Prostrate or decumbent subshrubs, related to Hebe but smaller and more delicate in appearance. Stems are woody at the base and will root where they touch the ground, sometimes forming low mats. Small, white to lavender-blue flowers are carried above diminutive, usually toothed leaves. Plant in sun or light shade with reasonably well-drained, non-alkaline soil. Moderate to regular water is required. Best near the coast, most Parahebes are intolerant of interior heat. Hardy to about 15F. New Zealand, New Guinea, Australia.
linifolia: Free-branching shrub up to 5 or 6" tall with a woody base and erect or (occasionally rooting) sprawling branches to 8". The small, charming flowers are white or palest pink with red veins and a tiny green eye. Plants bloom in spring, summer, and fall. New Zealand.
lyallii: Heavily branched subshrub to 8" tall and up to 10" across with leathery, toothed, oval-shaped leaves. Erect stems bear loose sprays of flattish, pink-veined, white flowers in spring or summer. New Zealand.
perfoliata: Evergreen shrub with 2’ stems that rise from a narrow base. Broad, triangular blue-green leaves clasp together on the narrow stems that seem to grow directly through the leaves. In summer, drooping clusters of lavender-blue flowers bloom at the shoot tips. Shear back old stems for several waves of growth and bloom. Plants in our garden have done well in the understory of mature Eucalyptus globulus. Blue Mountains of Australia.
Geranium. The common name is a confusing misnomer, as the two genera, Geranium and Pelargonium, are quite different. Pelargoniums are evergreen, shrubby perennials that are usually summer-flowering, with the colorful blossoms borne almost continuously through the warm months. They are best in coastal gardens away from excessive summer heat, in well-drained, neutral to alkaline soil and full sun for strong flower production. Plants need moderate watering. Hardiness varies. South Africa, Australia, the Middle East, and a few from tropical Africa.
cordifolium: Stocky, branched, and spreading shrub to 4’, with a woody base. The dull green, heart-shaped leaves are up to 3" long with grayish undersides and velvety hairs on both sides. Scattered magenta blooms in loose clusters to 2" long appear in late spring and early summer. Hardy to 25F. South Africa.
sidoides: The silver-gray leaves of this mound-forming perennial possess distinctive curled margins that add further flair to this elegant and durable species. Small clusters of dark burgundy flowers are produced year round on slender, nodding stems in coastal California. Plants grow to 12" tall and can spread to twice as wide, but always maintain a tidy form. An exceptional container plant. Plant in full sun and well-drained soils. Hardy to 25F. South Africa.
‘Tweedle Dee’: An upright and colorful selection noted for its ruffled, dark green and purple foliage. Add the bright pink flowers and voila! you have an instant party. Plants reach 18-24" tall with an equal spread. Hardy to 20F.
‘Vancouver Bicentennial’: Possibly the most garish plant we grow, this plant forces otherwise magnanimous people to take sides. Ask any two people here at the nursery and you’re likely to get two different answers about whether it’s a keeper…We leave it to you to decide whether the cream and brick-red foliage with accompanying orange-red flowers is the stuff of dreams or of nightmares. Plants grow to 12-18" and do look striking combined with Uncinia uncinata and Veronica ‘Corrine Tremaine’. Hardy to 20F.
Beard tongue. Evergreen perennials and shrubs with tubular or trumpet-shaped flowers, most commonly in shades of red and blue, but also pink, salmon, rose, lilac, purple, peach, white and yellow. The individual blossoms are fairly large and are presented in dense spikes from late spring until fall that attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Most penstemons tolerate alkaline or chalky soils, and poor, rocky soils often produce the sturdiest specimens. Provide full sun, or light shade inland, and fast drainage with moderate water. Replace plants every 3 to 5 years for renewed vigor. Most are hardy to 0F. North and Central America.
heterophyllus: Blue bedder. A highly variable subshrub or perennial to 2’ tall with an equal spread. The thin, glabrous, linear leaves are deep green to green-blue, and the spring and summer blooms are rosy-violet with blue or lilac lobes. The unopened buds are yellow-tinged, adding additional color to this handsome native species. Drought and heat tolerant, blue bedder is best cultivated in warm, sunny, well-drained sites. Hardy to 10F. California.
heterophyllus ‘Margarita BOP’: A garden tolerant selection from Bert Wilson of Las Pilitas Nursery, with bright blue flowers bearing a rose-purple tinge. This exceptional new cultivar has performed well in a wide range of garden conditions, including heavy clay and sandy soils. In our experience it is longer-lived than other cultivars of this species. BOP means "bottom of porch". A good container subject in full sun.
mexicali ‘Red Rocks’: A vigorous, mound-forming selection with bright green foliage on upright herbaceous stems to 18". A durable and drought tolerant selection with bright rose-red flowers appearing from early summer to fall.
mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’: Similar in all respects to ‘Red Rocks’, but with rich purple blossoms.
‘Alice Hindley’: An award-winning favorite introduced in 1931, ‘Alice Hindley’ charms with violet-mauve flowers with white throats that open from reddish-violet buds. Plants form tall, erect clumps to 4’ with a somewhat open habit. Plant closely or mixed tightly with other perennials for a fuller effect; combines well with blue-flowered species in mixed borders. Sometimes called ‘Lady Hindley’.
‘Apple Blossom’: One of the most popular cultivars we grow, this one reaches 2-3’ and bears numerous, free-flowering stems covered by narrow foliage. The small, pale-pink blossoms have white throats that are finely streaked with dark pink veins. Plants bloom from late spring through fall and are best with moderate watering. Hardy to 15F.
‘Bev Jensen’: A large leafed cultivar growing to 3-4’, ‘Bev Jensen’ has rich magenta blossoms that have a white throat. One of the sturdiest cultivars, it will bloom through summer and fall.
‘Blackbird’: Tall and erect, but with an open habit and fairly rigid stems to 4’; the thin branches sway in the wind giving the plant a willow-like appearance. A particularly floriferous selection with long, large-lobed flowers opening from darkest buds, under ideal conditions one panicle may carry up to 70 blossoms. Flower color is a dark purplish-red with a silvery-white interior marked by purplish-red streaks, and even the foliage has a slight hint of burgundy at the tips. Among the broad-leafed hybrids, it is hardier than most.
‘Catherine de la Mare’: Low and spreading, to 12", with narrow, toothed leaves and handsome flowers that open blue then fade to violet-purple. This selection must have full sun or light shade in well-drained soil. A European hybrid developed from P. heterophyllus that commonly persists for 3 or 4 years, it is similar to the species, but with a slightly broader leaf.
‘Firebird’: (syn. ‘Schoenholzeri’) 3’ tall with flowers on the uppermost 8" of flower stems. Lower stem is green while upper is brownish red. Flowers are pinkish-red on upper and lower surfaces, terminating in glowing red lobes. Lower interior is striped pale pink and dark red. Showy, dark brownish-red calyces provide attractive color contrast. Extremely floriferous, blooming for 4 months or more. Develops rapidly into a sizeable plant. A tough, durable cultivar that is tolerant of a wide range of soils and environmental conditions.
‘Frosty Pink’: A pretty pink Penstemon to 3’ that seeded in our mother block and charmed everyone with its delightful light pink blossoms and clean green foliage. Suzy, our Propagation Supervisor, named it for her lipstick which matched the flower color exactly! The blossoms resemble ‘Pennington Gem’ in size, and have a white throat streaked with dark pink veins. Garden origin.
‘Garnet’: (syn. ‘Andenken an Friedrich Hahn’) A fast grower as well as reliable bloomer, ‘Garnet’ can reach 3’ high and 2’ across. The slender ruby-colored stems bear narrow, toothed green leaves and garnet-colored flowers from June to October; individual blossoms have a white throat marked with thin, red lines. The outermost flowering stems, heavy with blossom, often arch away from the center of the plant making it an elegant selection for containers. One of the hardiest hybrids, it persists longer than most in a favorable site.
‘Holly’s White’: A compact, bushy perennial with upright stems 2-4’ high. White flowers bloom from late spring through summer.
‘Lavender Ruffles’: A compact plant to 2 or 3’ tall with a 1-2’ spread. Large lavender blossoms with white throats and dark pink or purple veins appear in summer and fall.
‘Midnight’: Upright perennial from 2-3’ with dark green leaves and erect racemes of dark purple flowers, blooming from spring to late fall. The Gardener’s Guide to Growing Penstemons suggests that ‘Midnight’ cannot be positively distinguished from ‘Russian River’. Whatever the eventual outcome of this nomenclature confusion, ‘Midnight’ is a striking selection with perhaps the darkest flowers of all the Penstemons. Requires full sun and excellent drainage.
‘Midnight Dwarf’: Similar to ‘Midnight’, but growing only to 24" with an equal spread.
‘Mother of Pearl’: Flowers are lavender-mauve above and white or palest blue below with darker purple veins lining the throat. Most unusual.
‘Osprey’: A taller cultivar, usually reaching 3-4’, with white flowers that blush pink. Plants form a loose clump and are best suited for the back of a mixed border. Full sun and regular garden water. Introduced in the 1960’s.
'Pensham Capricorn Moon': A pretty pink selection from famed Penstemon breeder Edward Wilson that will reach up to 2' tall with equal spread. Charming, with it's delightful combination of light pink blossoms with a white throat, streaked with dark pink veins and clean green foliage. 'Pensham Capricorn Moon' is not only a good choice for border and container planting, but can also make a nice flower decoration for special events.
‘Raspberry Flair’: Large, raspberry-colored flowers open to reveal white throats speckled with darker pink veins. In well-drained soils plants grow to 3’ with a 2’ spread. Hardy to 0F.
‘Raven’: Like its winged namesake, this medium-sized flower looks black but shines purple or deep blue in sunlight. Individual blossoms have white throats smudged with red-purple margins and veins. Plants grow to 3 or 4’ tall with an equal spread. Combine with silver-leafed plants like Artemisa or Senecio for drama and elegance. Hardy to 20F.
‘Sour Grapes’: Because it’s his favorite penstemon, Carlos, our Yard Manager, makes sure this is always in stock. This one bears clusters of flower buds at the tip of each stem that open in shades of green, amethyst and purple, looking like unripe grapes. Flower throats are white, streaked with fine purplish-red lines. Plants bloom from July to October. A handsome large-leafed selection usually growing to 2’.
‘Thorn’: Upright form to 2’ tall with large, tubular, creamy white flowers that blush rose-red at the tips and pale pink along the corolla. This narrow-leafed variety is often confused with ‘Apple Blossom’, ‘Beech Park’ and ‘Peace’ because of the similar white-and-pink flower coloration.
Deciduous, aromatic shrubs with woody base and deeply toothed or finely cut leaves. Plant in sun with any well-drained soil. Will flower in shade but tends to sprawl. Aromatic, gray-green foliage and blue blossoms, that have a woolly texture, bloom in late spring to mid-autumn. Cut back hard, almost to base, in spring as new growth starts. Asia Minor, Iran, Central Asia.
atriplicifolia: Russian sage. Upright sub-shrub 4-5’ tall, 3’ wide. Gray-white stems are attractive in winter. Finely divided gray-green leaves produce a soft, delicate effect. Small lavender-blue flowers grow in large numbers on branched stems during summer. Plant in any dry soil with full sun. In coastal gardens, established plants require little supplemental water. Moderate moisture in warmer regions. Hardy to 10F. Afghanistan, Pakistan.
atriplicifolia ‘Filagran’: Silver-gray foliage is finely divided on white stems. Tighter, bushy habit than species growing to 3.5’. Blue flowers summer to fall.
‘Longin’: Darker purple flowers than the species.
Philadelphus lewisii ssp. californicus
Wild mock orange. Erect and arching deciduous shrub to 10’ tall and generally half as wide. Ovate, pale green, toothed leaves up to 3" across are held on smooth, mahogany colored new twigs that become a rich brown with age. Fragrant, white, saucer-shaped blossoms to 1-2" across are filled with creamy stamens and a single green pistil. These delicate, sweetly-scented flowers appear from spring to summer and add an elegant touch to any garden. Somewhat drought tolerant and suitable for full sun, mock orange requires partial shade in hot areas. Use for background and corner plantings, screens or informal hedges. The following are hardy to 0F or below. Western North America, from British Colombia to California.
‘Covelo’: Large, single flowers reaching 2" wide.
‘Goose Creek’: Selected for its more compact form and fully double, 1-2" flowers.
Jerusalem sage. A genus of pubescent perennials, subshrubs or evergreen shrubs with distinctive whorls of tubular, summer-blooming flowers on erect stems held above the foliage. Flowers generally open in shades of cream, yellow, purple or lavender. Plants will tolerate poor soil as long as drainage is good, and need only occasional water once established. Full sun. The Mediterranean species are ruggedly handsome in full summer dormancy with their fruits held against the downy foliage. Hardiness varies. Mediterranean to Central Asia and China.
cashmeriana: A robust shrub with densely felted stems to 3’ tall, it often spreads to a manageable 18" across. The narrowly oval leaves are green with woolly, white undersides and the summertime flowers are pale lilac. Hardy to 10F. Kashmir, West Himalaya.
fruticosa: Shrubby, spreading perennial to 4’ high with highly-textured, sage-like leaves that are 2-3" across, grayish-white and fuzzy. Whorls of deep golden-yellow flowers appear in summer on plants that remain evergreen and are seldom out of boom. Tolerates full sun or light shade. Hardy to below 0F. Mediterranean.
fruticosa ‘Compact Form’: Smaller form than above to perhaps 3’, but otherwise similar.
italica: Subshrub to 2’ with narrow, white-felted leaves and clusters of pink or pale lilac flowers that appear from summer to autumn. Hardy if grown in extremely well-drained soil in full sun. Hardy to 10F. Balearic Islands.
lanata: Low-growing shrub 2-3’ high and spreading 3-4’. The small, 1" leaves are green-gray with deep venation above and woolly hairs beneath. Orange-yellow flowers in whorls appear on short stems above the foliage from mid-spring to summer; nearly ever-blooming if old, faded stems are pruned out. Use in mixed border plantings and rock gardens. Hardy to 10F. Crete.
lycia: Evergreen shrub noted for its unusual golden-chartreuse, tomentose foliage and for its rich yellow flowers that appear in summer. The quilted-looking foliage combines nicely with wispy grasses like Stipa ramosissima and makes this a good choice for containers where it can enjoy a special place on patios or along walkways. Plants grow 4-5’ and are slightly less wide than tall. Hardy to 20F.
purpurea: Woolly stems to 2’ tall featuring broadly lanceolate, pubescent leaves to 4" long. Summer blooming, with lavender-purple downy flowers. Hardy to 10F. Spain and Portugal.
purpurea ‘Alba’: Similar to the species, but with white flowers.
samia: The large, triangular leaves are a medium green and persistent. Plants have a rounded form to 3’ feet and produce pink or pale purple flowers in May and June. North Africa.
New Zealand flax or Flax lily. Evergreen perennials, with fleshy, fibrous roots well loved by landscape architects everywhere for their strong form and wide array of foliage colors. Fast growing and sturdy, Phormiums are easily recognized by their tufts of sword-shaped, vertical leaves that rise from a fan-like basal clump at the soil level. The foliage varies greatly by cultivar and may be stiffly upright or gently arching, in a solid color or wildly variegated. Tall panicles of flowers form in summer and attract nectar-feeding birds. Phormiums adapt to many types of soil, but prefer those with good drainage. They are also tolerant of sun, light shade, heat and moderate to occasional water. Use in containers, near pools and in shrub plantings for texture and color. Also consider backlighting larger specimens for a dramatic effect. Hardiness varies. New Zealand.
‘Amazing Red’: A smaller selection that grows to only 12-18" with dark burgundy-red foliage. This is an excellent container subject especially when combined with low, gray-leafed trailing perennials like Geranium harveyi. Hardy to 20F.
‘Bronze Baby’: A dwarf flax that grows to 18-24" with copper-toned leaves tinted heavily with bronze. The outermost leaves arch and droop at the tips, and panicles of reddish-brown flowers on purplish stems appear during summer. Hardy to 10F.
‘Carousel’: An unusual newer selection noted for its multi-colored foliage. The broad 2-3’ leaves are striped with shades of green, pink and orange making this a real eye-catcher. Mature plants can reach 3-6’ wide. Hardy to 0F.
‘Chocolate’ (syn. ‘Hunter Green’): Attractive, medium-sized phormium with greenish-brown, stiffly upright foliage. There is some confusion in the trade over the name of this cultivar, as the foliage tends to be different colors in various parts of the world. The plants we are growing have a distinctive chocolate-colored cast to them, particularly in full sun (they become somewhat greener in too much shade). Plants reach 2-3’ with an equal spread. Hardy to 10F.
‘Dusky Chief’: One of our favorites, with strong upright growth to 4’ and dark, reddish bronze leaves that "weep" at the tips. Hardy to 20F.
‘Flamingo’: A brightly-colored little flax with upright blades bearing vertical stripes in orange, pale green and yellow. Plants have a compact form and grow to no more than 20" with a slightly lesser spread, making them ideal candidates for containers. Hardy to 25F.
‘Pink Stripe’: A newer cultivar from South Africa that is becoming popular with many of our customers, it has a stiff, upright habit to 5’ with coffee colored foliage bordered by a distinctive, rosy-pink stripe. Hardy to 10F.
‘Shirazz’: A new wine-colored selection that appears to have stable coloration. Plants reach 2-3’ and an are generally taller than wide. White flowers in panicles appear in summer. Combine to startling effect with Carex testacea or Carex solandri. Hardy to 20F.
‘Thumbelina’: Another dwarf selection, this one grows 2’ tall with a slightly lesser spread. The narrow blades are dark reddish-brown and make a handsome companion for silver-leafed spreaders like Artemisia ‘Silver Brocade’ or ‘David’s Choice’.
tenax ‘Variegata’: A monster of a phormium, this cultivar quickly reaches 8-10’ with an almost equal spread. The wide blades of foliage can be up to 3" across and are strongly variegated in cream and green. Orange-red flowers appear in tall panicles in summer. Not for small gardens! Hardy to 20F.
‘Wings of Gold’: A diminutive form that looks like the kid sister of ‘Variegata’. Virtually identical foliage (though often with a thin red margin) but growing no more than 2’ tall. A nice container subject in full sun. Hardy to 20F.
‘Yellow Wave’: A vigorous cultivar with broad, arching leaves to 3’ long and brilliantly colored yellow and green foliage. Another strong selection that forms dense clumps.
Cape fuchsia. Evergreen shrubs and subshrubs grown for their showy, tubular flowers borne in loose clusters from summer to fall. They are related to both snapdragons and penstemons, but the drooping nature of the flowers strongly suggests fuchsia to most gardeners. Plants grow 3-4’ tall, spreading by underground stems or prostrate rooting branches, and prefer full sun or light shade in well-drained, but not bone-dry, soil. Prune and deadhead periodically to maintain a neat appearance, and add mulch to protect the roots in colder climates. Remarkably drought tolerant once established, requiring only moderate to occasional water. Plants possess a rapid springtime growth rate as well as the potential for suckering, so careful placement in the garden is advised. Use in perennial borders or containers and combine with gray-leafed plants such as Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ or Stachys ‘Helen Von Stein’ for a stunning effect. A number of new hybrids are making their way to North America from England; these are exciting times among the Cape fuchsias! Hardy to 25F. South Africa.
x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’: Mounding form to 3’ feet with dark green leaves edged with undulate margins. The dark buds open to pendulous deep red-pink flowers with orange-red lobes and a yellow throat. Tolerant of almost any soil type.
x rectus ‘Moonraker’: Lanceolate, serrated leaves and pendulous, pale yellow flowers marked with deeper colored lobes. To 5’ feet with a dense habit.
x rectus ‘Pink Elf’: Compact dwarf form 3’ tall with an equal spread bearing lanceolate leaves and slender, pale pink flowers with yellow throats and deep crimson lobes.
‘Sensation’: Luminous fuchsia-purple blooms opening in spring to reveal rich yellow throats, and glossy green leaves on almost purple stems. Grows to 2-4’ in most soils. Introduced by Blakedown Nurseries Ltd.
Pine. Evergreen conifers with needle-like foliage and furrowed or scaly bark that is usually thick and fluted. Size, habit and cultural requirements vary by species; most can be shaped with pruning. The following prefer full sun and many are adapted to long periods of drought. Members of this genus usually do not tolerate pollution or smog. The seed-filled cones provide a delectable treat for birds. Northern Hemisphere, from the Arctic Circle south to Central America, North Africa and Southeast Asia.
sabiniana: Gray pine. Upright tree with an open habit, a usually forked trunk, and small drooping branches. Deep rooted and fast growing, mature specimens can reach 30-50’ tall and 25-40’ wide. The blue to gray-green needles are arranged in fascicles (bundles) of threes and range from 8-13" long. The cones are 6-10" and hold edible seeds that were an important food source for Native Americans. Adapted to drought and poor soils, this is a good choice for hot, dry foothills and valleys on shallow, coarse, gravelly soils. Requires full sun and occasional to infrequent water. Hardy to below 0F. California, along the Sacramento and Trinity rivers, Santa Ynez Range, and Tehachapi Pass.
torreyana: Torrey pine. Upright and straight-trunked tree away from ocean winds, otherwise low and crooked with a broad crown. Mature specimens grow 40-60’ tall and 25-40’ wide, but can reach 80’ high in favorable sites. The long (8-13") gray-green needles are held in fascicles of five at the ends of branches creating a striking silhouette, and the cones are chocolate brown, 4-6" long. Tolerant of salt spray, wind, heat and drought though stronger in a garden setting, the torrey pine can also be used in warm, dry inland locations with moderate supplemental water. It is also resistant to oak root fungus with a moderate growth rate. Avoid pruning, as cuts tend to die back to the trunk. Hardy to 15F. Distribution limited to San Diego County at the mouth of Soledad River, and Santa Rosa Island, California.
Mock orange. Evergreen shrubs and trees grown for their glossy, green foliage and often honey-scented flowers. Some species also feature ornamental fruits. As a group, they are tough and durable garden subjects that are surprisingly drought tolerant once established. Plant in full sun along the coast or part shade inland, and provide occasional supplemental water. Some prefer well-drained soils and require shelter from cold, drying winds, but the following are wind resistant. Hardy to 20F. Australasia, South Africa, Southeast Asia and Hawaii.
crassifolium ‘Compactum’: Karo. A dwarf mounding form to 3’ tall with gray-green leaves in tight whorls and small, inconspicuous maroon flowers that bloom in clusters. Plants offer a refined, formal appearance.
tenuifolium: Tawhiwhi. A large shrub or small tree to 25’ that is easily pruned into a desired form, its handsome, clean foliage and erect trunk add a formal flavor to the garden. New twigs are often dark brown or black, adding an ornamental contrast to the inch-long, gray-green leaves. Watch for aphids and other piercing/sucking insects that will disfigure new growth.
tenuifolium ‘Marjory Channon’: Variegated tawhiwhi. A dense, billowing shrub to 15’ tall and half as wide with boldly variegated green and cream leaves. A stunning plant that is equally useful in borders or containers, it is slow to establish itself, but well worth the wait.
tenuifolium ‘Silver Sheen’: Taller and a bit looser in form than the species, with small, uniformly silver-green leaves held on limber, black twigs. The diminutive leaves begin evenly round, then elongate with age. This plant makes an indelible impression on even the most experienced gardeners when the silvered highlights shimmer radiantly in early morning and evening light.
California sycamore. Found naturally along streams and rivers, this tree has long marked the course of water in the California landscape, and still does today in undisturbed riparian corridors. A fast-growing, deciduous tree, 50-100’ tall by 30-50’ wide, it is usually smaller in a garden setting. The twisting, picturesque trunk often divides into multiple spreading or leaning secondary trunks, and the peeling, silvery bark flakes off in uneven patches to reveal decorative mottling in tans, browns, and greens. Large, lobed, papery leaves open a pale, lime-green in spring and develop a bronzy, slightly wooly undersurface with age. The fuzzy hairs can irritate eyes and throats when crushed underfoot or brushed against, especially during hot, dry California summers. In fall, as the evenings cool, the maple-like leaves take on rich golden and russet hues, casting a honey-colored light into the understory. Best grown with moderate to high amounts of water, sycamores will tolerate alkaline soil, high temperatures, wind and even moderate amounts of shade. Tenacious, stately and long-lived they are especially effective on the banks of intermittent or permanent streams, and in moist swales and arroyos. Hardy to 10F. California, from the upper reaches of the Sacramento River, south to San Diego.
A low spreading, evergreen shrub to 2’ tall and 3-4’ across with white tomentose branches holding tiny, silver-gray leaves. Inconspicuous flowers appear in late spring and summer. Plants prefer full sun, well-drained soils and occasional to moderate water, and once established can survive periods of drought in coastal areas. Effective as a ground or bank cover, in a large rock garden, or in perennial borders. Hardy to 20F. South Africa.
A large group of annuals, perennials and shrubs most of which are grown primarily for their foliage, and less frequently for their variable spikes of flowers. The following have fleshy, almost succulent stems and leaves that are covered with dense, velvety hairs. Both species we grow are only marginally frost hardy and should be grown in protected sites or in containers that can be moved out of harm’s way during unfavorable weather. Plant in full sun to light shade and provide moderate water. Hardiness varies by species. Africa, Asia, and Australia.
argentatus ‘Longwood Silver’: Swedish ivy. A spreading perennial or subshrub to 3’ tall and wide, with lush, velvety foliage and a strong habit. Silvery hairs cover the rigid branches and large ovate leaves, creating a highly "touchable" effect. Pale blue-white flowers appear in a 12" raceme, but provide less interest than the striking foliage. Plant in full sun near the coast and partial shade inland, and provide regular garden water during the growing season. The bold gray form is a good choice for containers or perennial borders. Plants are completely deciduous in areas with frost. Hardy to 25F. Australia.
Polemonium caeruleum ‘Brise d’ Anjou’
Variegated Jacob’s ladder. Few plants in recent years have created such a stir as this one, made famous by Adrian and Alan Bloom’s North American Blooms of Bressingham marketing program. Noted for its fine, fern-like variegated foliage, it seemed that everyone wanted this plant in 1999. We have found the plant to be much better suited to containers than to variable conditions in the ground, and many gardeners in Southern California have reported that this is especially true south of Santa Barbara. Blue-violet, bell-shaped flowers appear in summer though this selection seems to be less free-flowering than the species. Plant in full sun along the coast, afternoon shade elsewhere, and provide regular garden water. Fully hardy to below 0F, though plants become completely dormant under extreme conditions. Garden origin.
Milkwort. Shrubs with showy flowers that resemble sweet peas or small butterflies. Prefer sun or light shade with regular water and moisture- retentive but well-drained soil. The following are hardy to 20F. Subcosmopolitan.
x dalmaisiana: Sweet-pea shrub. Medium-sized shrub 3 to 6’ tall with a spreading habit and year round purple-red to rosy-red flowers. Shearing this shrub frequently promotes a more compact, bushy form. Not particularly long-lived. Garden origin.
myrtifolia ‘Grandiflora’: Erect, branched shrub to 5’ tall with large, purple flowers in short, terminal racemes that close at night. South Africa.
Cottonwood. "Where there is any hope at all there are cottonwoods on the horizon," wrote author Merrill Gilfillian. The poplar is a deciduous tree grown for its habit, foliage and fast growth rate. Best used away from pavement, sewer lines and septic tanks, as well as lawns and small gardens. The roots are invasive and will form numerous suckers. The poplar requires little maintenance and can go unwatered if roots grow deeply enough to tap ground water, otherwise moderate watering required. A tough tree, it can be used as a windbreak in full sun. Hardiness varies. Europe, Asia, North Africa and Western North America.
balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa: Large, narrow, tree with white-marked leaves and fragrant buds. Hardy to below 0F. Western North America.
fremontii ‘Nevada’: Fremont cottonwood. Deciduous tree to 60’ with a wide rounded top and open crown. Glossy, smooth and leathery yellow-green leaves are 2-4" wide and triangular. These coarsely toothed leaves turn butter-yellow in fall. Spring foliage opens a fresh apple green then darkens in summer. Prone to rust when planted near the coast. This variety is selected from parent stock in Carson City, Nevada, and allegedly does not sucker as much as others. Since it is a male clone, there is no spring ‘fluff’. Named after John Fremont, who noted them in 1844 at Pyramid Lake, Nevada with Kit Carson. In winter, the inner bark was palatable to their horses. Casts gracious and decorative shadow mingled with gold light and a soft, rhythmic quaking in the wind. Well-suited to stream beds or other areas of water run-off. Hardy to 0F. Central California, Sierra foothills, San Luis Rey River.
Prostanthera Australian mint bush. Upright woody perennial or subshrub grown for its highly aromatic foliage and abundant white or palest lavender blossoms held from late spring through fall. Plants require full sun in well-drained soils and perform best with regular water during the growing season and moderate water the rest of the year. Hardy to 20F. Southeast Austrailia, Tasmania.
Plum, Cherry, Peach, Almond or Apricot. The following are evergreen trees or shrubs usually grown for their foliage and durable nature. They do best in full sun with infrequent or occasional water once established. Useful as a screen or hedge. Prunus species are resistant to oak root fungus. Hardiness varies. North temperate regions, South America.
ilicifolia: Holly-leafed cherry. Grows at a moderate rate to 20-30’ tall and usually broader. Habit can vary from a 4’ shrub on rocky slopes, to 20’ when placed in a sheltered location. Thick-crowned with a short trunk, it has dark, rich shiny green leaves that resemble the coast live oak. Leaves are light green when first unfolding. Creamy white flowers in 3-6" spikes appear in March. Edible round fruits turn from green to red, then reddish purple. The tart berries appear October through November and are attractive to birds. Tolerant of most soil types but grows rapidly in rich, moist well-drained sites. This small tree will take light shade and has a better appearance with deep, infrequent watering. Utilize as a tall screen or formal clipped hedge from 3-10’ high. Tough and durable species suitable for a range of habitats in full sun or partial shade. Useful for steep hillsides. Hardy to 20F. Coast Ranges and Baja California.
ilicifolia ssp. lyonii: Catalina cherry. Dense evergreen shrub or tree growing to 50’ with a broad crown at maturity. Offers a handsome, well-groomed appearance but has much larger leaves than Prunus ilicifolia. Flowers and fruit are also larger, and leaves lack the prickly edges. The black, large-stoned cherries are edible and plum flavored. Best planted in dry soil with full sun or partial shade. Provides an excellent screen and can be pruned to a formal look. Once established, requires only occasional water. Hardy to 10F. Channel Islands, Baja California.