Landscape Planting

Plants in the modern love landscape.

Ansel Olson

Landscape architect Andrea Almond, Director & Senior Project Manager at 3North in Richmond, shared some of the plants she chose for the Cottrell landscape. Below you’ll find the planting plan she used for the entrance to the house, pictured on pages 116-117 of the June 2023 issue of Virginia Living (“Modern Love”). The plan is organized into two categories—Trees & Shrubs and Groundcovers & Mass Plantings—with each category containing multiple sub-categories. Scroll down for more information on the plants highlighted in yellow.  


TREES & SHRUBS

– Evergreen Trees

Botanical Name (Common Name)

  • Cryptomeria japonica ‘Black Dragon’ (Cryptomeria, Japanese cedar)
  • Cryptomeria japonica ‘Yoshino’ (Cryptomeria, Japanese cedar)
  • Cedrus deodara (Deodar cedar)
  • Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar)
– Deciduous Trees
  • Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Autumn Brilliance’ (Serviceberry)
  • Hamamelis virginiana (Witch hazel)
  • Cornus controversa (Giant dogwood)
– Evergreen Shrubs
  • Cephalotaxus harringtonia ‘Duke Gardens’ (Japanese plum yew)
  • Myrica cerifera (Wax myrtle)
  • Pinus mugo var. pumilio (Dwarf mugo pine)
  • Rhododendron catawbiense ‘Album’ (White catawba rhododendron)

GROUNDCOVERS & MASSES
– Shrub Groundcover

Botanical Name (Common Name)

  • Archtostaphylos uva-ursi (Bearberry)
  • Juniperus squamata ‘Blue carpet’ (Blue carpet juniper)
  • Juniperus conferta ‘Blue Pacific’ (Shore juniper, blue pacific juniper)
  • Rhus aromatica ‘Gro-Lo’ (Creeping sumac)
– Perennial Groundcover
  • Herniaria glabra ‘Green Carpet’ (Rupturewort)
  • Asarum europaeum (European wild ginger)
  • Sedum acre ‘Octoberfest’ (Stonecrop)
  • Santolina virens (Green lavender cotton)
  • Sedum spurium ‘John Creech’ (John Creech stonecrop)
  • Thymus praecox ‘Albiflorus’ (White creeping thyme)
– Massing Perennials
  • Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae (Mrs. Robb’s bonnet)
  • Amsonia hubrichtii (Arkansas amsonia, bluestar)
  • Calamintha nepata subsp. Nepeta (Calaminth, nepata)
  • Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’ (Moonbeam coreopsis)
– Grasses, Sedges & Ferns
  • Carex albicans (Oak sedge)
  • Carex testacea ‘Indian Summer’ (Prairie fire sedge)
  • Dryopteris erythrosora (Wood fern)
  • Dryopteris marginalis (Marginal wood fern)
  • Muhlenbergia capillaris ‘White Cloud’ (White muhly grass, white cloud muhly grass)
  • Sesleria autumnalis (Autumn moor grass)

TREES & SHRUBS

Cornus controversa ‘Giant Dogwood’ 

Commonly called giant dogwood, this rounded, medium-sized, deciduous tree will grow somewhat rapidly to 35-40’ tall with distinctive horizontal branching in tiers.  Small, creamy-white flowers appear in flattened clusters in late spring (May-June). Although individual flowers are small, a tree in full bloom is quite showy. Flowers give way to clusters of ½” bluish-black fruits that mature in late summer. Fruits are attractive to birds. Ovate dark green leaves are glaucous beneath. Fall color is variable but usually not showy, ranging from at best a respectable red-purple to a more typical pale green and yellow. Native to China, Japan, and the Himalayas; prefers well-drained, moist, acidic soils; full sun to partial shade. 

Deodar cedar: Cedrus deodara

An evergreen conifer native to the Himalayas, Deodar cedar, also known as a Himalayan cedar, is the most pendulous of the true cedars, with drooping branchlets and branching that is gracefully drooping at the tips. Pyramidal when young, it matures to flat-topped trees with broad-spreading horizontal branching. Lower branches typically remain on the tree as it ages, often touching the ground. This medium-growing tree typically matures to 40-50’ tall in its first 25 years, but in its native habitat, trees reportedly will grow much taller over time, sometimes reaching 150-200’ tall. Dark grayish-green needles (to 1.25” long) appear in clusters. Upright cones (to 4” long). 

Shore juniper: Juniperus conferta ‘Blue Pacific’

Shore juniper, native to Japan, is a low-growing, spreading evergreen widely used in rock gardens, foundation plantings, slopes, and mass plantings, as well as for cover over retaining walls. ‘Blue Pacific’ is a trailing, lower-growing cultivar that typically grows to at most 12” tall. It’s noted for superiority to the species for better blue foliage color, better ground cover form, denser foliage along the branches, and stronger resistance to winter injury. Aromatic, awl-shaped, spiny-pointed, blue-green needles (to 5/8” long) appear in groups of three. Fleshy, blackish, berry-like seed cones acquire a silvery bloom at maturity.

White catawba rhodie: Rhododendron catawbiense

The genus Rhododendron contains 500 to 900 species and includes both rhododendrons and azaleas. Most are evergreen but some are deciduous. They originate mostly from the Northern Hemisphere with high concentrations in western China, the Himalayas and Myanmar and are grown for their showy spring flowers that range in colors from white to pink, red, and purple. Large trusses of flowers are produced at the tips of branches followed by a flush of new leaves. Size can range from 1-2 feet to over 15 feet tall depending upon the cultivar. ‘Album’ is a showy white flower. Best grown in acidic, organically rich, well-drained soils in part shade. Its shallow, fibrous root systems will benefit greatly from a mulch. 

Japanese plum yew: Cephalotaxus harringtonii ‘Duke Gardens’

Commonly called plum yew, this dioecious coniferous evergreen typically grows as a shrub to 5-10’ tall, but may be trained as a tree that could eventually rise to heights of 20-30’ tall. Growth is slow, however, and it often takes as much as 10 years for a plant to reach 4’ tall. It is native to shaded woodland areas in Japan, northeastern China and Korea. Female flowers produce fleshy, edible, plum-like fruits (to 1″ long). Excellent tolerance for both shade and hot weather make this species an interesting substitute in the southeastern U.S. for true yews (Taxus) that usually struggle south of USDA Zone 7.

Dwarf mugo pine: Pinus mugo var. pumilio

Pinus mugo is commonly called mugo pine or Swiss mountain pine. ‘Pumilio’ is a popular dwarf variety displaying dark green needles on dense branches. A very useful, slow growing evergreen for rock gardens, mass plantings, and in mixed groupings with broadleaf plants. Makes a great container specimen. With bright green needles in bundles of two, dull brown cones, and scaly brown-gray bark, mugos are native to the mountains of central and southern Europe from Spain to the Balkans. ‘Pumilio’ is slow growing, reaching 3 to 5 ft. tall, 6 to 10 ft. wide in 10 years.


GROUNDCOVERS & MASSES

Creeping thyme: Thymus praexox ‘Albiflorus’

Thymus praecox is a creeping, low-growing, gray-green aromatic plant with tiny white blooms in summer. Commonly called white creeping thyme, it’s attractive to butterflies and bees, is typically deer resistant, and can withstand light foot traffic. It’s often used as a ground cover, but also has limited culinary use. Plants are evergreen in mild winters.

Calamintha: Calamintha nepata subsp. nepeta

This bushy, rhizomatous, perennial herb of the mint family is native to Europe and the Mediterranean region and typically forms a dense, indefinitely spreading, foliage mat with upright leafy flowering stems rising to 12-18” tall. Its leaves are fragrant, especially when crushed and its tiny, lilac to white flowers appear during a lengthy June-September bloom period that are attractive to bees and other insect pollinators.

Moonbeam coreopsis: Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’

Moonbeam coreopsis is a rhizomatous perennial which typically grows in dense, bushy clumps to 1-3′ tall. Features yellow, daisy-like flowers (1-2″ diameter) that appear singly in loose clusters in a profuse and lengthy late spring to late summer bloom. Shearing plants in mid-summer will promote a fall rebloom. This hardy native, also known as tickseed, is deer and rabbit resistant, tolerates low moisture, likes full sun, and attracts butterflies.  

Blue star: Amsonia hubrichtii

Commonly called threadleaf bluestar, Hubricht’s bluestar, or Arkansas amsonia, this herbaceous perennial is native to the Ouachita Mountains in central Arkansas. An erect, clump-forming plant that is primarily grown for its blue spring flowers, feathery green summer foliage and golden fall color, it’s relatively drought tolerant, pest resistant, and a butterfly magnet. Powdery blue, half-inch star-like flowers appear in clusters in late spring atop stems rising to 3′ tall. Feathery, soft-textured, needle-like, alternate leaves are bright green in spring and summer, but turn bright gold in autumn. 

Autumn moor grass: Sesleria autumnalis

This cool-season grass begins the season with bright green blades. In late summer and early fall, it produces silvery inflorescences that complement its golden-hued autumn foliage and persist throughout the winter. Sesleria makes tidy groundcovers en masse or in small groups planted in rock gardens or as perennial edgers. Linear evergreen leaves form subtle, attractive tufts, which occur in varying shades of yellowish-green, green, and blue. Tough and cold hardy, Sesleria grow to about a foot tall and wide with flower spikes to 18 inches.

White muhly grass: Muhlenbergia capillaris ‘White Cloud’ 

‘White Cloud’ is noted for its attractive summer foliage and spectacular clouds of fall flowers. Native to prairies, pine barrens, and open woodlands, it has fluffy plumes of delicate white flowers that rise a foot above its narrow blue green foliage. Glossy, wiry, thread-like, dark green leaves and stems form an attractive basal clump; in bloom ‘White Cloud’ can be 3 to 4 ft. tall and 2 to 3 ft. wide. The flowering stalks and seed pods will mature and persist into winter. Its masses of airy, open, loosely branched inflorescences (each to 12” long) floating above the foliage in a lengthy fall bloom are its hallmarks.

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