Friday, May 29, 2015

Design of a Long Island Native Garden Part II

Long Island Native Planting 

Two years ago I was given the opportunity to design a Long Island native planting and was delighted to be back to design the other side of the property this past summer of 2014.  As mentioned previously in part I of this post I do enjoy a good challenge and this was yet another fulfilling experience.  As in the first round I was determined to create a native garden that was environmentally sound and aesthetically pleasing.  As you may know...this is not an easy task when it comes to planning natives.

Long Island Native Planting Before

The grounds started off as a heavily wooded area with an existing asphalt roadway leading from a back gate to a bridge that gave access to the other parts of the property.  The area was densely blanketed with heavy foliage mainly including non-native trees (some expired), numerous vines and weeds.  In addition to a native planting, the non-environmentally sound asphalt driveway needed to be removed and replaced with a permeable paver walkway that was environmentally friendly.
Long Island Native Planting After (with Permeable Paver Walkway and Planting)

After a full day of demolition and removal of asphalt and debris, the area was graded and the permeable walkway was constructed leading a path through the gardens to be.  This was the start of my design becoming a reality followed by a new fence and the plantings which were on the way.  Come stroll along and view a series of before and after photos of the gardens as they are transformed into what they are today.
Long Island Native Planting Before
Long Island Native Garden After with Permeable Paver Walkway and Planting

Long Island Native Planting and Walkway Before

Long Island Native Planting After with Permeable Paver Walkway and Planting

Long Island Native Planting After with Permeable Paver Walkway and Planting
Here are some of the plantings that were used in the garden.   I used a combination of shade tolerant native evergreens, flowering shrubs and perennials to achieve a garden that would provide interest throughout all seasons and serve the function of providing an inviting pathway from one entrance of the property to the next. Below are some descriptions of each selection.
American Holly Ilex opaca (Native Holly)

Hardy in zones 5-9, American Holly is a native evergreen to the eastern United States.  It prefers to be grown in partial to full shade and matures to a height of 15-30 feet tall by 10-20 feet wide but can be maintained at a smaller size.  Inconspicuous greenish-white flowers appear in spring followed by red berries which ripen in fall and persist throughout the winter and are enjoyed by wildlife.
Juniperus virginiana (Eastern Red Cedar)

Eastern Red Cedar is a hardy coniferous evergreen native to the northeast.   It is hardy in zones 6-9 and prefers to be grown in full sun to partial shade.  Juniperus virginiana grows to a mature size of 15-25 feet tall by 6-10 feet wide in a columnar habit.  Foliage is a desirable feathery blue-green and the plant makes an attractive screening in the landscape. 

Ilex glabra (Inkberry)

Inkberry is a hardy mid-sized evergreen shrub with glossy green leaves hardy in zones 4-9.  It prefers to be grown in full sun to partial shade and reaches a mature height and width of 4-6 feet. Small white flowers in spring are followed by black berries in fall.  This plant is known to be tolerant of a variety of conditions.

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel)

Mountain Laurel is an excellent shrub for shady areas and is hardy in zones 4-9. It is noted for its leathery glossy evergreen leaves that are dark green above and yellow green beneath along with attractive pale pink blooms in spring.  Hardy in zones 4-9, Mountain Laurel prefers partial to full shade and grows to a mature height and width of 3-10 feet.

 Arrowwood Viburnum dentatum (Native Viburnum)

Viburnum denatum is native to the eastern United States and hardy in zones 3-8. It is a useful medium-sized to large deciduous shrub that is tolerable of many growing conditions and soil types.   Flattened clusters of creamy white blooms appear in late spring into early summer and when planted in groupings with other viburnum cultivars flowers develop into blue-black berries that attract birds.   In fall, foliage turns to shades of yellow, burgundy or purple-red for additional interest.  Arrowood Viburnum grows to a height and width of 6-10 feet and prefers to be grown in full sun to part shade.
Eupatorium dubium Little Joe (Dwarf Joe Pye Weed)

Joe Pye Weed. also known as White Snakeroot or Mist Flower is a native perennial displaying enormous umbrella-like rosy-purple blooms in mid-summer throughout early fall.   Hardy in zones 4-9, Eupatorium grows in full sun to full shade to 36-42 inches tall and 30-36 inches wide and will tolerate moist soil.  The variety 'Little Joe' is the first compact form of this plant.
Solidago sphacelata Golden Fleece (Goldenrod)

 Solidago (Goldenrod) is known for its desirable and outstanding display of golden-yellow blooms appearing in late summer into early fall.  Hardy in zones 4-9, Goldenrod prefers to be grown in full sun to part shade and displays an attractive clumping compact habit growing to 18-24 inches in height and width.  Solidago should not to be confused with the common allergen ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia)!
 Iris versicolor (Blue Wild Iris)

Hardy in zones 4-8, Wild Iris (Iris versicolor) is a marginal aquatic plant that forms clumps of sword shaped, blue-green leaves with stalks of violet blue blooms in late spring throughout early summer. Wild Iris grows to a height of 30-42 inches tall and 30-36 inches wide and prefers full sun to part shade.

Whereas the first native planting was mostly in full sun this one had its own challenges in that is was in a woodland shaded area.  Having done massive research for the first project it was easier to select the plantings for this one and I was pleased with the results as was the homeowner.  If you are planning a native garden the moral of the story once again environmentally sound garden can also be aesthetically pleasing!

As Always...Happy Gardening!

Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening,© Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.


  1. Wow... What a beautiful result and I love seeing how the native plants have been used... Michelle

    1. Thank you Michelle. The project was a bit of a challenge but mission accomplished!

  2. Well done, beautiful job! (And with native plants)! Question about the Inkberry... I've never heard of it, and I'm wondering if it might make a nice formal hedge around my roses?

    1. Thank you Carol. Inkberry resembles boxwood in a way and does make for a nice hedging plant. It does get taller though so you would have to maintain it to keep it full. It would work with roses.

  3. Great garden, I'm trying to use more and more natives too. Wonderful job:)

    1. This area called for a native planting and I wanted to make it look colorful and inviting. Being on an island with many homes on the water and after hurricane Sandy, I have been getting a lot more calls for preserved areas that require native flora.

  4. The difference is amazing and using native plants too, is to be commended. Lovely result.

  5. Awesome job, they must be thrilled pink.
    What a change, you did a magic trick there.
    I have that same wild path to the cove.
    Wish I could do something with it.
    Certain times it's just wet and soggy.
    At 79, can't walk down there unless
    someone is with me. Thanks--- yvonne

    1. The area is a main passage way for residents crossing through to the beach and was heavily overgrown. It needed to be functional as well as organized...but with native plantings! Thank you Yvonne for your kind words.

  6. Lee this is fabulous...and you have such a great knack for!

  7. Wish my walk looked like this.


Thank you for visiting. I love reading your comments and knowing you have been here, and will try to reciprocate on your blog. If you have any questions I will try my very best to answer them. As always...HAPPY GARDENING!