Favorite Tree, Shrub, and Groundcover
My Favorite Tree
Serviceberry or Shadblow (Amelanchier canadensis)
I chose one of the most versatile trees in my planting pallet: the Serviceberry or Shadblow. This is a native tree with an ornamental flair. It’s one of the first trees to show off its white flowers confirming spring has arrived. The red berries of the Shadblow attract many song birds and in the fall its leaves change to a brilliant orange to red color. Its multistem structure gives it great visual interest throughout the year. But its most important trait is its versatility. It thrives in both wet and dry locations, so it’s perfect to use in rain gardens and biofiltration swales. Adaptability and beauty define the Shadblow.
Thomas R. Tavella, FASLA, PLA, LEED-AP
Immediate Past President,
American Society of Landscape Architects
President, Tavella Design Group, Orange, CT
(203) 410-1940 • www.tavelladesigngroup.com
My Favorite Shrub
False Spirea (Sorbaria sorbifolia)
It’s tough to pick just one shrub as a favorite! So, I’ll pick one that deserves more attention. False Spirea is a very versatile border shrub with great foliage and flowers. It’s not too picky about where you plant it. False Spirea will take full sun or shade, and it even thrives in moist soils. They’re relatively inexpensive for lots of foliage and flowers, and they colonize and fill in quickly. False Spireas leaf out early with red-tinted leaves, slowly turning to deep green. Then, they have creamy white flowers in June and July, followed by brown plumes of spent flowers. If you need a durable 5-10′ tall back drop shrub that flowers consistently, try the False Spirea!
Linda Farrington, RLA
Landscape Architect and Sales Associate
Rocco Fiore & Sons, Libertyville, IL
(847) 680-1207 • www.roccofiore.com
My Favorite Groundcover
Vinca minor, commonly known as Periwinkle, is an excellent evergreen groundcover for use in partial and full shade locations. It has opposite, elliptic leaves and has showy blue-purple flowers that bloom spring through summer. Vinca minor is a creeping evergreen that is relatively soil adaptable, but does best in moist to well drained soils. I like to use it as the border to foundation plantings, sweeping bed line borders, in raised planters, or under woody plantings to tie landscape plantings together. It is also an excellent groundcover for soil erosion purposes or in tight locations.
Joseph D. Perello, LLA, RLA, ASLA
Principal / VP and Director of Landscape Architecture
Suburban Consulting Engineers, Inc.
Mt. Arlington & Wall Township, NJ
(973) 398-1776 • www.suburbanconsulting.com