An attractive green landscape is not only about maintaining your lawn and plantings, it’s also about selecting the right plants for the job in the first place. Here we’ll look at some versatile plantings that you can incorporate into your landscape for greenery, as well as texture, shape and variety. These plants are all perfectly suited to Pleasant Valley, NY and surrounding areas falling within the plant hardiness zone 5b.
Boxwood is an excellent general purpose plant, great for filling in gaps in plant beds, for use in ornamental planters and even as a hedge. Several cultivars of boxwood (such as the Green Mound) grow little over a foot in height with an approximate spread of three feet, making them great for ground cover and to serve as a foundation for plant beds. Taller boxwood cultivars (such as buxus sempervirens) can grow up to 8 feet in height and maintain a tight shape that can be remolded to suit a specific purpose.
Umbrella Bamboo (Fargesia murielae)
Noted for its hardiness to colder climates and its non-invasive nature, umbrella bamboo is an attractive flowering bamboo cultivar that remains green all year round. Although not native to North America, it’s well-suited to the cooler temperatures of the northeastern United States. Umbrella bamboo is so named because of its tendency to grow in clumps and spread its foliage, creating a low, finely textured canopy. As the narrow leaves age, they turn a bright, golden yellow, further contributing to a landscape’s color. The reeds of this bamboo cultivar are fairly thin, growing to a delicate 0.5 inch diameter. The plant itself reaches an approximate height of between 10-14 feet, making it an excellent privacy screen.
American Holly (Ilex opaca)
Perhaps most famous for it’s use as a holiday season decoration, American holly is a tall evergreen growing between 30 and 60 ft, making it perfect for adding vertical interest to large yards. Dwarf varieties also exist for sizes that are more practical for smaller yards. The hard, spiked leaves are an attractive dark green on top and often pale yellow underneath, but even more distinct are it’s seasonal red berries that appear in late fall and early winter.
Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora)
As the name suggests, feather reed grass is an ornamental grass with a fine, feathery texture. Feather reed grass is extremely low maintenance and grows up to 5 feet tall. The flower section of the reed displays different coloring at different times of the year, starting off as green in spring, developing a purple hue in summer and then fading into golden brown during fall. Feather reed grass is perfect for rich, full landscapes to provide variation of texture, vertical lines or movement, but also works well in a minimalist setting because of its simple structure.
Rockspray Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster horizontalis)
Deciduous, the rockspray remains green until fall when the leaves turn an attractive red. The rockspray spreads horizontally with a mature reach of up to 8 feet across and a height of 2-3 feet. The small pink flowers that develop in early summer give way to bright red berries in the fall, making the rockspray ideal for introducing fiery colors to your plant beds.