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About Nora Harlow

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So far Nora Harlow has created 60 blog entries.
1 12, 2021

Evergreen Euphorbias

2021-12-02T05:53:08-08:00Categories: Blog, Garden Plants, Nora Harlow, perennials, subshrubs|Tags: , , |

It may seem surprising that evergreen euphorbias aren't used more often in commercial and public landscapes, where year-round good looks and ease of maintenance are so highly valued. Euphorbia characias (Mediterranean spurge) All of these evergreen subshrubs have fairly predictable shapes and sizes, a neat, almost architectural habit, and extraordinary color combinations that both offset and complement many other plants. Although the floral show is a spring and summertime event, the sculptural quality of the leaves and stems makes evergreen euphorbias especially effective in the winter garden. Perhaps the failure to include the shrubby euphorbias in commercially maintained

15 11, 2021

What is a Drought-Tolerant Plant?

2021-11-15T19:38:45-08:00Categories: Blog, Climate, Water|Tags: , , |

Many plants are advertised or described as drought-tolerant, but what, if anything, does that tell us? Drought-tolerant where? Drought-tolerant when? Drought-tolerant if . . . what? By now, with unusually dry weather increasingly common worldwide, most gardeners likely are aware that drought itself may be defined in different ways, depending on one's perspective. Heteromeles arbutifolia (toyon) At the risk of oversimplifying, meteorological drought is lower than normal precipitation. Hydrological drought is lower than normal streamflow or groundwater levels. Agricultural drought is inadequate soil moisture for specific crops. Socioeconomic drought is insufficient water supply to meet demand. Ecological drought is insufficient

6 11, 2021

Cyclamen for the Garden

2021-11-15T16:09:31-08:00Categories: Nora Harlow, perennials|Tags: , , |

Cyclamen in supermarkets, their plastic pots wrapped gaily in shiny paper, are as emblematic of winter as are poinsettias of Christmas and red roses of Valentine's Day. We can perhaps be forgiven for thinking of cyclamen as short-lived decorations to be discarded after flowering since that is how these charming little plants are usually marketed. Cyclamen hederifolium Supermarket cyclamen are mostly highly bred, frost-tender cultivars of Cyclamen persicum, a winter- and spring-flowering species native to the summer-dry eastern Mediterranean region. These cultivars are commonly grown as seasonal houseplants and are known as florists' cyclamen to distinguish them from

21 10, 2021

Sasanqua Camellias

2021-10-25T16:26:08-07:00Categories: Blog, Garden Plants, shrubs|Tags: , , |

There was a time, not that long ago, when sasanqua camellias were less well known to most gardeners and less often grown in gardens than japonicas, but that time has surely passed. Of the dozens of sasanquas available from specialty nurseries and online, a few can even be found in the gardening sections of big-box stores. 'Yuletide' on a frosty winter morning There are many reasons for the popularity of Camellia sasanqua and its abundant offspring, especially in summer-dry climates. Most camellias do best in mild, humid climates with regular summer water, but established sasanquas, with afternoon shade

8 10, 2021

Parrotia persica

2021-10-09T09:16:47-07:00Categories: Blog, Garden Plants, shrubs, trees|Tags: , , , |

A connoisseur's tree, Parrotia persica or Persian parrotia offers a virtual kaleidoscope of colors and textures from one season to another and over the years. Through the seasons the deeply veined, serrated, broadly oval leaves of this deciduous, multitrunk or low-branching tree turn from spring's bronzy purple to summer's rich green to a sometimes astonishing fall combination of reds, oranges, yellows, and even pinks. Individual trees can vary widely in their fall display, and not every year brings the exact same colors at the same times on the same tree. Parrotia persica leaves in fall color Adding to

21 09, 2021

Wild Buckwheats

2021-09-21T19:38:43-07:00Categories: Blog, California Native, Garden Plants, groundcovers, perennials, shrubs|Tags: , , , |

What could be more emblematic of the summer-dry/winter wet, semi-arid, and arid climates of western North America than the wild buckwheats? Annuals, perennials, and low to medium or tall shrubs, one or more species of Eriogonum is native from western Canada to Baja California and throughout much of the intermountain west. More than 100 species are native to California, from seaside cliffs to rocky alpine outcrops. Eriogonum grande var. rubescens Most of the buckwheats commonly available to gardeners are shrubs or shrubby perennials with green to gray-green or silvery gray leaves and masses of tiny flowers in small,

11 09, 2021

Grevillea ‘Austraflora Fanfare’

2021-09-11T07:55:54-07:00Categories: Blog, Garden Plants, groundcovers|Tags: , |

Dozens of grevilleas have moved in and out of the nursery trade over the years, mostly medium to large shrubs and a few mounding groundcovers with needlelike, narrowly oval, or finely divided leaves and intriguing flowers typically described as either "spidery" or brushlike. Grevillea ‘Austraflora Fanfare’ Grevillea 'Austraflora Fanfare' is distinctive for its nearly flat, widespreading habit and its long, dark green leaves deeply lobed in sawtooth fashion. Less than a foot tall and spreading 10-15 feet wide, the dense foliage drapes over walls and cascades down banks, prominently displaying the pinkish red, one-sided, brushlike flowers from late

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