Ask the Professionals: What's Your Favorite Plant?
With spring in swing and summer on the horizon, it’s time to think about what you’re going to do to spruce up your outdoor space. We asked professionals from several local nurseries and landscaping companies to tell us about their favorite plants, since they have so much experience working with a variety of elements. Thanks to their expertise, we hope to inspire readers of Roanoke Valley HOME to try something new in the garden this season. Enjoy!
My favorite plant to use in my landscape designs is the Colorado blue spruce, also known as Picea pungens, ‘Glauca.’ It is the perfect specimen plant for a property border or foundation specimen in an island bed. I love the texture it provides as well as a contemporary color contrast. It is a standout when paired with other plants in the burgundy or chartreuse family. Ericka Bowling, Ericka Bowling Landscape Designs
Becky Balzer, Townside Gardens
I like the butterfly bush because it is low maintenance, attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, and produces masses of flowers all summer into fall. It comes in multiple varieties and is available in blue, pink, red, violet, yellow and white. The shrub grows 5- to 10-feet tall and wide. Butterfly bushes grow well in shrub or perennial borders, and the fragrant flowers can be used for cutting. Norman Tharpe, Water Garden Designs by Tharpe Landscaping
Just as the seasons change, so do my favorite plants. With new and better varieties of plants constantly being introduced, it is easy to find one to become a favorite. A new favorite perennial of mine is ‘Low Down’ Helianthus, or ‘Low Down’ willow-leaved sunflower. Just when you think all the color has been cooked out of your garden at the end of August, this fall bloomer brings life to the summer-baked garden. Plant about 18 to 24 inches apart in full sun, and expect it to grow to about 18 inches tall.
Mark Maslow, Southern Landscape Group
A favorite perennial of mine is Veronica penduncularis, the ‘Georgia Blue’ variety. This little beauty is an evergreen ground cover that is covered with tiny blue flowers in the spring. The delicate leaves may lead you to think it is a fussy plant, but once established, it is drought-and heat-tolerant. Deer leave it alone, and when it is finished flowering, it is a lush green carpet. In fall and winter the leaves turn a beautiful bronze color. It loves the sun and is perfect as a border plant, along a walkway, or in a rock garden. My Veronica ‘Georgia Blue’ at home is planted in a strip between my sidewalk and driveway. It started as a small plant in a quart container and is thriving at 4 inches tall and 3 feet wide. I do nothing to it and it rewards me every spring with a thick mat of cobalt blue flowers that last about 4 to 6 weeks. It’s really a great little plant.
Ronnie Mitchell, Ronnie Mitchell and Son Landscaping
Jason Childress, Varsity Landscaping and Grounds