David Jones is passionate about his plants, trees, and shrubs – not only because it is his job! He loves talking about them, caring for them, researching them, and awing in their variety and characteristics. Who doesn’t love the wonder of nature surrounding them? And with passion, comes sharing… David has shared with us his favorite garden plants (which are all in his garden) – the ones that pop out, how they play well with other plants, and honestly, how amazing they are! There are so many plants to love, but we will be focusing on his favorite annual, perennial, tree, and shrub.
Let’s dig in!
David’s Favorite Annual
Lantana ‘Bandana Gold’
Lantana ‘Bandana Gold’ has waves of brilliant golden flower clusters that sprout out amongst green foliage. Flowers bloom June through fall. Pollinators love Lantana. You’ll see lots of butterflies fluttering around. It is deer resistant as well. Lantana enjoys full sun, well-drained to medium drained soil, and does not require much watering. It is drought tolerant making it an easy plant to care for. It matures to about 15 inches tall by 24 inches wide.
The ‘Bandana Gold’ Lantana is David’s favorite annual because it keeps flowering from early summer all the way until fall. He loves the rich gold color of the flowers, which he gets to see over and over again throughout the season. It is nice because it is drought tolerant, so you don’t need to water it as much. David has Lantana in pots and in the ground.
David’s Favorite Perennial
Butterfly Weed ‘Asclepias tuberosa’ (Milkweed/Chigger-Plant)
Butterfly Weed is a wonderful nectar and larvae food source for the monarch butterfly. The blooms are round and clustered with orange, red, yellow, white, or greenish flowers. The typical orange color predominates. Hair-tufted seeds can be found on them. Foliage is lance-shaped to narrowly egg-shaped, scattered along fuzzy upright stems. Butterfly weed is best planted in the summer, enjoys full sun and dry well-drained soil, is deer resistant, and pollinator-friendly. It matures to about one to three feet tall.
The Perennial Plant Association named the ‘Asclepias tuberosa’ Butterfly Weed, Perennial of the Year in 2017. “Milkweed” is the only plant that the Monarch butterfly utilizes in its larval stage in order to survive.
This is one of David’s favorite perennials because the colors really pop! It spreads out in the garden and is light and airy. It really compliments everything else in the garden and is useful to Monarchs… and David loves his butterflies!
David’s Favorite Tree
Paperbark Maple (Acer Griseum)
The Paperbark Maple is a slow growing, small-sized, deciduous tree. It has brown exfoliating bark that reveals a cream underbelly. Paperbark is used as a focal point in a winter landscape due to its a-peeling bark. The peeling paper-like bark stands out well against a snowy background, hence its name, Paperbark. The foliage is soft green that changes to deep rich red in autumn. Paperbark Maple matures to about 30 feet tall and 25 feet wide. It prefers full sun and average, moist, well-drained soil. It will adapt to most soils, but is not drought tolerant. It needs its water!
David’s favorite part of the Paperbark Maple is its unique exfoliating bark. Its cinnamon brown color draws your eye in and adds texture to the landscape. He has one planted in his yard at home and he says, “It is a tree for all seasons.”
David’s Favorite Shrub
Winterberry Holly ‘Winter Red’ (Ilex verticillata – Female)
The Winterberry Holly, unlike evergreen holly, is deciduous. It grows eight to nine feet tall with a comparable or greater spread – prefers full sun to partial shade, and medium to wet moisture. They are great for rain gardens, but they also thrive in ordinary garden soil.
In the fall, the green foliage turns yellow, providing a vibrant contrast to the bright red berries. The lack of leaves makes the red fruit more dramatic. Don’t be surprised to see songbirds flocking to this classic shrub. Many birds eat the fruits. Winterberry flowers are small and not particularly showy, but are popular with honeybees and other pollinators.
A unique characteristic about this plant is that you need at least two of them! There are male and female Winterberry Hollies that need to be planted in close proximity from each other to help with the process of pollinating to produce fruit. Depending on what female holly you choose, there is a specific male plant to go with it. David suggests getting ‘Southern Gentleman (Male Cultivator)’ to pair with ‘Winter Red’ for pollinating.
David enjoys the Winter Berry Holly ‘Winter Red’ because it brightens winter days with colorful fruit, is suited for every landscape, and is easy to grow! It’s also simply a beautiful shrub all year-round.
Wow! What a great selection!
David said it was hard to only pick four of his favorites, but he would be happy to tell you what else he loves and what works well in your very own garden. Let’s hope you have the same passion as David does and begin your own favorite list! All of David’s favorites can be found here at Bucks Country Gardens. And when selecting your own garden favorites, remember to choose plants appropriate to your environment and location – follow your heart and pick which ones excite you! We really do love our plants. We hope to see you soon!
David Jones | Horticulturist, Customer Service Specialist, & ISA Certified Arborist
Heather Fesmire | Digital Marketing Assistant
Material from Penn State/University of Florida Extensions, Green Profit Magazine “Plant of the Hour” by Kylee Baumle, and Bucks Country Gardens’ July 4, 2014 Blog “A Few of Our Favorite Trees & Shrubs” by Dalissa Reeder, Marketing Assistant and David Jones