Nancy and John Matthews extensively researched plants that would succeed in this moist, full-sun, deer-ridden site and still provide color and interest all year round in their North Barrington, Illinois, garden. They consider this especially important during the gray winters characteristic of the Midwest. With the help of Citizens for Conservation, an organization dedicated to land stewardship and conservation, they chose a diverse mix of tough, beautiful plants that go the distance through the seasons. Plants like stephanandra, black-eyed Susan, Joe Pye weed, Shasta daisy, and feather reed grass offer subtle colors, textures, and movement with natural good looks that temper the formality of the house beyond. Austrian pines and Bradford pear add consistent color and structure, lending a sense of permanence that echoes the timelessness of their brick background.
Bradford pear (Pyrus calleryana ‘Bradford’, USDA Hardiness Zones 5–8)
Austrian pine (Pinus nigra, Zones 5–8)
‘Gateway’ Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium maculatum ‘Gateway’, Zones 5–11)
‘Crispa’ cutleaf stephanandra (Stephanandra incisa ‘Crispa’, Zones 3–8)
‘Becky’ Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum × superbum ‘Becky’, Zones 5–8)
‘Karl Foerster’ feather reed grass (Calamagrostis × acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’, Zones 5–9)
‘Goldsturm’ black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’, Zones 4–9)