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Native Plant Beauty: Mountain Laurel

© Renée K. Velkoff

The recent, generous rains have brought forth the fresh glory of late spring, with it’s lush greens, and brilliant hues of pink, fuchsia and magenta, falling in cascades from the trees. One particular shrub that holds a demure place in the landscape is Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia). It’s scraggly outline can be seen on the slopes of wooded hillsides. It’s pointy buds emerge pink; their oddly shaped buds are reminiscent of a space probe, or spiky virus!

Kalmia latifolia – Mountain Laurel

However, these lovely, broadleaf evergreens tolerate the dry, sandy soil found on Long Island’s North Shore. Although slow to establish, it is worth the wait to watch their buds develop, and subsequently bloom. But you may need to protect them from the deer! Deer are voraceous foragers, especially in early spring when the pickin’s are slim, will chew those tender green shoots off before you get to see them open. Mountain laurels grow best when left undisturbed in the ground, so proper siting is essential from the outset, as they do not tolerate transplanting very well.

Mountain Laurel in Bloom

Contact us at Mother Oak’s Garden today to plan your woodland garden!


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Glorious spring continues to reveal its floral display.


As spring progresses, plants continue to dazzle us with their beauty. Each day brings forth new blossoms of many shapes, sizes, and colors. Enjoy this selection of woodland and groundcover species, which have opened up recently in Mother Oak’s Garden.

Fothergilla gardenii

Fothergilla gardenii

Lenten Roses and Japanese Painted Fern

Mountain Laurel and Florida Dogwood

Juvenile Chestnut Oak

Juvenile Japanese Maple

Fothergilla, Redbud and Mother Oak

Fothergilla, Redbud and Mother Oak

Iris Cristata with European Ginger

Emerging Redbud Leaves

Florida Dogwood Blossoms

Deciduous Azalea with Bleeding Heart


Lemon Balm with Foam Flower

The queen of the gardenii!