Today James Dillon, a horticulturalist and landscape designer in Kearneysville, West Virginia, is sharing his beautiful front walk.
I planted this garden in 2014. I use a lot of different plants in order to maximize the season of interest and ecological benefit. Plants bloom in the garden from early spring until late fall. Ground covers like gold star (Chrysogonum virginianum, Zones 5–9) and ‘Karmina’ geranium (Geranium × cantabrigiense ‘Karimina’, Zones 5–8) cover areas with their low evergreen foliage and bloom in May-June. Butterfly weed (Asclepia tuberosa, Zones 4–10) seeds around lightly, providing sustenance to monarch butterfly larvae. Seasonal plants bloom at various time during the season, such as ‘Magnus’ and ‘PowWow Wild Berry’ coneflower (Echinacea hybrids, Zones 5–9), peony (Paeonia hybrids, Zones 3–8), Clematis, anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum, Zones 4–9), ‘Baby Joe’ Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium dubium ‘Baby Joe’ Zones 4–8), white balloon flower (Platycodon grandiflorus, Zones 3–8), tall garden phlox (Phlox paniculata, Zones 4–8), ‘Walkers Low’ and ‘Blue Wonder’ catmints (Nepeta × faassenii, Zones 3–8), ‘Caesar’s Brother’ iris (Iris siberica, Zones 3–8), iron butterfly ironweed (Vernonia lettermanii, Zones 4–9), ‘Zagreb’ coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata, Zones 3–9), ‘May Night’ salvia (Salvia × sylvestris ‘Mainacht’, Zones 4–8), ‘Husker’s Red’ penstemon (Penstemon digitalis, Zones 3–8), ‘Woods Blue’ aster (Aster novi-belgii, Zones 4–8), violets (Viola sp.), ‘White Cloud’ and ‘Blue Cloud’ calamint (Calamintha nepeta, Zones 5–9), Montauk Daisy (Nipponanthemum nipponicum, Zones 5–9), various Sedum ground covers, red creeping thyme (Thymus praecox ‘Coccineus’, Zones 3–8), plantain-leaf pussytoes (Antennaria plantaginifolia, Zones 3–8), threadleaf bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii, Zones 5–9), Salvia lyrata (Zones 4–9), ‘Golden Fleece’ goldenrod (Solidago sphacelata, Zones 4–8), Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia, Zones 5–9), bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, Zones 2–6), brunnera (Brunnera macrophylla, Zones 3–8), and ‘Goldsturm’ black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida var. sillvantii ‘Goldstrum’, Zones 3–9).
Shrubs, trees, and grasses create the garden’s structure: ‘China Girl’ holly (Ilex ‘Mesog’, Zones 5–9), ‘Buzz’ butterfly bush (Buddleia hybrid, Zones 5–9), ‘Shenandoah’ switchgrass (Panicum virgatum, Zones 3–9), Mexican feather grass (Nassella tenuissima, Zones 6–10), ‘Karl Foerster’ reed grass (Calamagrostis × acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’, Zones 5–9), sideoats grass (Bouteloua curtipendula, Zones 3–9), ‘Pendula’ white spruce (Picea glauca, Zones 3–4), ‘Fastigiata’ plum yew (Cephalotaxus harringtonia, Zones 6–9), ‘Viridis’ Japanese maple (Acer palmatum, Zones 5–9), ‘Rose Creek’ abelia (Abelia × chinensis, Zones 6–9), oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia, Zones 5–9), ‘All Gold’ Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra, Zones 5–9), ‘Cole’s Prostrate’ weeping hemlock (Tsuga canadensis, Zones 3–7), fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus, Zones 3–9), black tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica, Zones 4–9), ‘Jacobson’ mugo pine (Pinus mugo, Zones 2–7), ‘Red Fox’ katsura (Cercidiphyllum japonicum ‘Rotfuchs’, Zones 4–8), and ‘Compacta’ hinoki cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa, Zones 4–8).
Containers with specimens such as bird nest spruce (Picea abies ‘Nidiformis’, Zones 3–8), dwarf white spruce (Picea glauca ‘Conica’ Zones 3–6), blue rug juniper (Juniperus horizontalis, Zones 3–9), ‘Sherwood Compact’ mugo pine, and SunSparkler sedum (Sedum hybrid, Zones 4–9) add long seasons of interest with their varying textures and colors. An unplanted large blue vase provides a focal point.
Annuals such as Mexican sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia), tall verbena (Verbena bonariensis), and zinnia (Zinnia elegans) are sown for added summer color. The monarch butterflies are frequent visitors, although last year we didn’t have as many as usual. Mums remain hardy in the drier areas under the eves near the house foundation.
Looking down the front walk early in the season.
The same view with everything in autumn garb.
The garden being installed, with assistance from a four-legged helper.
The wide mix of perennials ensures that something is always blooming.
Goldstar is a good ground cover, native to eastern North America.
Looking from the house toward the street.
River stones along the walkway minimize erosion from the rain runoff and widen it. Taller plants are given room to sprawl into the river stone swath rather than blocking the walkway. The river stone areas also provide space to add pieces of driftwood, shells, and interesting rocks.
The garden is rich green on a wet day.
Stormwater isn’t allowed to just run off. A rain chain carries water into a dry well, watering a ‘Red Fox’ katsura and black tupelo. The other downspout is directed toward the fringe tree.
One last view of the garden, with orange butterfly weed in bloom.
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I love your beautiful, welcoming walk & how you have planned to make it interesting for each season. Using river rock stones along the pathway to minimize erosion is a great idea. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you so much and glad you enjoyed!
The first thing I said when I saw your first picture was, "Oh WOW!" I kept saying "Oh WOW!" with each subsequent photo. Thank you so much for sharing the beauty you have created!!!
THANK YOU! You are too kind! It made my day reading all you nice plant peoples' comments. Thank you again for your comment : )
No words for this. Love it all, James
Thank you! I'm so glad to hear you like and really appreciate your nice comment!
James - thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience. Your long list of plants will no doubt help others with succession planning. I like how you photographed the same area during different seasons and also when you started the garden vs. six years later. The curved front walk makes it so much more appealing, too.
Sure thing and thank you! We were very happy the house had that curved walkway when we bought it, could not have designed it better : )
Love seeing the walkway garden throughout the seasons - you have created a beautiful, colorful, textural place. Thank you for listing the plants you have used - I will borrow from it liberally!
Thank you for saying so and I'm very glad to hear you like it! I'd be disappointed if you didn't pull from the plant list, there are many superstars in there! Thank you again for your comment : )
Excellent!!!! Thanks for all of the plant names, good info.
So nice to see the same gorgeous photo in summer and then in autumn- still holds up beautifully, bet it's still gorgeous in winter too.
Love your style, excellent design and plant choices! Inspiring!
Thank you!!! Sure thing and I'm so glad to hear. I'm glad my wife talked me into doing a design for this area because my background is in nursery and it was bound to become a "collection of plants" if I didn't take a little while to plan it out. Thank you again, you plant people are the best : )
Simply stunning!!! But.....how long did it take you to list all of the plant names, etc.? And I just must say ditto to what SimpleSue wrote! Thank you for taking all that time to share the beauty and knowledge with us!
Thank you so much!!! Hahaha, writing the plant list took a couple of hours, and of course I missed quite a few! Absolutely my pleasure and I appreciate your nice comment : )
Love your use of so many natives. I too have many and discovered the groundcovers goldstar, bearberry and pussytoes this past summer. So excited to add them to my garden.
Thanks, and I agree, natives rule! I am so pleased with them all. Native evergreen perennial groundcover, it doesn't get much better than that. Oh, add Geum fragaroides to your list too. They all can be a little slow at first, but that's normal. They may mostly grow roots the first year before they start covering some ground. Cheers and thanks for your comment : )
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