APLD CT DESIGNER FORUM -- July/August 2011

Favorite Natives

Flowering Dogwood ( Cornus florida )

By Richard B. Rosiello

No small tree evokes a greater sense of place than Cornus florida , our native flowering dogwood.

Roughly textured bark, a horizontal branching habit, and small yellow flowers surrounded by showy bracts of white or pink in spring, along with leaves that turn shades of orange to purple and are accompanied by bright red fruits in the fall (an important food for birds) combine to make this eastern U.S. native a four-season tree.

It also happens to be deer-resistant.

Best sited in open shade, C. florida will also thrive in full sun as long as you provide ample moisture and keep the root zone cool.

You can keep the tree healthy by providing good air circulation to abate problems with anthracnose disease, plus supplemental watering during droughts and an occasional feeding with a slow-release organic fertilizer.

By planting a flowering dogwood, you plant a piece of New England that will help keep our native habitats viable for generations to come.

C. florida is readily available at many local garden centers, including Meadows Gardens and Scott's Landscaping in New Milford.

Richard B. Rosiello is an artist, photographer, lecturer, and the principal of Rosiello Designs, LLC. A NYBG-certified Landscape Designer and the current president of APLD CT, Richard resides in New Milford.

American Beautyberry ( Callicarpa americana )

By Mary Ellen Pirozzoli

Some call it Beautyberry, others call it by its botanical name, Callicarpa americana . I call it "Hey! What is that bush?" because that's what most people seem to say when they see this southeastern U.S. native shrub in early autumn.

When most other plants have begun their decline at summer's end, American Beautyberry rises to the forefront with beautiful violet-magenta berries massed in tight little bunches that encircle the branches and stand out against the dark green leaves of this shrub.

American Beautyberry, with its arching branches, can reach 6 feet in height and width.

When the leaves succumb to winter's chill, the berries persist and delight birds as they stand out against an early snow.

C. americana is deer-resistant and prefers partial shade and fertile well-drained soil.

Many local nurseries and garden centers carry C. dichotoma , American Beautyberry's Asian cousin, but you should ask specifically for our native Beautyberry or buy online at www.mailordernatives.com or www.lazyssfarm.com

Mary Ellen Pirozzoli is the principal designer of Verdesign LLC in Ridgefield.

'Alma Potschke' New England Aster
( Symphyotrichum novae-angliae 'Alma Potschke')

By Scott Hokunson

Growing to about 3 feet tall, this deer-resistant eastern native puts on a show in the late summer border. For up to six weeks, blossoms with rose-pink petals surrounding a yellow eye cover the plant, attracting butterflies and other pollinators.

Later, when blooms are spent, the seed heads will provide food for birds.

New England Asters are native to meadows and open areas, and prefer moist, average soil.

Pinch back in early summer for a more compact display, or let it grow to its full glory in the middle of the border.

'Alma Potschke' also makes a great cut flower so be sure to plant enough to brighten up your September floral arrangements.

'Alma Potschke' New England Aster can be found at White Flower Farm, and at most independent garden centers in Connecticut.

Scott Hokunson is a garden writer, speaker and the principal of Blue Heron Landscape Design, LLC, in Granby. He is also the co-host of "The Ultimate Backyard Makeover" on WTIC Fox61 in Hartford.