Perfect Plants for a Midwest Woodland Garden

Stream Garden

David Baker's garden in Ann Arbor, Michigan, simulates the Appalachian Trail for hikers. A mountain stream inspired David's front yard, a sloping woods with elegant waterfalls and blossoms.

Blue Cassel Hydrangea

Repeat blooming Hydrangea x macrophylla 'Blue Cassel' blooms on old and fresh wood, prolonging bloom period. The shrub thrives in filtered to partial light and grows 3–4 feet.

Lavender Munstead

The lavender David grows is Lavandula 'Munstead', 'Hidcote', and 'Phenomenal.' Originally from the Mediterranean, lavender flourishes in sunny, well-drained gardens like David's gravel yard.

Chocolate Shogun Astilbe

Shade-loving perennial Astilbe 'Chocolate Shogun' has pale pink plumes over dark purple-brown leaves. Near pools and water features, plant in damp locations. Four-zone hardy.

Pennsylvania Rhododendron

It blooms in July, unlike other spring-flowering rhododendrons, and grows 6–8 feet tall. The pink azalea-like blossoms with long eye-lash stamens.

Blue Deckle Mountain Hydrangea

Hydrangea serrata 'Blue Deckle' is a 4-foot lacecap hydrangea. After summer's light blue blossoms, foliage becomes reddish purple in fall. (David developed fall-perfect gardens).

Tuff Stuff Mountain Hydrangea

Hydrangea serrata 'Tuff Stuff', a cold-tolerant mountain hydrangea, with spectacular lacecap flowers in pink or purple (depending on soil acidity) and dark green foliage that doesn't fade.

Turk's Cap Asiatic Lily

David's garden looks exotic with his tall Turk's cap lilies (Lilium superbum). They are 6–8 feet tall and orange-flecked, pink, burgundy, or yellow. Fall bulb planting in full sun to part shade.