for their attractive winter foliage. True rhododendrons have 10 stamens in a flower and azaleas have only 5. Flowers can be white, red, pink, purple, orange, yellow, or dual-toned.

Azalea (Azalea spp.)

Deciduous azaleas

These azaleas tend to grow in an upright habit usually taller than evergreen azaleas. Varieties range in height from 8 -15ft tall and 3-6ft wide. Blooms are tubular with long stamens that stretch beyond their petals, bright colorful flowers begin to open in the spring. Colors can be dual-toned, white, purple, pink, red, orange or yellow. Fall foliage offers a colorful surprise before they fall off usually being yellow and orange. Football shaped large leaves (up to 6” long) are solid green. These azaleas can handle full sun to part shade.

Evergreen azaleas

These azaleas require part shade, protection from direct sun and wind. Evergreen azaleas rarely need pruning (if shaping is required then pruning should be done immediately after flowering). Plants grow 6 feet or less with a mounded shape. Spring blooming but many varieties also bloom a second time in the fall. These azaleas bloom in a few different of forms including the standard round petals, strap-like or star-shaped. Flower color is white, red, orange, pink, purple or dual-toned.

Nandina domestica (Heavenly Bamboo)

Heavenly bamboo is an upright, broadleaf evergreen shrub that is grown for its interesting foliage that resembles that of bamboo and its fruit display. It grows from rhizomes; they usually grow anywhere from 4 to 8ft tall and to 2 to 4ft wide. Tiny whitish flowers appear in late spring in open, upright, clusters. Flowers are followed by red, spherical, two-seeded, berries that stay on the plant from fall to spring, providing some winter interest. Mature leaf color is green to yellowish green, new foliage can range from bright red to yellow.

Rosmarinus prostratus (Creeping Rosemary)

Groundcover 

This rosemary is a fast growing, hardy, evergreen shrub has a creeping habit with attractive little blue flowers and a strong rosemary fragrance when leaves are crushed. Strong sturdy branches have green leaves with a small white line down the crevasse of the leaf. Small Blue flowers cover the plant in spring. This plant is wonderful in rock gardens and love to hang over walls.

Ophiopogon (Mondo Grass)

Groundcover

Mondo grass is an evergreen perennial that typically forms a clump 8-12” tall and as wide of narrow, grass-like, dark green leaves. Foliage is like that of Liriope, but leaves are narrower and more refined. Small, bell-shaped flowers are white to lilac-tinted that bloom in summer atop leafless stalks. Flowers are followed by round, pea-sized, blueish black berries. Flowers and fruits are partially hidden by the foliage. This plant is ornamentally grown for its grass-like leaves.

Rubus pentalobus (Creeping Raspberry)

Groundcover

The Creeping Raspberry, Creeping Bramble or the Crinkle Leaf Creeper is an evergreen ground cover that unlike most brambles are completely thornless. These plants have a thick, fuzzy, dark green leaf with sturdy branches. The leaves will bronze fall through early spring. Flowers are similar to blackberry and raspberry flowers; white-cream colored with 5-6 petals. The flowers give way to little golden to salmon colored berries that are edible but are not tasty. They can get upwards of 5ft across in just a few years while only staying 3-4” tall.

Pachysandra

Groundcover

Pachysandra is a shrubby, evergreen ground cover which grows 8-12" high and spreads by its root system to form a lush carpet of rich, dark green foliage. Its oval leaves appear primarily in whorls at the stem ends. Tiny white flowers in 1-2" long form on spikes, bloom in early spring. Flowers are not particularly showy, but on close inspection are quite attractive.

Sarcococca (Sweet Box)

Fragrant sweet box is a dense, low-growing, compact, broad leaved evergreen shrub that will sometimes sucker growing 3-4ft tall and wide. It features sharply pointed, elongated oval, leathery and glossy, dark green leaves (2 1/2" long). Fragrant, tassel-like, petal-less, white flowers will bloom in early spring March-April. Following the flowers are round dark red berries (1/4" across) and will ripen to black. It is a great round shrub used for low hedges or groundcover plants.

Panicum (Switch Grass)

Grass

Switch grass is noted for its columnar form and typically retains its stiff, vertical shape throughout the growing season. This clump-forming grass is a warm season grass that can grow 3' tall. Flower panicles may get an extra three feet above the foliage. Medium green leaves will turn yellow-  orange in autumn, eventually fading to beige in winter. Foliage is topped with finely textured, pinkish flower panicles that hang over the clump in mid-summer. Flower panicles begin to turn beige as the seeds mature in fall with the seed plumes hanging on well into winter. Seeds are a food source for birds in winter.

Schizachyrium scoparium (Little Bluestem)

Grass

Little bluestem is typically 2-4’ tall, and features upright clumps of slender, flat, green with each leaf having a tinge of blue at the base. Purplish flowers appear in 3” long clusters on branched stems rising above the foliage in August. The flowers are followed by fluffy, clusters of silvery-white seed heads which can persist into winter. Many consider the most outstanding ornamental feature of this grass to be its bronze-orange fall foliage color.

Pennisetum (Fountain Grass)

Grass

Fountain grass is a warm season ornamental grass which grows in graceful, spreading clumps from 2-3' tall and wide. Its narrow leaves are a medium to deep green during the summer and change to a golden yellow in fall eventually turning to beige in late fall. Foliage commonly remains attractive throughout the winter. Silver to pinkish-white, bottle brush-like flowers are showy and arch outward from the clump in late summer. The flower spikes turn tan as the seeds form and usually will persist through late fall or early winter. There are many awesome fountain grass varieties are available in commerce, ranging anywhere from 1-5' and featuring a variety of different flower colors (purples, pinks or whites) and autumn foliage.

Sedum (Stonecrop)

Groundcover 

Most sedums are a sprawling ground cover forming a foliage mat 4-10in tall, spreading by trailing stems to 15in or more. They feature shiny, bright green leaves (1.5" long) that form rosettes at the ends of stems climbing to 10in tall. Clusters of star shaped yellow flowers appear in summer.

Phormium tenax (Flax)

Grass-like

New Zealand flax is an evergreen, clumping perennial. It features sturdy, sword-like, brightly colored leaves in upright clumps. Colors can be green, pink, red, orange, black, apricot, gold and a variation of color usually mixed with white. Leaves are creased down the middle creating a V-shape. Panicles of flowers appear above the foliage on top of strong flowering spikes in summer. Plants in containers grow a lot smaller and almost never flower.

Sesleria autumnalis (Autumn Moor Grass)

Grass

Autumn Moor Grass is a cool season, clumping ornamental grass that grows 8-12" tall with  narrow flower spikes that get 18" tall in the summer. Flowers are a silvery-white color in autumn. Attractive, narrow, yellow-green foliage.

Photinia 

Photinia is a large, evergreen shrub that grows 10-15' tall and wide. It is commonly called “red tip” for the bronzy red to bright red new leaves that emerge in spring with a showy display lasting about 2-3 weeks. Red leaves will gradually change to glossy dark green; leaves are oval (3-4" long) with finely toothed margins. Pruning can encourage new growth of red leaves in late spring and summer. Unpleasant smelling, small, white, 5-petaled flowers (1/3" across) in wide, flat top panicles (5-6" long) bloom in late April. Fruit is a small, spherical, red berry that persists through winter to spring.

Spirea

Spirea are comprised of nearly 100 species of flowering shrubs. These shrubs are hardy deciduous shrubs with simple leaves that have softly toothed margins. The tiny pink or white flowers that have five petals are usually in dense clusters and form off new growth. Flowers bloom in late spring and early summer and sporadically throughout the rest over the summer. New growth can vary in color ranging from yellow orange to a burgundy red maturing into a medium green. 4-6ft tall and wide.