Marigold. The following are robust, free-branching perennials with showy flowers ranging from pale yellow through gold to orange and brown-maroon. Leaves are ferny, finely divided and strongly scented. They commonly bloom from early summer to first frost. Annual species are widely grown and useful as bedding plants in borders and containers. Best in full sun in well-drained soil with regular water. Hardy to 20F. Tropical and subtropical Western Hemisphere.
lemmonii: Mexican bush marigold. Shrubby perennial to 8’ tall and spreading as wide. Leaves are aromatic when brushed, smelling strongly of marigold and lemon. Golden-orange flower heads are carried year round, but heaviest in fall. Responds well to pruning and useful as an informal hedge or screen. Full sun and moderate to occasional water. Hardy to 25F. Southeastern Arizona to Central America.
nelsonii: A shrub similar to Tagetes lemmonii but not as finely textured. Luminous orange flowers form in late fall in dense heads. Emits a pungent fragrance even from a distance, not for the fainthearted. Full sun with regular water. Hardy to 25F. Mexico.
Perennial herbs with finely divided, often aromatic leaves and clusters of daisy-like flower heads. Prefer full sun and tolerate some aridity. Moderate water. Hardiness varies. North Temperate regions.
densum ssp. amani: Low-growing to 8” high and spreading slowly to make broad mats. The leaves are finely cut, feather-like in appearance and distinctly silvery-white. Small yellow flower heads appear a few inches above the mat in summer. Useful for rock gardens and as small scale groundcover in bright, sunny areas with good drainage. Can withstand some dry spells when established and looks perfectly miserable in humid conditions. Hardy to 0F. Turkey.
haradjanii: Perennial or subshrub to 12-18” tall with downy, silvery-gray foliage and white to yellow flowers in summer and fall. The lacy appearance of the foliage adds elegance to the perennial border or rock garden. Hardy to 10F.
‘Beth Chatto’: Tansy. A lovely well-behaved selection from Beth Chatto’s garden with silver, finely cut foliage and creamy yellow flowers. Plants reach 24-36” with an equal spread and make fine companions for darker leafed plants such as Hebe ‘Blue Elf’ or Salvia corrugata. Hardy to 0F.
Germander or Wood sage. Tough, evergreen shrubs or subshrubs that endure poor, rocky soils and are suited to a range of garden situations. Size, habit and leaves vary widely, but all have irregular, two-lipped flowers. They prefer full sun and will take regular garden water where the drainage is good. Hardiness varies. Cosmopolitan, but most prevalent from Mediterranean to Western Asia.
chamaedrys: Wall germander. Perennial herb or sub-shrub to 20” tall, spreading to 2’. Upright, woody stems are covered in small, dark green, toothed leaves. Colorful spikes of lavender-purple flowers appear above the foliage from summer to fall. Useful as a border, for low knot garden hedges, edging or even massed as a small-scale groundcover. Shear once or twice a year for a tidy appearance. Prefers low to moderate amounts of supplemental water, tolerates heat and attracts bees. Hardy to 15F. Europe to Caucasus.
fruticans ‘Azureum’: Bush germander. Evergreen shrub to 8’ tall and spreading 4-8’ across. The loose, silvery stems are often leggy and covered with gray-green leaves that are silver-white beneath, giving a rich silver-gray effect to the shrub. Mid-blue flowers appear mainly in summer, but sporadically most of the year. Useful as a hedge, screen, or against a fence. Tolerant of heat, frost, wind and extended periods of drought. Offers nice contrast to darker green colors in the landscape and makes a strong informal hedge. Hardy to 10F. Western Mediterranean.
fruticans ‘Compactum’: Similar to above, but to only 3’ tall with dense, stiff stems. Blooms most of the year with soft-blue flowers. Hardy to 10F.
majoricum: Mounding perennial to 12” with narrow silver-gray leaves. Rose-purple flowers presented most of the year in our garden, but more heavily in the spring and early summer. Requires full sun and good air circulation. In warm, moist situations plants turn to mush. Moderate to occasional water once established. Excellent companion to rosemary and lavender. Hardy to 10F. Mediterranean.
Meadow rue. Perennial herbs to 4’ high, with fern-like foliage that rises from basal clumps each spring. They are naturally found in damp, shady sites, meadows and along riparian corridors. Useful and easy early summer-blooming plants with light, lacy foliage and clouds of small, soft purple or yellow flowers. Best in light to medium shade, reasonably well-drained soil. Regular water and protection from wind. Winter deciduous. Usually hardy to 0F. North temperate zones, tropical South America, tropical and South Africa and Indonesia.
alpinum: Grows to 6” tall with short rhizomes and glabrous leaves that are toothed or lobed and mostly basal. Inflorescences reach 4-8” long with showy, pendulous, violet stamens in early summer. Europe, Asia and North America.
aquilegiifolium ‘Thundercloud’: Finely divided blue-green leaves on slender stems with rose-purple flowers.
delavayi ‘Hewitt’s Double’: A versatile perennial to 4’ tall with dark-colored stems and double, mauve-purple, pom-pom shaped flowers in late summer. Part shade and protection from winds are a must. Moderate to regular garden water in any well-drained soil. Fully deciduous in California gardens. Western China to Eastern Tibet.
Thuja plicata ‘Emerald Cone’
Western red cedar. An extremely garden tolerant native conifer that forms a pyramidal tree to 80’ tall in ideal conditions. This selection has rich emerald green foliage held in flat sprays heavily scented of cedar. Plant in full sun or part shade and provide regular or occasional water. Amazingly adaptable, it can be used in almost any setting if given ample room to grow. Plants will even tolerate shearing for use as a formal hedge. Hardy to 0F. California, Western North America.
Thyme. Aromatic, sun-loving, evergreen herbs long valued for their ornamental, culinary and medicinal properties. The following are erect perennials, or shrubby, matting groundcovers with heavily scented foliage. Prefer full sun to light shade with good air circulation and well-drained soils. Useful for dry, sunny borders, troughs, rock gardens, herb gardens and between paving stones. Low growing species will tolerate light foot traffic. Showy flowers on short stems are nectar-rich and attract bees. Moderate water. Hardiness varies. Eurasia.
camphoratus: Small, drought tolerant shrublet to 16” high with narrow, rich green, aromatic leaves and flower clusters of large, rose-pink blossoms that cover the plant in late spring and summer. Hardy to 0F. Portugal.
x citriodorus ‘Argenteus’: Sparkling silver foliage on a small, mounded shrublet to 12”. Clustered flowers are purple and white forming in early summer. Full sun or light shade with moderate to occasional water. Hardy to 5F. Garden origin.
x citriodorus ‘Aureus’: Lemon thyme. Small, erect shrublet to 6” high. Tiny green leaves are dappled gold, which is most apparent in winter and spring, but liable to revert to a pure green form. Foliage is lemon-scented and flowers pale purple. Hardy to 5F. Garden origin.
x citriodorus ‘Lime’: Similar to above, but not as sweetly-scented leaves. Leaves are a bright lime-green. Hardy to 5F. Garden origin.
herba-barona: Caraway thyme. Dwarf subshrub to 10” high and forming a thick, flat mat of small, dark green leaves with a caraway fragrance. Fast growing groundcover with summer flowers of rose-pink in tight clusters. Hardy to 15F. Corsica and Sardinia.
minus: Ground-hugging variety to 1” tall and up to 18” across bearing diminutive rich green leaves and white to pink flowers in summer. Similar to ‘Elfin’ thyme but not as gray or fuzzy looking. Excellent choice for rock gardens.
praecox-arcticus ‘Coconut’: A low-growing spreader to 4” high with coconut-scented foliage and rose-pink summertime flowers. Purported to be deer resistant, this is a good groundcover choice for rural gardens. Hardy to 0F.
pseudolanuginosus: Woolly thyme. Beautifully textured groundcover that demands touching. Forms an undulating mat to 2” high with stems holding small, gray leaves covered with dense wooly hairs. Pink flowers are seldom seen. Useful in rock crevices, between stepping stones, or spilling out of a raised bed. Best in well-drained soils with good air circulation. Hardy to below 0F. Garden origin.
richardii ‘Peter Davis’: This strongly aromatic, gray-leafed perennial spreader grows to 5” tall and works as a reliable filler between pavers or in rock walls. A shrubby dwarf, ‘Peter Davis’ flowers profusely and adds a splash of pink to the late summer and fall garden. Hardy to 0F.
serpyllum ‘Elfin’: Wild thyme. Aromatic, dwarf shrub to 4” with trailing stems, tiny, rounded leaves, and pink flowers. Hardy to 5F. Northern Europe.
serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz’: Similar to above, but lower-growing with dark olive, woolly leaves and salmon-pink flowers. A tough and durable ground cover in the landscape and tolerant of considerable foot traffic. Full sun or light shade with moderate to occasional water. Hardy to 0F. Europe.
vulgaris ‘Dot Wells’: Upright form 8-12” high with bright green leaves and pale pink flowers in summer. Use as a border edging, in kitchen gardens, or in containers. The foliage is strongly fragrant making ‘Dot Wells’ a good container subject near a doorway, where its aroma might rub off on clothing or skin. Hardy to 0F.
vulgaris ‘Hi Ho Silver’: A distinctive variegated variety with white and silver markings on the pleasantly aromatic foliage. Plants have a semi-upright habit and grow to 10” tall.
‘Doone Valley’: Forms mats of dark green foliage, marked sporadically with patches of gold. Lemon-scented foliage to 3” and red-purple flowers in summer. Hardy to 0F. Garden origin.
‘Green Lemon’: Dark green foliage strongly scented of lemon gives this thyme a leg up on the competition. Plant in kitchen gardens or as a border with other citrus-smelling plants like Thymus ‘Orange Balsam’ or Lemon verbena. Hardy to 20F.
‘Red Creeping’: Tiny glossy green leaves are held on ruby-red stems and creep slowly to cover between pavers and stepping stones. Red flowers appear from June to July. Hardy to 20F.
‘Victor Reiter’: A vigorous, spreading mat to 3” tall with dark green, aromatic leaves and small purple flowers in dense clusters from June to September. Soft and fragrant underfoot. Full sun or light shade with moderate to occasional water. Hardy to 5F. Garden origin.
Foamflower or Sugar-scoop. Clump-forming perennial resembling Heuchera with pointed lobed leaves coming directly from the rhizome; slower to spread than other Tiarellas. Narrow, erect stems with many small, fuzzy, white flowers tinged faintly pink. Useful to add delicacy in shaded rock gardens and as a groundcover where there is little foot traffic. Thrives in shade with rich soil that does not dry out. Regular water. Hardy to 0F. Appalachians.
‘Dark Eyes’: The maple-like leaves splashed with dark purple-black along the midveins are only one ornamental feature of this lucious foamflower selection. Add the pale pink and white flowers in spring and oh! what a sight to behold. Plants grow to 10” tall and spread slightly wider. Hardy to below 0F.
‘Heronswood Mist’: This new selection from Dan Hinkley of the famed Heronswood Nursery possesses irregularly lobed leaves misted with palest shades of cream, pink and mint green. When the foamy pink flowers appear on pink stems in spring, the plant gains a truly ephemeral quality. Plants grow to 6” tall, 12” with flowers, and spread to 9” across.
Woolly blue curls. Branching evergreen shrub to 4’ tall with narrow, 2” long leaves that emit a wonderfully pungent aroma when bruised. Foliage is shiny, dark green on top, white and woolly beneath with leaf edges rolled under. Blue flowers appear in clusters along a stalk and show arching stamens from April to June, longer if spent flowers are removed. Stalks and parts of flowers are covered with blue, pink or whitish wool giving an appearance of tight curls. Requires full sun, excellent drainage, and little or no irrigation once established. A temperamental native species in the garden, but worth the effort for its resinous scent alone. Hardy to 15F. Coast Ranges of California.
Group of moderately hardy perennials grown for their dainty flowers typically held on tall stalks above linear foliage in mounding clumps. Most require full sun, moderate water and well-drained soil. Hardy to 20F. South Africa.
natalensis ‘Pink Form’: Foliage is darker green than the common society garlic with pink flowers.
violacea: Society garlic. Erect, grasslike basal leaves are bluish-green to 12” long with lavender-pink blossoms held in clusters atop slender stems that reach above the foliage most of the year, but most heavily in spring and summer. Both foliage and flower stems smell of garlic when crushed. Useful as bedding, sunny border, or in and amongst rockery. Hardy to 20F. South Africa.
‘Silver Lace’: Variegated society garlic. Similar to the species, but with white-margined leaves.