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16 04, 2024

Salvia x ‘Bee’s Bliss’

2024-06-27T19:38:01-07:00Categories: Blog, groundcovers, Nora Harlow, subshrubs|Tags: , , , |

The groundcover salvia known as ‘Bee’s Bliss’ has been popular with gardeners and nursery professionals almost since its introduction in 1989 -- and for good reason. With so many excellent salvias in the trade today, there are others that are more powerfully scented or more conspicuously floriferous but few are as accommodating, reliable, and inherently useful in the mostly summer-dry garden. Salvia 'Bee's Bliss' This cultivar was discovered at the University of California Botanical Garden in Berkeley and is believed to be a hybrid of Salvia leucophylla and S. sonomensis (or possibly S. clevelandii). ‘Bee’s Bliss’ stays

16 03, 2024

Ceanothus ‘Valley Violet’

2024-06-27T19:38:00-07:00Categories: Blog, California Native, Garden Plants, groundcovers, Nora Harlow|Tags: , , |

If you are looking for a groundcover that blooms reliably and profusely in early spring, looks good year-round with no cutting back, needs little or no supplemental water, is dense enough to keep down weeds, and is generally ignored by deer, you can hardly do better than Ceanothus ‘Valley Violet’. Its only requirements seem to be good drainage and just the right amount of sun. Ceanothus maritimus ‘Valley Violet’ at the University of California, Davis, Arboretum This is a selection of Ceanothus maritimus, which is endemic to coastal hills and bluffs in San Luis Obispo County, California. The

12 11, 2023

Australian Fuchsia

2024-06-27T19:37:54-07:00Categories: 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

21 09, 2021

Wild Buckwheats

2024-06-27T19:30:24-07:00Categories: 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’

2024-06-27T19:30:19-07:00Categories: 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

4 02, 2016

California pipevine

2024-06-27T19:26:11-07:00Categories: Blog, groundcovers, vines|Tags: , , , , |

Aristolochia californica, California pipevine,  with chrysalis of pipevine swallowtail butterfly California pipevine (Aristolochia californica) is one of the first plants to flower in my northern California garden, sending forth dozens, no hundreds, of tiny blossoms on leafless stems in mid-winter, after the manzanitas but before flashier plants such as native irises grab center stage.  Their appearance, noticed only up close at first, signals the approaching end of winter and fuels my anticipation of full-on gardening weather. The flowers are, to say the least, unusual.  They grow more like fruits than flowers, maturing, right before your eyes, from a

23 02, 2015

Dwarf Coyote Brush

2024-06-27T19:23:53-07:00Categories: Blog, groundcovers, shrubs|Tags: , , , |

In the world of living plants and landscapes there is no equivalent of the little black dress – the absolutely carefree plant that goes anywhere with the right accessories – but this has never stopped us from looking for one.  Nor has it stopped us from believing we’ve found such a plant, from embracing it with too much enthusiasm and then rejecting it outright when it fails to live up to impossible expectations, moving on to the next high fashion. Nowhere is this trend more obvious than in our vain attempts to completely cover the ground.  In the 1960s we

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