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26 03, 2016


2016-03-26T15:03:18-07:00Categories: Blog, perennials|Tags: , , |

Salvia officinalis with oregano in background There are sages (Salvia) for almost any garden.  Annuals, perennials, or shrubs; low and spreading to tall and upright; sun or shade loving; moist or dry soils or anywhere in between.  If you are unsure what a particular sage needs, look it up or consult your nursery professional before adding it to your garden. One of the most reliable low-water sages for full sun is Cleveland sage (Salvia clevelandii), and one of the best varieties is ‘Winifred Gilman’.  The spikes of bright lavender-blue to purple flowers in early summer are memorable, especially

14 01, 2016


2017-04-17T23:08:05-07:00Categories: Blog, California Native, perennials|Tags: , , |

California native plant garden with Armeria maritima edging a walkway Sea pink or sea thrift (Armeria maritima) was once more commonly found on "drought-tolerant" plant lists than it is today.  Gardeners who were led to plant it no doubt discovered that it just doesn’t thrive without summer water or afternoon shade except right along the coast. Sea pink is nonetheless perfect for small gardens or small garden areas where a little summer water can be spared.  Its densely hummocky cushions of evergreen grassy leaves are six inches tall and spread to about a foot wide.  Pink or sometimes

30 12, 2015


2015-12-30T13:41:53-08:00Categories: Blog, perennials|Tags: , , |

Achillea 'Moonshine' Achillea millefolium is a variable perennial, with one kind or another found throughout temperate regions of North America, Europe, Asia. California has several native kinds of A. millefolium, but the most widely available and commonly planted achilleas, such as the canary yellow ‘Moonshine’ or golden yellow ‘Coronation Gold’, are named hybrids or selections of other species or of plants originating elsewhere.  You may have to seek out the lovely long-lived white- to pink-flowered native achilleas at native plant sales or nurseries that specialize in California natives. Achillea millefolium 'Island Pink', a selected form from the Channel Islands

28 12, 2015


2015-12-28T14:50:18-08:00Categories: Blog, perennials|Tags: , , |

Pacific Coast iris 'Copper' flowering in garden with Euphorbia dulcis 'Chameleon' Plants that are dormant or not actively growing during the hottest months are well adapted to summer-dry climates, including many California natives.  Irises, both native and not, are a beautiful choice. Iris douglasiana hybrid Douglas iris (Iris douglasiana) forms an upright clump of sword-shaped or grasslike green leaves, mounding and spreading with age by underground rhizomes.  Flowers are blue-violet, deep purple, or occasionally white, often two or three on each upright stem in late winter to mid-spring.  Native to coastal California and Oregon, this Pacific

21 12, 2015


2015-12-21T18:14:41-08:00Categories: Blog, perennials|Tags: , |

Masses of Lavandula 'Provence' draw the eye toward a pot and distant sculpture Lavenders are so at home in California that it’s hard to believe they’re not native here. Lavenders have green to grayish green or silvery gray, narrow, softly toothed or smooth margined aromatic leaves and upright stems of tubular lavender, purple, pink, or white flowers. There are many species and dozens of named varieties in the trade. The best known and most widely grown is English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), a woody perennial subshrub, two to three feet tall and four feet wide, with long, narrow, silvery

3 12, 2015


2015-12-03T12:32:38-08:00Categories: Blog, perennials, shrubs|Tags: , , , |

Mimulus aurantiacus with Phacelia campanularia Gardeners in summer-dry climates often seek out plants that when fully established can survive without any supplemental water.  This may require some tolerance for the dried-out appearance that many of these plants take on in late summer as they hunker down to make it through to the next rains. Bush monkeyflower or sticky monkeyflower (Mimulus aurantiacus) is a natural candidate for summer-dry gardens that feature the colors of California.  This is the deep orange to yellow-orange flower that, along with lavender lupine and bright orange poppies, graces California roadsides, parklands, and open spaces

13 10, 2015


2015-10-13T20:14:35-07:00Categories: Blog, perennials|Tags: , , |

Penstemon x gloxiniodes 'Maurice Gibbs' It’s easy to see why penstemons are so popular with gardeners everywhere.  Their tubular or trumpet-shaped flowers, usually on tall spikes, put on a brilliant show from late spring until fall.  Flower color ranges from shades of purple to red, blue, white, yellow, or pink, often with contrasting markings at the base.  Hummingbirds and butterflies are drawn to them. Some penstemons are tall and upright, excellent in the mixed border; others are low mats perfect for the rock garden; and still others are sprawling mid-size mounds.  All need good to excellent drainage, but

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