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Live Oak Garden

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The Southern Live Oak tree provides food and shelter for wildlife (black bear, white-tailed deer, wild turkey, squirrels, and many birds) and deep shade for humans to escape the summer heat along our southeastern coastline. This iconic native tree provides a “sense of place” and shades southern favorites such as Gardenias, Camellias, Hydrangeas, and Ferns.



The groundcovers in this garden do well in sun and shade. They prefer moist well-drained soil. These low maintenance plants spread quickly making them a good choice for erosion control.

Bugleweed Black Scallop, ‘Ajuga reptans Binblasca’ has deep burgundy foliage that is crinkled and very glossy. Spring brings little spikes of bright blue, purple, pink or white blossoms.

Bugleweed Chocolate Chip, Ajuga reptans, Chocolate Chip’ has evergreen foliage with a satin sheen finish embossed with rich hues of chocolate brown, bronze, and maroon.

Creeping Jenny, Lysimachia nummularia, is a glossy, evergreen perennial that quickly creates a carpet of low-growing wandering stems covered in pairs lime green oval leaves.

Bugleweed ‘Burgundy Glow’, Ajuga ‘Burgundy Glow’ is noted for its tricolor foliage. This plant has short spikes of blue flowers which complements the creamy-white, rose burgundy, and dark green foliage.

Around the base of the Live Oak tree you will find perennial ‘Cape Shamrock, Oxalis bowiei’. The flowers are pink and blooms in late spring with foliage disappearing in our hot summers.


At the base of the tree is a circle of Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ and Hosta ‘White Feathers’. Hostas do require a deer repellant.


Fern are scatted along the boardwalk and are deer resistant.

Japanese Holly Fern, Cyrtomium falcatum, is named for its serrated, sharp-tipped, holly-like leaves.

Autumn Fern, Dryopteris erythrosora, offers beauty throughout the growing season, emerging coppery red in spring, maturing to  glossy, green by summer.


Hydrangeas grow well in partial shade which makes them a good selection under the Live Oak tree.

Hydrangea ‘Little Lime’, Hydrangea paniculata ‘Jane’ form a boarder along the stone path producing huge, lime-green flowers.

‘Blue Billow’ Lace Cap Hydrangea, Hydrangea serrata ‘Bluebird’, produces large light blue lacecap heads on long stems


The garden features several Camellias. ‘Maiden Blush Camellia, Camellia  sasanqua Maidens Blush’ produces blush pink flowers in great abundance in late autumn.

‘Camellia japonica April Tryst’ will produce bright red flowers in Spring.


Some other shrubs in the garden include:

Fragrant Sweetbox, Sarcococca ruscifolia, has sweet-smelling tiny flowers on hardy evergreen leaves.

Gardenia ‘Crown Jewel, Gardenia jasminoides ‘Crown Jewell’ variety is a small evergreen shrub with thick, dark green leaves and intensely fragrant, double white flowers.

Distylium ‘Vintage Jade’ is a dark evergreen that spreads wide.

Sunshine Ligustrum, Ligustrum sinense ‘Sunshine’ form a border along the stone path. The glossy oval leaves remain gold throughout the winter.

Leather Leaf Mahonia, Mahonia japonica ‘Bealei’, is an attractive shrub with distinctive evergreen foliage and terminal clusters of showy, fragrant yellow flowers followed by powder-blue to black, grape-like fruit clusters.

Goshiki False Holly, Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Goshiki’ has thick leathery leaves. Goshiki means ‘five colored’ in Japanese and refers to the various colors found on each leaf–cream, pink, orange, yellow, and white. The white Fall flowers are very fragrant.


‘First Love’ Speedwell, Veronica longifolia ‘Alllove’ has longer-lasting blooms than other Veronicas in a profusion of pink flowers.

Brandywine Foam Flower, Tiarella cordifolia ‘Brandywine’, is a small plant with large leaves and excellent bronze fall color. Creamy white flowers last 6-8 weeks in Summer.

Chrysanthemum are included and bring bright color around the garden.

Fragrant Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis, is located at the back of the garden.

Persian Shield, Strobilanthes, is a tender perennial with a leaf shape that appears like little armor shields fitting for battle.