July 7, 2011

Deer Resistant Plants for New Jersey Landscapes

Filed under: Deer-resistant Plants — admin @ 7:12 am

Most of us in New Jersey have been visited on an occasion or two by our world famous deer!  And, as we all know, when deer get hungry, they will eat anything.  However, Rutgers Cooperative Research & Extension, have put out a fact sheet number E271 that you can download from their website, www.njaes.rutgers.edu/extension, click on Lawn and Garden and you will see the Issues section.  You can get an enormous amount of information on  plants they have listed in the Rarely Damage and Seldom Rarely Damaged categories that might just be what you are looking for.  Categories are Annuals, Biennials, Bulbs, Ferns, Groundcovers, Ornamental Grasses, Perennials, Shrubs, Trees and Vines.

Our Landscape and Garden Designers at Live Oak Landscape will be most happy to go over a list of those plants that would be appropriate for your garden.

June 3, 2011

Ephemerals for Spring Gardens in New Jersey

Filed under: Deer-resistant Plants,Landscape Design — admin @ 6:16 am

The delicate blooms of spring ephemerals bring a fleeting  but breathtaking beauty to your garden.  These plants emerge early and come into bloom before most of the garden has started its show, then disappear altogether in early summer shortly after their flowers fade.  They are wonderful woodland flowers and here are some favorites: 

Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) has pink buds and soft green foliage that stands 1 foot tall.  The flowers are a wonderful sky blue.

Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginiana) will spread to form a carpet of sparkling white flowers flushed with pink. You can plant spring beauty in  a woodland garden or in a lawn underneath a shade of high trees but if you do plant in the lawn, mow after the blooms have faded and the foliage dies back.

Yellow Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum) sends up pairs of strappy green leaves sploched with brown in the early spring followed by festive  yellow flowers with swept-backed petals. Flower stems are about 6 inches high.

Dutchman’s breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) forms colonies of delicate ferny blue-green foliage. The creamy white or pink flowers dangle from arching stems about 5 inches from the ground.

Eastern shooting star (Dodecatheon meadia) sends up 10 inch tall flowers stalks from a tidy rosette of leaves.  Clusters of blooms with swept-back petals top the stems.  Plants are slow to establish but worth the wait.

March 14, 2011

Hellebores, Spring Flowering Perennials

Filed under: Deer-resistant Plants,Shade Gardening — admin @ 1:26 pm

Finally!  We may have our first signs of Spring coming up in our gardens and they are most welcome!  After this long, cold and dreary winter, hellebores are now poking their beautiful little heads up through the remnants of snow and cold mud.  They are the earliest of all spring flowering perennials and certainly the longest lasting.  Once upon a time, they were mainly a plant for collectors and were expensive and slow growing.  They have come a long way down in price and full sized plants are now quite affordable.

Like many other slow growing perennials, hellebores are little troubled by insects or diseases and most  herbivores avoid them.  Light preference is partial shade to shade and prefer humus rich soil, moist and well drained soil.  Hellebores can be used as edging, groundcover, mass plantings, rock gardens, woodland gardens and along paths.   Live Oak Landscape Maintenance will be delighted to introduce you to these amazing plants.

Warning:  Hellebores are poisonous in all of their parts, especially the roots.  Some people even break out into a rash by simply getting sap on their skin.  Wear gloves if you are subject to skin irritation.

March 1, 2010

Helleborus x hybridus, Lenten Rose

Filed under: Deer-resistant Plants — admin @ 12:18 pm

helleborus-hybridusTired of winter and ready for spring? This plant is one of the earlier bloomers, putting on it’s show in late February. It’s a bit pricey, so hold on to your wallet, but what a treasure in the shady woodland garden, or under a stand of birch trees. The flowers come first and grow to about 10” and then the dark, glossy, evergreen foliage grows to about 15”. Hellebores are perfect for the woodland garden, preferring a pH of 7.

February 22, 2010

Geranium x cantabrigiense

Filed under: Deer-resistant Plants — admin @ 1:09 pm

Geranium_sanguineumxThis is not your Mother’s big red geranium. This plant has more delicate foliage and makes a terrific groundcover. It prefers shade with lots of organic matter, and so works well under trees. It grows 8-12” high and has loads of light pink flowers from May to June. The foliage turns red and gold in the fall. Other geraniums to consider are Geranium macrorrhizum, (Bigroot Geranium) which grows to 15” high and has white to magenta flowers, is a big spreader, and Geranium sanguineum, (Bloody Cranesbill)6-8”, which is the most drought tolerant, because of it’s deep root system. The Rutgers Fact
Sheet lists G.macrorrhizum as the more deer tolerant, but Bowman’s Hill lists G. maculatum as the most deer resistant. So I guess it depends on the deer.

February 19, 2010


Filed under: Deer-resistant Plants — admin @ 11:42 am

epimediumsulphureumxAre you tired of pachysandra and looking for an unusual alternative for dry shade? Try epimediums. It may take 4-5 years for it to fill in, but the rewards are many. It has lovely flowers, the foliage emerges red, and remains evergreen in protected locations. Epimedium x versicolor ‘Sulphureum’ has yellow flowers 15-20” which bloom from April to May. The foliage, which is just as tall, emerges red and is evergreen into November. Foilage should be cut back in winter. Epimedium x perralchicum ‘Frohnleiten’ has deeper yellow flowers and a red center. Epimedium x youngianum ‘Niveum’  is more of a clump former; leaves die to the ground in winter, but it has lovely white flowers in the spring. The foliage has shades of purple in the fall. Try Epimedium with daffodils for a nice spring show

February 18, 2010

Baptisia australis, False Indigo

Filed under: Deer-resistant Plants — admin @ 5:25 am

BaptisiaxA native to the shore of NJ, this plant has deep roots, preferring sandy well-drained soil,  and is very drought tolerant. It has 30” tall blue flower spikes in May, and the foliage continues to grow to 4’. The foliage is gray green, but turns black after a heavy frost. It has a bit of a weedy look in the fall, and may look better planted around other tall plants like grasses. Favorite varieties are ‘Screaming yellow’ with bright yellow flowers, ‘Carolina moonlight’ with creamy yellow flowers, and ‘Purple smoke’ with blue flowers and growing to 36” tall.

February 17, 2010

Amsonia hubrectii, Blue Star

Filed under: Deer-resistant Plants — admin @ 5:56 am
Amsonia, Hubrectii
Fall color


This is fabulous plant that provides 3 seasons of interest. It is a Midwestern native, which produces vanilla scented, light blue flowers in May. The foliage is 2-3” long and thin and gives a soft texture to the garden. It looks best in drifts of 10-20, and is nice with lilac trees and tulips in the spring, or with grasses like panicum ‘heavy metal’ for more year round appeal.  It grows to about 3’ x 3’, prefers full sun, and moist soil. Fall color is yellow and persists into December. ‘Montana’ is the shortest at 2’. ‘Blue ice’ is about 30” H and has the darkest flowers. ‘Seaford Skies’ is 3’H and has light blue flowers, ‘Blue Ice has broader, glossier foliage.

February 16, 2010

Deer-resistant Plants, NJ: Spring Perennials

Filed under: Deer-resistant Plants — admin @ 11:21 am

I attended a lecture on “Tough Plants for Tough Sites”. It was given by Bruce Crawford, who is the Director of the Rutgers Gardens at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. Bruce is an oustanding speakers and has a way of making even the most mundane subjects, absolutely fascinating. For me, the subject of plant selection is anything but mundane, but for many, it can be overwhelming. Following are excerpts from his class but with a twist—I’m including only plants that are deer “resistant.” And, as we know, here in New Jersey, one can only say, “resistant” as deer have been know to eat just about anything if they are hungry enough. Each Day, I will add a new plant to the blog.

Aurunia saxitalis, Basket-of-gold

 Aurinia saxitalis, Basket of Gold  
Sometimes known as Hardy Allysum, this plant has silver foliage and masses of small yellow flowers which bloom in May. It grows to about 10-20” high and needs full sun and well-drained soil. It does well in rock gardens and looks great flowing over a boulder wall.