Mary Gibler assists commercial and landowner clients with their plant selections.

Our Plant Picks

Great native and native-selection woody species to diversify your landscapes

Ever feel like you don't know where to start with designing a livable, working landscape? You're in the right place on this page!

Asking for a 'Top Ten' plant list is nearly as difficult as asking to choose your favorite child. Every native species has merit, if only by virtue of the fact it's successfully evolved with a region's climate, soils and animal life over thousands of years.
But, the attached 'plant picks' list is a starting point. Each of the species on this attached list is native (or a selection chosen for particular merits). Each has at least three season interst and benefits wildlife with food and cover.
But, going beyond that is tricky. Because each landscape design is different.
  • How much area do you have to plant?
  • Are you trying to create a specific benefit (e.g., rain garden or quail covey headquarters or just fall color?
  • Do you want individual specimens or have an eroded or hard-to-mow slope that would benefit from a naturalized grove of shrubby species like American plum or flameleaf sumac?
  • How much can you spend for installation?
  • Do you have time to maintain the space?

And, that's where you come in. Use our website,, and visits to our Elsberry nursery. Bring your design goals and preferences, landscape dimensions and your imagination. Use our Plant Search to sort plants by features like, 'Sun Exposure' or 'Soil Moisture'. Save and print your list to make planning your project easier. Download our lists of perennials, brochures about how to plant, and our booklet on specialty crops. You'll be able to create a beautiful working landscape to enjoy for years to come.

Download Additional Information

Forrest Keeling's Plant Picks

A quick reference of great native and native-selection woody species to diversify your landscapes.

How to Plant Your Tree

Protect your valuable investment and use this guide to correctly plant your new tree.

Perennials Handout

Favorite native perennials for your landscape.

Perennials List

List of RPM-produced native perennials from Forrest Keeling Nursery.

Quail Covey Headquarters

How to create a planting to bring the quail's call back to your land.

Rain Gardens

Use these thirsty plants to absorb valuable stormwater into your soil and bring beauty to your landscape.