Willow. The following are deciduous shrubs or small trees that thrive in full sun with copious moisture. Willows are fast-growing and tolerate a wide range of soil types including poorly-drained situations. All have invasive roots and should be thoughtfully placed to avoid complications with domestic water and sewage systems. Commonly found in riparian woodlands and corridors, in association with sycamores and cottonwoods. Cosmopolitan except Australia, chiefly temperate hemisphere.
integra ‘Hakuro Nishiki’: A novelty with mottled white and pink leaves that appear to be incapable of photosynthesis and yet it is a vigorous shrub with a low, mounded form. Young twigs are a rich burgundy adding further ornamental interest. Plant height appears to be variable in different parts of the state. Full sun with ample moisture. Hardy to 0F.
laevigata: Red willow. Deciduous tree to 40’ with rough bark and glabrous red twigs. Catkins appear with leaves that are light green above and glaucous beneath. Hardy to below 0F. Southwestern United States.
lasiolepis: Arroyo willow. Deciduous shrub or small tree to 40’ with smooth bark and yellow to dark brown twigs. Dark green leaves are glabrous above, glaucous beneath. Attractive gray catkins appear before leaves in early spring. Hardy to below 0F. Western North America.
Sage. Pliny the Elder, a Roman scientist, was the first to use the Latin name, Salvia, derived from salvare meaning to heal or save. The common name originated in England, possibly a modification of the Old French sauge. Sage’s medicinal virtues are clarified in medieval literature and renaissance engravings. A popular saying, quoted in Betsy Clebsch’s A Book of Salvias says, "Sage helps the nerves and by its powerful might, Palsy is cured and fever put to flight." Perhaps salvia guru Richard Dufresne says it best, "As a result of studying sages, I like to say that I am working toward the salvation of wisdom and to learn about the wisdom of salvation." Members of the mint family, these highly ornamental plants are grown for their attractive, scented foliage and distinctive flowers. Strong and luminous colors are found in the genus including vibrant reds, radiant blues, oranges, pastel yellows, a pink for every taste, and even brown. A major source of nectar for hummingbirds, the long tubular blooms provide a particularly irresistible lure. Most salvias we offer enjoy full sun, aridity and well-drained soils. An annual shearing is helpful with most species, but certainly does not apply to all. The leaves of some species are used for culinary purposes. Watering needs and hardiness vary by species. Cosmopolitan.
africana-lutea: Sage. Known as Salvia aurea until the 1990’s, this evergreen shrub grows to 3’ tall with a similar spread, and bears bright yellow flowers surrounded by a tan, papery calyx in spring and summer. The flowers turn a rusty orange as the season progresses, creating a handsome display against the gray-green foliage. Plant in full sun and provide moderate water. A light shearing after flowering helps maintain a tidy shape. Hardy to 20F. South Africa.
apiana: White sage. A shrubby, coarsely branched shrub to 6’ tall and 5’ wide, on a hot day its scent is often evident long before the plant comes into view. Upright, pale pink flowering stalks bearing white or lavender flowers rise above the aromatic silver-white foliage. Native Americans used the resinous leaves (either dried or fresh) for ceremonial purposes, early pioneers made a tea from them to relieve colds or congestion, and one source says they may even be used as a soapless shampoo. Beekeepers too find this plant useful, and often keep their hives in chaparral areas where white sage is found because of the strong attraction for bees. Best used in full sun with good air circulation, white sage is drought tolerant once established though completely deciduous without moderate supplemental water. Tolerant of most soil types when given adequate drainage, it is useful as a background accent with other native shrubs such as Ceanothus. Prune back flowering stalks to encourage compactness. Plants are particularly beautiful in the moonlight after a winter rain. Hardy to 10F. Santa Barbara County to Baja California.
azurea var. grandiflora (syn. Salvia pitcheri): Prairie sage. A herbaceous perennial admired for the intense blue flowers that appear at its branch tips from late summer well into fall, this sage has a sprawling, semi-erect habit to 5’. Downy hairs cover the stems and the linear medium-green leaves, and if given support, the plant lends itself to climbing a fence or wall. Plant in full sun, most garden soils and provide moderate water. Adaptable, but best in warm, sunny situations. Hardy to 10F. Nebraska to Colorado and from Texas to Kentucky.
blepharophylla: Eyelash-leafed sage. The scientific name is derived from the Greek and means "leaves fringed with lashes", although it requires a magnifying glass to reveal them. Evergreen in warmer climates, and only semi-evergreen in cooler situations, this perennial has a creeping, stoloniferous habit to 18" and features loose whorls of vibrant red flowers with just a whisper of orange. Flowers form from late spring until frost. Plant in full sun along the coast and part shade in interior situations, this is a sage that’s best in well-drained soils with regular garden water. Hardy to 20F. Mexico.
buchananii: Buchanan’s sage. Herbaceous perennial to 2’ high with a similar spread. Waxy, rich green leaves are about 2" long and widely spaced along the stems. Hairy, magenta flowers about 2" long in small clusters bloom in summer and fall. The plants in our garden produce flowers year round. Needs some protective shade, well-drained soils, and regular to moderate garden water. Hardy to 20F. Mexico.
chamaedryoides: Germander sage. Evergreen perennial with small, silvery leaves forming the perfect backdrop for the radiant blue flowers. A spreading sage to 3’ wide with many ascending stems to 2’ when in bloom eventually forming a small mound. Flowers borne during warm periods throughout the growing season peak in early summer and again in fall. Tolerant of light shade and modest drought, plants are best suited to full sun and well-drained soils. Prune spent flowers for repeat blooming. Moderate water. Hardy to 10F. Texas, Mexico.
chiapensis: Chiapas sage. Perennial or subshrub to 3’ tall with an equal spread, bearing bright fuchsia-colored flowers from summer to fall. The glossy, dark green leaves are heavily veined and therefore quite textural. Plant in well-drained soils in shade and provide regular water. Plants in our garden have done admirably in the dense shade beneath mature oaks. Hardy to 30F. Mexico.
clevelandii: Cleveland sage. A lovely native shrub to 4’ with an equal spread and a handsome rounded form. Graceful, arching branches sweep the ground and offer flowering spikes to 12" with whorls of fragrant blue flowers appearing in May or June. Ashy green foliage is heavily wrinkled and has a strong resinous fragrance. Best used in full sun with good air circulation. Requires infrequent water once established. Consider replacing every three to five years for a fresher appearance. Hardy to 20F. Commonly found in the coastal scrub and chaparral communities of Southern California and Northern Baja.
clevelandii ‘Aromas’: Compact form to 3-4’ high with blue flowers. Occurred in the garden of Ken Taylor and was introduced by Saratoga Horticultural Foundation in 1981. Hardy to 20F.
clevelandii ‘Winnifred Gilman’: Compact form to 3’ tall. Evergreen with dark ruby-red flower stems and intense, violet-blue flowers. Hardy to 20F.
corrugata: A handsome upright perennial 4-5’ tall with a lesser spread bearing large, darkest green leaves that are deeply quilted and highly textural. Midnight blue flowers appear in fall on this architectural species. Hardy to 25F. Peru.
dolomitica: Gray-leafed shrub growing to 3’ high and spreading by short rhizomes. Our mother plant is now about 5’ wide. Muted gray leaves are elliptic and prominently veined on the undersides. Summer blooming, the flowers are pale lilac with a wide cream streak, extending into the throat. Inflorescence is short with a pea-green calyx covered with oily glands that smell of lemon. Full sun or light shade with well-drained soil. Drought tolerant once established, it has performed well in our garden with only occasional summer water. Found natively in rocky, dolomitic soils of the Trasvall. Hardy to 25F. South Africa.
elegans: Pineapple sage. Introduced to horticulture around 1870, and prized for its pineapple scent, this herbaceous perennial grows to 4’ tall with bright yellow-green leaves that have a downy appearance. Inflorescence to 10" long with widely spaced whorls of scarlet-red flowers over a long period in the fall. Best in full sun or part shade with good drainage and rich soils. Fast growing, plants widen on underground runners. Forms dense colonies at the edge of woodlands in native habitats. Regular water. Hardy to 25F. Mexico and Guatemala.
greggii ‘Coral’: Small glossy green leaves and coral-colored blossoms adorn this 2-3’ perennial. Hardy to 15F.
greggii ‘Deep Red’: Deep red flowers in late spring and summer. Hardy to 15F.
greggii ‘Moonlight’: Features masses of moonlight-yellow blossoms. Hardy to 15F.
greggii ‘Plum Wine’: Fine ornamental with a graceful growing habit to 3’ tall and wide.
interrupta: Woody sage with a handsome, sprawling habit that rises out of a basal rosette of tuberous roots. Neat, apple-green leaves are 3-lobed and covered with short white hairs on the underside. Flowers appear in late spring or early summer, frequently repeating in October. Flowering stalk reaches to 2’ with widely spaced violet flowers to 2" long. The lower lip has two distinct white lines that lead insects to pollen and nectar glands. Prefers full sun but has performed admirably in our garden in significant shade. Well-drained soils are a must; plants in heavier soils generally die the first year. Drought tolerant but better with occasional summer water. A temperamental favorite in our garden, our mother plant is ten years old and we are damn proud! Found growing natively on the rocky limestone slopes of the Atlas Mountains. Hardy to 25F. Morocco.
x jamensis ‘San Ysidro Moon’: Similar to above, but flowers are pale creamy-pink with a dark purple calyx. Hardy to 15F.
x jamensis ‘Sierra San Antonio’: Similar to above, but flowers are peach-rose with yellow lower lip. Hardy to 15F.
leucantha: Mexican bush sage. Vigorous shrub or herbaceous perennial to 5’, with many flowering stems rising from the rootstocks. Attractive gray-green leaves with white, hairy undersides and 12" spikes of flowers extending well beyond the foliage. Velvety white flowers project from a purple calyx, and are arranged tightly in whorls. Flowers are most common from summer to fall but in California some flowers can be found most of the year. Deadheading improves performance and extends flowering. Best in full sun, with well-drained soil and occasional summer water. Prune to the ground in late February or March for fresh spring growth. Native to tropical coniferous forests of central and eastern Mexico. Hardy to 20F. Mexico.
leucantha ‘Midnight’: Same as the species, but with dark blue-violet flowers.
leucantha ‘Santa Barbara’: Dwarf Mexican sage. Finally, a dwarf selection of the omnipresent Mexican sage! Brand new to the trade, this variety looks and acts like its parent except that it reaches the manageable size of 2’ by 3’ without pruning. Rich purple-blue fuzzy flowers crown its graceful branches virtually year round in mild climates. The flower color seems to be an intermediate shade between the species and ‘Midnight’. Plant in full sun and provide an annual hard shearing to retain a full appearance.
leucophylla ‘Tilden Prostrate’: San Luis purple sage, Gray sage or Chaparral sage. Low-growing selection to 12’ across with gray-green foliage. Plants in our garden have remained less than 2’ high after 5 years. Hardy to 10F.
leucophylla ‘Point Sal’: Native Sons selection from Point Sal in 1987. Original mother plant was 4’ tall with a graceful 8’ spread in the wild. In garden conditions plants have grown considerably larger but still maintain a mounding form. Rose-pink flowers are produced in spring on an 8" inflorescence. Plants are deciduous in dry situations. Winter or spring leaves open apple green becoming gray, then white as the season progresses. Full sun or light shade with well-drained soils. A tough and durable selection well-suited to the dry garden. Limbs sometimes root where they touch the ground producing a thicket. Not to be confused with ‘Pt. Sal Spreader’ which is a lower growing selection. Hardy to 10F. California Coastal ranges from Santa Barbara to Orange County.
mellifera ‘Point Mugu’: California black sage. Mellifera means honey-producing. Bee-keepers often place hives in chaparral near large stands of black sage for their rich source of pollen and nectar. A tough drought-tolerant choice for dry settings. Evergreen with small mid-green leaves. Unportentous, petite white or pale lavender flowers appear in spring. No additional water needed once established. Resistant to deer browsing. Hardy to 10F. California.
mellifera ‘Terra Seca’: California black sage. Another tough and durable native sage for the dry garden, Salvia mellifera is commonly used in restoration work as well and we have been experimenting with a number of interesting clones. ‘Terra Seca’ is an evergreen shrub to 2’ tall with a wide spread. Dark green, aromatic leaves are held tightly along the stems creating a dense mat of foliage. Small white flowers appear in spring. Plant in full sun or light shade and well-drained soils. Summer appearance is improved with occasional water. Deer resistant groundcover for difficult situations. Hardy to 10F. California.
microphylla ‘Maraschino’: Richard Dufresne’s hybrid, a cross between Salvia grahamii and Salvia microphylla. Narrow green foliage and attractive purple stems. Bright cherry-red flowers bloom heavily in spring and again through summer and fall. Full sun and well-drained soils. Tough and durable with a handsome, vase-shaped 3’ form. Occasional water. Hardy to 10F.
nipponica ‘Fuji Snow’: An unusual sage with arrowhead-shaped leaves and marbled, cream colored variegation towards the tips and along the margins. Forms a small 2’ mound and bears 1" long pale yellow flowers on 8" stems. Best used in light to medium shade and well-drained soils. Surprising reliable perennial in our garden rising each spring from complete winter dormancy. Variegation tends to fade as the season progresses. Moderate water. Hardy to 0F. Japan.
officinalis ‘Berggarten’: Garden sage. References to medicinal virtues of Salvia officinalis can be found in many herbal books. Branched, evergreen perennial with a height and width of 2’. Handsome blue-gray leaves with a white lower surface and a tidy, formal appearance. Flowers appear sparsely in late spring or summer. Full sun and well-drained soils with moderate summer water. Longer-lived than the species or other cultivars and also less hardy than the type. A good choice for borders that can utilize the neat, gray foliage. Protect from frost and thawing. Hardy to 15F. Northern shores of the Mediterranean.
officinalis ‘Icterina’: Similar to above, but the green leaves have a wide golden margin, resulting in a subtle honey hue. Hardy to 15F.
officinalis ‘Purpurascens’: Purple sage. The favored sage of medieval times, it has purple-red leaves and was commonly called red sage. Useful at the front of a border or in a situation that can feature the colorful foliage. Flowering spikes of purple-blue in late spring and summer. Grows to 2’ tall with a slightly wider spread. Hardy to 20F.
officinalis ‘Tricolor’: Lower growing to 18" and featuring gray-green leaves with areas of creamy-yellow and rose. Tender, not reliably hardy below 25F.
patens: Gentian sage. A tidy perennial with rich cornflower blue blossoms and yellow-green foliage well suited to shady or partly shaded borders. Plants reach 1-2’ and bloom through summer. Use massed in formal beds. Hardy to 25F.
sclarea: Clary sage. Perennial or biennial to 4’ when flowering. Square stems are covered with hairs and oil glands that account for its long history of cultivation. Rough, gray-green leaves are 6-12" long, saw-toothed, and strongly aromatic. Flowers are white to lilac in big, branching clusters to 3’. Grows rapidly in spring, blooming in early summer. Best in full sun, with good drainage and low nutrient soils. Regular garden water for vigorous growth. Used commonly since before the birth of Christ, its essential oils are still highly regarded for medicinal purposes as well as in perfumes, wines, vermouths and liqueurs. Hardy to below 0F. Europe to Central Asia and North Africa.
sclarea var. turkestanica: Similar to the species but with white flowers flecked with pink held on pink stems. To 3’ tall with an equal spread. Hardy to 0F.
semiatrata: A tender, evergreen shrub to 6’ tall and 3’ wide, but usually smaller. The branching stems are tinged with purple and hold yellow-green, triangular leaves with velvety margins. Bicolored flowers are covered with hairs, with an upper lip of luminous violet and the lower a dusky lavender. The calyx is also violet. Flowers are arranged along a 6" spike in fall. Requires full sun or light shade with good air circulation, fast drainage and a rich soil. Best with regular water, but our plants have proven drought tolerant. Slower growing than most Salvias. Hardy to 25F. Mexican province of Oaxaca.
sinaloensis: Sinaloa sage. Charming perennial species with a low, spreading habit to 12" high. Produces rapid growth over summer, then forms upright flowering stems with intense blue flowers. Flowers in early summer and then again in the fall. Lance-shaped leaves are closely spaced along stem and new leaves open plum-colored, aging to mid-green with a gray undertone. Best in well-drained soils that are acidic. Partial shade with regular garden water and protection from cold. Cool and dry weather promotes purplish leaves. Plants in our garden our completely deciduous. Useful for rock gardens or as a small-scale groundcover. Hardy to 20F. Mexican province of Sinaloa.
sonomensis: Creeping sage. Low-growing perennial that forms spreading mats to 12" high. Leaf shape and color are variable with blue flowers on erect 6" stems in spring and summer. Requires exceptionally good drainage and will not tolerate regular water or heavier soils. Good choice for light, dry shade. A little temperamental but in the right environment creeping sage is an exceptional groundcover. Infrequent water once established. Three distinct populations occur in California: the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, the Coast Ranges from Siskiyou County to Napa County, and from Monterey County to San Diego County. Hardy to 10F. California.
sylvestris ‘Ostriesland’ (syn. ‘East Friesland’): Formerly known as Salvia nemerosa. Evergreen shrub with small olive-green leaves and rich violet-blue flowers held in royal purple bracts. Plants grow to 3’ tall and half as wide and bloom from summer till fall. Use in large pots or sunny borders and cut back regularly for repeat blooming. Keep established plants on the dry side (moderate to occasional water). Hardy to 0F.
thymoides: Interesting herbaceous perennial with a neat, compact form and gray-white leaves that resemble thyme. Diminutive violet flowers form in mid-summer and continue through fall into winter. Difficult to establish and temperamental, requiring well-drained soil and full sun, but worth the effort. Consider planting in containers or dry rock gardens. Requires occasional supplemental water especially during prolonged dry spells. Hardy to perhaps 25F. Mexican provinces of Puebla and Oaxaca.
uliginosa: Bog sage. Uliginosa means swamp or marsh. Deciduous herbaceous perennial growing to 6’ tall and spreading rapidly on underground runners. Narrow, bright green leaves are aromatic and serrated. Bright azure-blue flowers with a white throat form in branched clusters to 5" long from summer to fall. Good drainage, garden soil enriched with humus and moderate watering are recommended to keep it of manageable size in the garden. Not particular about soil. Full sun, but is better looking with some shade. Cut to ground in late winter or early spring for fresh spring growth. Found naturally in perennially wet habitats. Hardy to 20F. Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina.
verticillata ‘Purple Rain’: A Blooms of Bressingham selection with large, floppy basal leaves covered in velvety hairs. Smoky purple flowers in dense whorls appear throughout the summer. Plants grow to 12" tall, or 2’ in bloom. Hardy to 0F.
‘Allen Chickering’: Features stems of 3" gray-green, fragrant leaves with vivid blue flowers from late spring into summer. Requires occasional water when established. Hardy to 20F.
‘Bee’s Bliss’: A hybrid from the UC Berkeley Botanic Garden and introduced by Roger Raiche. Plants have gray-green foliage and lavender-pink flowers and form a low ground cover 2-8’ wide. Avoid overhead water as plants are susceptible to powdery mildew especially in coastal gardens. Hardy to 25F. Garden hybrid.
‘Dara’s Choice’: Salvia mellifera x S. sonomensis hybrid introduced in the 1980’s by Nevin Smith of Wintergreen Nursery. Growing to 3’, it is taller and more mounding than creeping sage. Features aromatic, mid-green leaves and 8" flowering spikes with tiny violet flowers held in tight whorls. Tolerates some shade and little or no water when established. Useful as bank cover, in terracotta pots, or draping over walls. Hardy to 10F. Dara Emery selection from the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.
‘Indigo Spires’: A robust evergreen selection introduced in 1979 by the Huntington Botanical Garden, it has endured because its garden worth has not abated. Rich blue-violet flowers arranged in foot-long spikes bloom from summer till fall and do not fade or lose color even in hot afternoon sun. The medium-green leaves are serrated and aromatic and combine nicely with silver-leafed plants like Artemisia ‘Huntington’ or ‘Silver King’. Plants grow to 4’ with an equal spread. Hardy to 25F.
‘Mrs. Beard’: Hybrid selection of Salvia mellifera and S. sonomensis from the garden of Helen Beard. Our mother plant has been an enduring low shrub to 2’ with a 6’ spread. Leaves are muted green with a gray cast and favor the S. sonomensis parentage. Pale lavender flowers form in spring on 6" spikes. Durable and disease resistant, this cultivar is a fine choice for dry borders and suitable as a small-scale groundcover mixed with other native shrubs. Full sun and even modest amounts of shade with adequate drainage. Little water required but appearance is improved with occasional summer water. Hardy to 10F. Garden origin.
‘Phyllis’ Fancy’: Similar to Salvia ‘Waverly’ except that the calyces tend toward blue, and the plants stay somewhat smaller. Selected at the University of California Santa Cruz Arboretum. Hardy to 20F.
‘Waverly’: Strong, upright cultivar of uncertain origin but clearly with a bit of Salvia leucantha in its vague past. Stiff, curving stems rise to 4’ with textured green leaves that produce long spikes of flowers summer to fall. Flowers are a white-lavender with a wooly violet calyx. Full sun or part shade and moderate water. Virtually ever-blooming on the Central Coast. Hardy to 25F. Garden origin.
Elderberry. Deciduous shrubs or trees noted for their large clusters of creamy-yellow to white flowers and colorful blue to black berries. Berries of some are poisonous, but those of the following are all edible. Prefer full sun or light shade and moderate water. Tolerate a wide range of soils, pollution, coastal conditions, and shade. Useful as a screen or windbreak. Hardiness varies. Temperate and subtropical Northern Hemisphere, Africa, South America, Eastern Australia, Tasmania.
caerula var. neomexicana: Large mounding shrub to small tree, growing 15-30’ tall with an equal spread. Foliage is celery green and divided into toothed leaflets. Large clusters of small, creamy-yellow to white flowers occur in spring and summer, followed by clusters of blue-purple berries in the fall. Berries attract a wide range of birds and are used in jellies, pies, and for making wine. Hardy to below 0F. California.
nigra ‘Aureomarginata’: European elder. Shrub or small tree to 20’ tall with bark that becomes fissured, corky, and gray on trunks. Flowers are cream-colored and musk-scented. Shiny, purple-black fruit is edible and often used in jams and pies. Leaflets are broadly edged gold at first, later margined pale yellow to cream. Hardy to below 0F. Europe, North Africa, Southwestern Asia.
Name derived from Latin sanctum linum, meaning holy flax. Small, stout evergreen shrubs grown for their finely divided, silver or gray-green foliage and profusion of yellow button-like flower heads in late spring to summer. Foliage is aromatic when bruised, and on some species, has a soft woolly texture. Prefer full sun and well-drained soils, are fast growing, and need little to no water once established. Cut straggly, old plants back hard each spring. Tolerant of shearing, hence well-suited to use as a low clipped hedge or as edging. Also effective massed as a bank cover. Will tolerate occasional garden water. Hardy to 0F. Mediterranean.
chamaecyparissus var. nana: Lavender cotton. Smaller version to 12" high and 2-3’ wide. Brittle, woody stems are densely clothed with rough, finely divided, whitish-gray leaves. Bright yellow, button-like flowers appear in summer. Western and Central Mediterranean.
ericoides: (S. pinnata) Grows 18" to 3’ tall and nearly round with dark green, saw-edged leaves and features creamy button flowers at branch ends in summer. Italy.
neapolitana ‘Lemon Queen’: Dwarf and mound forming to 2’ tall with gray leaves and deep yellow flowers.
rosmarinifolia ‘Morning Mist’: Very narrow leaves are vivid green and aromatic. Spain.
Yerba buena. Reputed to possess medicinal qualities, the leaves were used by early settlers to brew a pleasing tea. Creeping perennial with slender, rooting stems and round leaves with a scalloped edge. Plants have a strong, minty aroma when crushed. Consider a planting near the entrance to a house to allow the aroma to enter the home on shoes and clothing. Small white flowers appear April through September. Best in sun or part shade near the coast and full shade inland. Rich, moist soils for best appearance. Noted for inspiring San Francisco’s original name of Yerba Buena. Useful as attractive small-scale groundcover or spilling over walls. Regular water. Hardy to 10F. Los Angeles to British Columbia.
Pincushion flower. Annuals and perennials grown for their unique flowers which can be used in arrangements. Agreeable perennials for the full sun with moderate water. Flowers appear midsummer, and will bloom continually until winter if spent flowers are removed. Mass or use in mixed plantings. Hardiness varies. Europe, Asia, Africa, mainly Mediterranean.
caucasica ‘Fama’: Perennial to 20" tall with large, bright blue flowers and long stems. Full sun with moderate garden water. Hardy to below 0F.
columbaria ‘Butterfly Blue’: Reliable selection with a compact habit and a succession of lavender-blue flowers on 8" stems spring to fall. Deadhead for continuous flowering. Best in full sun with moderate summer water. Hardy to 10F. Europe, Africa and Asia.
columbaria ‘Nana’: Smaller form of this common perennial with finely cut, gray-green leaves. Hardy to 10F. Europe, Africa and Asia.
columbaria ‘Pink Mist’: Similar to ‘Butterfly Blue’ but with soft pink flowers.
Evergreen, shrubby perennials or shrubs noted for their unique, one-sided, fan-shaped flowers. Name comes from the Latin scaevus, meaning left-handed and alluding to the flowers. Size and flower color varies but the following prefer full sun and well-drained soil. Moderate water once established. Hardy to 25F. Australia and Polynesia.
‘Mauve Clusters’: Groundcover or rock garden plant forming mats to 6" tall and eventually 3’ wide. Lilac-mauve flowers appear in clusters most of the year among the bright green leaves. The round, shiny foliage is easily renewed with periodic mowing or clipping. Useful on banks and in small planters. Full sun or light shade with good drainage. Hardy to 25F. Australia.
‘Petite Wonder’: Small-flowered selection with a tight, dense habit to 6". Light blue flowers are heaviest in spring, repeating in other seasons. Excellent in hanging baskets or a small-scale groundcover. Full sun or light shade with moderate water. Hardy to 25F. Garden origin.
Stonecrop. Succulent perennials grown most commonly for their interesting foliage and form. Most bear clusters of bright, star-shaped flowers, usually white or yellow. Textures, colors, and smaller statures make them useful as specimens in rock gardens or containers. Larger types are suitable in borders or even as small shrubs. Not tolerant of foot traffic, but they are otherwise a tough, low-maintenance group for full sun or light shade. Moderate to occasional watering once established. Hardiness varies. North temperate and tropical mountain regions.
makinoi ‘Ogon’: A tight low-growing variety to less than 4" and spreading 8-12" across. The small, round foliage is brilliant gold and seems to hold up best with protection from hot afternoon sun. Plant in containers or rock gardens and provide moderate water. Hardy to 10F.
reflexum ‘Blue Spruce’: Tiny, needle-like blue-green leaves distinguish this sedum from the others we grow. The thin trailing stems spread to 12" and form dense colonies that can be invasive in ideal conditions.Use in containers or rock gardens and watch in summer for small, bright yellow flowers. Hardy to 10F.
spathulifolium ‘Cape Blanco’: Dense, compact form to 2" tall and spreading in favorable sites. Flat rosettes of fleshy, silvery-green leaves with clusters of tiny, yellow flowers above the foliage in summer. Once rooted, it needs little water in cool summer climates and tolerates considerable shade. Excellent in containers or used in rock gardens. Hardy to 5F. Oregon.
spathulifolium ssp. pruinosum 'Carnea': Similar to ‘Cape Blanco’, but with a reddish tint to the silvery foliage. A handsome selection that combines nicely with other succulents like Dudleya pulverulenta. Hardy to 10F.
spathulifolium ‘Purpureum’: Similar to above. Leaves flushed purple and packed into rosettes on trailing stems. Hardy to 10F. California.
‘Autumn Joy’: Deciduous succulent with strong stems to 2’ from a basal rosette and fleshy gray-green leaves. Large heads of waxy buds appear the color of the leaves, then open as starry pink flowers which deepen to brick red, finally turning to copper-rust seedheads in late fall. Cut hard to soil line in late fall or winter. Hardy to 0F. Garden origin.
‘Frosty Morn’: Striking white variegated Sedum reminiscent of a winter day in Jackson, Wyoming. Leaves have a central blotch of green and gray with pure white margins. Sturdy stems to 15" bear white flowers with variegated bracts. Full sun along the coast, some shade inland and moderate garden water. Winter deciduous. Hardy to 0F. Garden origin.
‘Vera Jameson’: Sturdy stems to 9" tall that spill over in a horizontal fashion. Smoky-blue leaves held loosely along the stems have blushes of purplish-pink. Dusty rose-pink flowers open in late summer. Full sun or light shade with moderate water. Hardy to 0F. Garden origin.
Slender perennial to 18" tall with hairy stems tinged purple. Closely related to Aquilegia, but flowers are not spurred. Basal leaves to 12" long are gray-green. Flowers appear in loose panicles colored wine-red from mid-spring to summer. Consider for rock gardens or the front of a border in any soil with full sun. Plants have reseeded in our garden in moister sites. Moderate water. Hardy to 0F. West China.
Groundsel. Enormous and diverse group of plants including trees, shrubs, vines and herbs. We carry four perennials that thrive in full sun with occasional watering. Grown mainly for showy foliage. Uses vary by species. Cosmopolitan.
mandraliscae: Low-growing succulent with upward reaching stems to 18" high and several feet across. Distinctive blue leaves are cylindrical, 3-4" long and slightly curved. Commonly used as a groundcover in the Santa Barbara area. Also useful as a border plant where blue-gray effect is desired. Conspicuous smoky-white flowers appear in summer. Full sun or light shade and drought tolerant but better with occasional water. Hardy to 20F. South Africa.
serpens: Blue-chalksticks. Low succulent similar to S. mandraliscae but growing to 12" tall with 1-2" long light gray or bluish leaves. Remove flower heads for cleaner appearance. Hardy to 20F. South Africa.
spendennii ‘Sunshine’: (S. squalidus ‘Sunshine’) Evergreen, bushy shrub that forms a mound of silvery-gray young leaves that later become gray-green. Large clusters of bright yellow daisies are produced on felted shoots from late spring into summer. Grows to 3-4’ tall and 5’ wide. Used in Europe much the way Euryops is used in California. Hardy to 10F. Garden origin.
viravira: Dusty miller. Subshrub to 4’ tall with a broad, sprawling habit. Leaves are gray-white and finely cut into narrow, pointed segments. Plants have a brilliant white appearance in full sun. Looser form in partial shade and sparsely foliaged but still a stunning subject. Whiter with drought stress but occasional water recommended. Hardy to 10F. Central Argentina.
Coast redwood. State tree of California, named for Sequoyah, a Cherokee chief, who invented a syllabary for transcribing the Cherokee language. Huge, evergreen tree growing to over 350’ tall but more commonly to 150’. World’s largest tree, exhibiting horizontal branches, a narrow crown and bright, yellow-green foliage. Fluted, cinnamon-brown bark covers its columnar trunk exfoliating into long strips. Impressive and often found in groves, emanating a woodsy scent. The thick bark is fire-resistant. Requires full sun or partial shade and regular water when young. Fast-growing tree particularly in full sun with ample water. Fog-loving, it does best along the coast in California. Best in deep, well-drained soil and is tolerant of cold and some heat. In coastal situations plant away from direct salt laden winds to avoid burning the windward foliage. Moderate to regular garden water but much faster growth with regular water. Growth rate can be slowed by withholding water but plants appear stressed. Shallow rooted and resistant to oak root fungus. Cultivars vary in form, texture, and color, but all make handsome specimens. Hardy to 10F. Southwestern Oregon to San Luis Obispo County in the fog belt.
‘Aptos Blue’: Characterized by dense outline and blue-green foliage on nearly horizontal branches with hanging branchlets. Linear leaves in flat sprays. Cold tolerant.
‘Emily Brown’: Strong pyramidal habit with soft, bright green foliage. Young plants are dense and appear to take the form of giant sequoia.
‘Simpson’s Silver’: Silvery-blue selection recently introduced by the Saratoga Horticultural Foundation. Fast-growing with dense upturned branches and a distinctive foliage color, a muted silver-green.
‘Soquel’: Fine-textured needles with rich royal green foliage; blue on the underside. Features horizontal branches that turn up at the tips and a sturdy, stout trunk with little suckering. Dense pyramidal form with compact foliage that retains a strong green color through winter.
Giant sequoia. A truly colossal evergreen tree to 325’ tall with the most massive trunk in the world--to 30’ in diameter. Standing in a grove of these trees, geologic time begins to make sense. Much more cold tolerant than coast redwood, it is more successful in colder interior climates than near the coast. Grows much slower than coast redwood and requires less water. A strongly pyramidal habit with prickly bluish-green or olive green foliage. The cones are reddish-brown to 4" long. Bark is similar to redwood, fluted and ruddy-brown. Deep-rooted and does best in protected spots with full sun and deep, rich, moist soil. Discovered in Calveras County by a gold miner chasing a bear. Occasional water. Hardy to 0F. Western slopes of Sierras, Placer and Tulare counties at 4,000-8,000 ft.
Checker mallow. Genus of 25 species commonly found in moisture-retentive sites of grasslands, meadows and coniferous forests of western North America. We offer four perennial selections with rounded, deep green leaves and showy flowers varying from pinks and purples to white. Most prefer full sun or light shade and regular water. Well-drained soils, but moisture-retentive soils are best. Hardiness varies. Western North America.
hickmanni ssp. anomala: Cuesta Ridge checkerbloom. Stems spreading to 2’, covered with lobed, fan-shaped leaves. Lavender-white or light pink flowers in mid-spring. We continue to look for interesting color variants and forms of this narrow endemic on Cuesta Ridge. Best in full sun or light shade with occasional water. Hardy to 10F. San Luis Obispo County, California.
‘Brilliant’: An upright hybrid to 2-3’ with pure carmine-red flowers on sturdy stems.
alba ‘Clifford Moor’: Herbaceous perennial with large golden-yellow, spoon-shaped leaves splashed with dark green along the mid-vein. Rose-pink flowers appear in spring and early summer. Provide full sun to light shade and regular water. An excellent choice for containers or massed in perennial borders.
uniflora (syn. Silene vulgaris ssp. maritima): Sea campion. Prostrate perennial grown for its tidy mounding form and profusion of white flowers in spring. Prefers full sun and well-drained, fertile soils with regular water. Hardy to 5F. Europe.
uniflora ‘Druett’s Variegated’: Fleshy leaves on prostrate stems exhibit a brilliant white variegation. Plants form a tidy white mound to 6" high with white flowers on wiry stems in spring. Moderate water. Garden origin.
Blue-eyed grass. Clump-forming perennials with thick grasslike basal leaves and small, cheery flowers that open in the sunlight. Colors vary among the species from yellow to blue, white and pink. Best in full sun to light shade. Water requirements vary, but most look better with moderate water. Useful in low meadows or open grassland. Some species will naturalize freely. All of the following are summer dormant except Sisyrinchium californicum. Hardiness varies. Northern and Central America.
bellum: California blue-eyed grass. Forms small clumps of grassy, green or bluish-green foliage 6-12" high with flowering stems to 20" high. Half inch flowers are purple to bluish-purple with golden centers, blooming early to mid-spring. Reseeds freely in favorable sites. Hardy to 10F. California.
bellum ‘Rocky Point’: A tight, sturdy selection to 8" tall with broad blades and large, purple-blue flowers. In moist situations it displays little dormancy. Selected from Rocky Point on the Big Sur coast. Hardy to 10F.
californicum: Golden-eyed grass. Dull green leaves to 16" and a bit broader than those of blue-eyed grass. Yellow flowers open from May to June. Good choice for wet, poorly drained sites. It can be invasive in favorable situations. Regular water. Hardy to 15F. California.
californicum ‘Dwarf’: With a compact tidy form and bright yellow flowers, this selection makes a charming display in containers or sunny borders. Plants grow to 6-8" tall with a slightly lesser spread. Hardy to 10F.
‘Californian Skies’: A robust English selection from presumably California blood lines that forms a neat clump to 10" with large, free flowering sky-blue flowers. Hardy to 10F.
‘Quaint and Queer’: Stiff, sprawling stems to 16" high have alternating petals of blue and chocolate-pink. Flowers form above grasslike foliage from summer to fall. Full sun or light shade and moisture-retentive soil. Hardy to 15F. Garden origin.
Bluebell creeper. Evergreen, woody-based twining climbers, grown for their attractive, nodding, blue flowers. Bell-shaped blooms are carried from mid-summer into autumn. Best in rich, moisture retentive, but well-drained soil and full sun to part shade. Exhibits a sprawling habit with sporadic arching stems. Useful along borders, steps, half-shaded banks or cascading over walls. Plants in our garden have done very well in the deep shade of Eucalyptus. Provide support for vining effect. Moderate water. Hardy to 20F. Australia.
heterophylla: Australian bluebell creeper. Forms a loose, spreading shrub 2-3’ across or, if given support, climbs to 6-8’. Light and delicate foliage is narrow, glossy green to 2" long. Brilliant purple-blue flowers appear through most of summer. Guard against snails and slugs. Western Australia.
heterophylla ‘Alba’: White-flowered form of the species.
Sphaeralcea philipiana (munroana)
Trailing mallow. Trailing perennial herb to 5’ wide with gray-pubescent stems to 18" tall and small, serrated soft gray leaves. Coral-pink flowers have a showy central tube of stamens common to hibiscus. Best in a warm, dry position in full sun with well-drained soil. Moderate water. Hardy to 20F. Argentina.
ambigua ‘Louis Hamilton’: An evergreen subshrub selected for its abundant deep coral blossoms that blanket the slender gray-green branches throughout the summer and fall. These hibiscus-like blossoms open to reveal a pale center with a cluster of yellow stamens and create a vivid impact on 3’ tall plants.
Betony. Assortment of woolly to hairy herbs, subshrubs and shrubs with coarsely veined, wrinkled leaves and spikes of small flowers in summer that resemble those of Salvia. Best in sun with well-drained soil and only occasional watering once established. They have a long history of use in herb gardens and many are believed to have medicinal value. Useful on banks and in dry borders. Generally hardy to 0F. Widespread, especially in northern temperate zones.
byzantina: Lamb’s ears. Low-growing perennial to 18" with soft, woolly gray leaves distinctly shaped like a lamb’s ear. Flower stalks develop in early summer and carry many whorls of small, mauve-pink flowers. Cut stalks back as flowers fade. Established plants tolerate heat and drought but are better with some summer water. Useful as edging, border plantings, and groundcover under high branching oaks. The leaves turn to mush in cold weather and humid, wet conditions. Hardy to below 0F. Caucasus Mountains to Iran.
byzantina ‘Helene Von Stein’: A selection sold under a number of names, ‘Countess Von Zeppelin’ and more commonly ‘Big Ears’. We cannot bring ourselves to use ‘Big Ears’ as it sounds more like a school yard insult than a plant. A popular selection with large, felted-gray leaves on thick 12" mounds that spread to 3’. Full sun or light shade with moderate to regular water. Hardy to 0F. Garden origin.
byzantina ‘Primrose Heron’: Velvety leaves emerge bright gold in spring, shifting to chartreuse, then fading to light green in summer, finally becoming gray late in the season. Light magenta flowers appear sporadically in summer, reaching 16" high. Best in full sun but may require shade in the warmer inland climates of California. We have used the interesting foliage color to border paths through the woodland sections of our garden. Hardy to 0F. Garden origin.
byzantina ‘Silver Carpet’: A compact selection to 5" high with a 3’ spread forming a tidy dense mound. Silver leaves are slightly smaller than the species. Full sun or part shade with moderate to occasional water. Hardy to 0F.
Snowberry. A charming small, woodland shrub, the snowberry grows 3-5’ with an equal spread and bears eye-catching, pure white fruits that look just like tiny snowballs hanging from the slender branches. Plant in sun or part shade and utilize as an informal hedge or in the understory of native oaks. Plants grow well in poor soils and require moderate water; they are generally undemanding. Some confusion exists over the cultivar ‘Tilden Park’ which was originally selected by Roy Taylor at the Botanic Garden there. It is noted for producing abundant berries larger than those of the species. Hardy to 0F. Western North America.