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Descriptions with photos of garden plants suitable for summer-dry gardens.

15 02, 2024

x Chiranthomontodendron lenzii: What’s in a Name?

2024-02-15T07:45:35-08:00Categories: Blog, Nora Harlow, shrubs, trees|Tags: , , |

It’s a mouthful. x Chiranthomontodendron lenzii, the hybrid monkey hand tree, is the result of an intergeneric cross between the Mexican monkey hand tree, Chiranthodendron pentadactylon, native to Guatemala and adjacent parts of Mexico, and the flannelbush cultivar Fremontodendron ‘Pacific Sunset’. The latter is itself a cross between F. californicum, native primarily to California, and F. mexicanum, native to northern Baja California and adjacent parts of San Diego County. Distinctive flowers and leaves of x Chiranthomontodendron lenzii, hybrid monkey hand tree As are its parents, the hybrid monkey hand tree is best known for its distinctive flowers,

23 01, 2024

Some Mild-Winter Summer-Dry Sumacs

2024-01-23T15:36:18-08:00Categories: Blog, California Native, Nora Harlow, shrubs|Tags: , , |

Sumacs are current or former members of the genus Rhus, notorious for those species that spread aggressively by suckers or by seed (e.g., staghorn sumac, African sumac) as well as for those that through mere touch can bring on a ferocious rash (poison ivy, poison oak). Yet there are well-behaved and beneficent sumacs too. Several of these are exceptionally fine shrubs native to mild-winter, summer-dry southern California, Mexico, and parts of the American southwest. Unlike most sumacs, these are evergreen. Rhus integrifolia, lemonadeberry or lemonade sumac Rhus integrifolia, lemonadeberry or lemonade sumac, is 8-10 feet tall and

22 12, 2023

Fruitless Olives?

2023-12-22T07:13:49-08:00Categories: Blog, Nora Harlow, shrubs, trees|Tags: , , |

To aficionados of olives and olive oils planting fruitless olive trees may seem a pointless exercise. Yet there are good reasons to include these well-mannered trees and shrubs in summer-dry landscapes. Olives need little summer water and they blend well with other summer-dry plants. With a history going back thousands of years in the Mediterranean region and hundreds of years in summer-dry parts of the Americas, olive trees instantly evoke, on sight, nostalgic associations with sunny summer-dry lands. Fruitless olives do the same without the mess. Olea europaea 'Wilsonii' at Huntington Botanical Gardens Fruitless olives are cultivars

12 11, 2023

Australian Fuchsia

2023-11-12T06:38:09-08:00Categories: Blog, groundcovers, Nora Harlow, shrubs|Tags: , |

Plants native to southwestern Western Australia are well known to gardeners in other mild, winter-wet, summer-dry climates. Less widely known, perhaps, are plants endemic to southeastern Australia, where topography and climate are more diverse. The Australian fuchsias (Correa species) are native almost exclusively to this part of the world. Correa 'Dawn in Santa Cruz' Correas are low and spreading to mid-sized or tall evergreen shrubs with small, oval to rounded, dark green to olive or gray-green leaves and pendant, bell-shaped or tubular flowers that resemble those of fuchsias. Rich in nectar, the flowers are favored by nectar-feeding

5 10, 2023

Seaside Daisy

2023-10-05T12:24:33-07:00Categories: Blog, California Native, Nora Harlow, perennials, subshrubs|Tags: , , , |

Erigeron glaucus, the aptly named seaside daisy, is an herbaceous perennial or subshrub with composite flowerheads that blanket the plant from spring into fall. Native to coastal bluffs and dunes from northern Oregon south to Santa Barbara County, California, its flowers are wildly popular with bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. Erigeron glaucus (seaside daisy) The species is somewhat variable. Habit ranges from a nearly flat mat to a mound more than two feet tall. The semi-succulent leaves can be grayish green, dark green, or bright green and broadly lance-shaped to oval, spoon-shaped, or spatulate, often with wavy

18 07, 2023

Lotus hirsutus

2023-07-18T05:22:37-07:00Categories: Blog, Nora Harlow, perennials, subshrubs|Tags: , , |

Most longtime gardeners know this low, velvety, gray-leaved subshrub as Dorycnium hirsutum, by which name it is still often referenced today. Described by Linnaeus as Lotus hirsutus, it was recently returned to that genus, but the name change has been slow to receive wide acceptance. Lotus hirsutus (Dorycnium hirsutum) with Aloe striata in Ruth Bancroft Garden Assuming that the plants I’ve seen and grown over the years are all the same species, Lotus hirsutus seems to be quite variable. The plants in my garden today are mostly upright and mounding, two feet tall and three to four

19 06, 2023

Cedros Island Verbena

2023-07-05T23:59:01-07:00Categories: Blog, Nora Harlow, perennials, subshrubs|Tags: , , |

Cedros Island verbena puts on quite a show. Tiny, five-petaled, star-shaped flowers with a faintly sweet-spicy fragrance are tightly packed into round-topped, inch-wide clusters. Clusters are continuously refreshed as older flowers discreetly disappear and new buds open at the tips of short spikes. The small, deeply divided, bright green leaves on wispy-looking but sturdy stems lend a delicate, almost lacy effect. Glandularia lilacina 'De La Mina' flowering with muhlenbergia and ceanothus Cedros Island verbena (Glandularia lilacina) was formerly known as Verbena lilacina and is still popularly known by and marketed under that name. The plant is native

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