Perennials, Trees and Shrubs

When it comes to perennials, there are a few mandatory criteria to follow if you want them to flourish and last for years.

  • First, they have to be hardy to Jackson Hole’s zone 3 climate.
  • Secondly, they can’t be a favorite for the elk, deer and moose that frequent most properties.
  • Lastly you have to think of the months that you want color. Springtime color is easy in the valley. Those amazing flowers that you see at the high lakes of Grand Teton throughout July, flower during spring in the valley. Columbine, larkspur and the native lupine will keep the natural look. For a good midsummer flower, coreopsis, Shasta daisy, and salvia can give great color. For the late summer flower, dark red bee balm is a must for every garden, along with Echinacea and the asters. We can pair the colors, sizes and plant in the appropriate light, soil and drainage to match the species.


  • As tempting as it may be, it’s best not to plant willows on the backside of the perennial bed against the house. Yes, that does get Moose looking in your window, but as gracious as they are, those hooves are big and those perennials are fragile. Why are willows and potentilla overused? Usually because they are hardy and native. Yellow or red-stemmed willows are beautiful year-round shrubs. Although they get browsed, after a year or two of being cautious, they can handle the browsing.
  • Dogwoods, although native, will get eaten down to nothing over the first couple years if not fenced.
  • Sand cherries are great with their red leaves, until we get a winter with low snow and cold temps, which will kill them to the snow line. Also, a favorite of the voles in winter, so very risky.
  • Cotoneaster is a great shrub that can handle some shade as well as full sun, although it can get browsed, it is typically only the top of the plant.


When it comes to trees, Jackson’s list of hardy trees is limited.

  • Starting with the small and medium size, hawthorns have character, are slow growing and the thorns keep the animals and people away. One of our favorites.
  • Canada red cherry is a mid-size tree that is hardy and the red color leaves add some contrast to the landscape. They need to be wrapped from the large ungulates during rut and can be prone to sap sucker damage (a small woodpecker).
  • As far as large trees go, blue spruce gives privacy and is beautiful both summer and in the winter when covered with snow.
  • Aspen trees are great shade trees with a beautiful white bark. In the wild they grow on mountain slopes, so remember they need well drained soil for long term health and to be able to naturally fight off the many diseases that an aspen in the wrong place can be susceptible to. So correct planting is essential.
  • Cottonwoods are wonderful native trees in the valley and are beautiful in there juvenile years if pruned properly.
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