The plants selected to be used in our atrium garden are all species or closely related to species used in gardens in Japan.
Acer palmatum "Crimson Queen" Laceleaf Japanese maple (along hallway wall)
Another Japanese maple by the front door was already here when we purchased the house (though we moved it about 2' and rotated it 80°), it has green leaves and is at least 15 years old, with a 4" diameter trunk and a beautiful form. Our landscape designer estimates it is worth about $1,800.
Acorus gramineus "Ogon", golden mondo grass (by carport wall)
Golden Variegated Sweet Flag
Sun to shade, keep moist, to -20F.
Acorus gramineus "Pusillus" Dwarf Grassy Sweet Flag (near main engawa)
An evergreen-grass-lie perennial; slow growth to 3-5" in height. Slow, clumping, spreading growth habit. Inconspicuous flowers. Fan-like clusters of dark green leaves. Plant in full sun to light shade. Tolerant of wet boggy and dry soils. Best with regular water; tolerates some drought. Cut back foliage to neaten appearnce. Requires little fertilizer. Use in bog gardens, along pool edges, or in dry landscapes. Excellent planted between steppingstones because it tolerates light foot traffic.
Aspidistra elatior "variegata" Cast Iron Plant (behind tsukubai, next to red maple and at front door)
Sturdy, long-lived evergreen foliage plant from Chia, spreads slowly by rhizomes, arching, glossy, dark green leaves 1 to 2 1/2' long, full to partial shade, minimal care.
Broad-leafed evergreen, variable in form, from 1 1/2 to 6' high. Leaves dark in autumn and early winter, flowers in autumn with short-lived, numerous but flimsy flowers, lightly fragrant. Tolerates full sun with regular water.
Gardenia ajsminoides "Veitchi" (near tsukubai)
Evergreen perennial to 32F, annual in colder regions. Shrub to 4' with fragrant double white flowers. Sun to part shade.
Mahonia repens "creeping Oregon Grape"
Evergreen ground cover to 1-2' tall height with much greater spread. Stiff, spreading growth habit, spread slowly by underground runners. Narrow spikes of small yellow flowers bloom in spring, followed by dark blue to black beries. Deep blue green folizage; bronze fall color. Plant in full sun to full shade. Does well in most any soil. Tolerates little to no summer water when established. Prune to control height and form, remove unwanted vertical growth to the ground.
Nandina domestica, "Gulf Stream" Nandina bamboo (near entry area)
Evergreen shrub to 4'. Red fall color. Leaves become reddish brown in winter. Full sun or part shade.
Ophiopogon japonicus Mondo Grass (around steppingstones)
An evergreen grass-like perennial: moderate growth to 8-12" in height. Slow, spreading growth habit. Clusters of small, lavender flowers are typically hidden by foliage; summer bloom. Metallic blue fruit follows flowers. Plant in full sun to part shade on coast, light shade inland. Tolerates most soils; best if well drained. Best with regular water; tolerates some drought. Requires little fertilizer. Cut back foliage to neaten appearance. Use as an informal groundcover.
Pachysandra terminalis "Japanese spurge"
Ground cover, height 6-8", space 6-8", shade
Phyllostachys nigra, Black Bamboo (carport, next to front door)
New shoots are green, turning black in second year (sometimes olive green dotted with black), prefers afternoon shade in warm climates, 10-15' high.
Pieris japonica "Dorothy Wykoff" (to the right of the tsukubai)
Broad-leafed evergreen with dark green foliage. Pendulous clusters of waxen pink blooms in the spring. Prefers moist soils and some shade.
Pieris joponica "Snowdrift" (next to wall by dining room)
Compact evergreen shrub with clusters of small upright flowers in early winter. Glossy green foliage. Grows 3-6'.
Pinus mugo, Muhgo Pine (by the last steppingstone next to the main engawa)
Slow growing, shrubby and symmetrical, to 8' but easily controlled