Landscape Architects Share Their Favorite Tree, Shrub and Groundcover

My Favorite Tree

Willow Oak
(Quercus phellos)

Beautiful Large Oak Tree There are so many trees I love but my current favorite is the Willow Oak. The leaves of this beautiful oak tree resemble the willow, are bright green in the spring, dark green in summer and change from yellow to bronze to russetred in the fall. It is more easily transplanted than many other oaks because of its shallow/spreading root system so it’s great for urban environments. It is also a large, fast growing tree. While the willow oak is commonly found in moist, well-drained soils and bottomlands, it is very adaptable to drier soils and is perfect for rain gardens.

Jennifer Nitzky, PLA, ASLA, ISA
President, ASLA-NY,

Robert A.M. Stern Architects, New York, NY
(212) 967-5100 •

My Favorite Shrub

Phenomenal Lavender
(Lavender x intermedia ‘Phenomenal’)

Lavender Field Often thought of as a perennial, lavender is actually a woody subshrub, reaching heights of 2-3 feet. I absolutely adore lavender for its visual interest and fragrance, evoking images of Provence. You are bound to hear honey bees buzzing and see butterflies hovering amongst its fragrant foliage and flowers. This particular evergreen is extremely cold hardy, does not die back in the winter like other lavenders and is known for its tolerance to heat, disease, and deer. Use it as a border or plant en masse, always in full sun. With its keen silvery foliage and brilliant purple blooms it surely lives up to its name, Phenomenal.

Colleen E. Vacelet, ASLA, LEED® AP BD+C
Intreegue Design, Inc., Baltimore, Maryland
(410) 205-9040 •

My Favorite Groundcover

Purple Dead Nettle
‘Purple Dragon’
(Lamium maculatum)

Purple Flower Plant Because this favorite shade groundcover divulges more of a silver hue than green variegation, it enlightens any dark spot in a garden. The bold purple flower spikes entice the eye to flow across the top of the foliage. Lamium are frost hardy and grow well in moist soils. Planting season and light requirement varies with flower color: Purple Dragon should be planted in spring and prefers shade. Lamium is a great plant for under a mature tree where not much else will grow, as it spreads quickly by rooting stems.

Trish Coqueron
TC Landscape Design, Souderton, PA
(610) 574-1801 •

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