My Favorite Tree
While I love so many trees, the American Dogwood is the first one that jumped to mind. Cornus florida is a wonderful native North American standard that appears consistently in our planting specifications. It is a well behaved, structurally sound, small to mid-sized, shade tolerant, flowering ornamental that provides great fall color, a decorative, delicate red berry and a picturesque form. When these trees are in peak flower, I would argue they have no rival for their delicate, graceful beauty. They really have it all!
John R. Conte, RLA, ASLA, Principal Landscape Architect
Conte & Conte, LLC, Greenwich, CT
(203) 249-8325 • conteandconte.com
My Favorite Shrub
Fragrant Judd Viburnum
Viburnum x juddi
This compact shrub has shown excellent adaptability and versatility in the landscape. We have had great success utilizing this shrub in many situations within both multifamily and residential applications due to its fragrant, profuse flowers in midspring, adaptability in partial sun to full sun conditions, and resistance to insect infestation and disease. The compact nature allows for us to implement them as a focal point specimen or groupings in large landscape scenarios. It is a staple for our landscape palette.
T. David Van Zelst, President, RLA, ASLA
Van Zelst, Inc., Wadsworth, IL
(847) 623-3580 • vanzelst.com
My Favorite Ground Cover
Dwarf Chinese Astilbe
Astilbe chinensis ‘Pumila’
I’ve always been on the hunt for plants that grow well under the canopies of deciduous trees and can live in a cold zone. Today it’s especially important to find a species that can survive more extreme shifts in climate. My solid answer is Astilbe chinensis ‘Pumila,’ a wonderful pinkish-purple vertical accent in June-July that spreads to form low, broad clumps, 8” high by 18” wide. When established, they require little to no weeding, and continue to provide flowers and cover over many years. A truly terrific little plant!
Dorothy Pedersen, Owner
Nature’s Garden LLC, Minneapolis, MN
(952) 474-9500 • naturesgardenllc.com