Native Shade: The Willow Oak

A Willow Oak (Quercus phellos) blends the solid structure of the red oak family — think of the Northern Red Oak or the lesser known but similarly impressive Shumard Oak — with the fine-textured appearance of a willow tree’s leaves. Given room to grow in full sun, it is magnificent.

Virginia Sweetspire – A Close Look at a Native Shrub

Itea virginica – Virginia Sweetspire – is recognizable in the landscape not for its memorable shape so much as its impact when planted as a mass. A close look reveals the individual features that combine so well to create this effect.

Sweetbay or Swamp? Either Way, a Magnolia to Consider

A native of the eastern U.S., the Sweetbay Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana) grows as a small tree or multi-stemmed shrub with an airy feel, more delicate than the better-known Southern Magnolia. It lightens the garden with leaves that open chartreuse in spring, grow longer than wide, and show silver when turned by the wind. The clustered leaves provide a clear view of the plant’s graceful stems, and in a breeze, the leaf clusters seem to float.