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18 04, 2022

Shrub Poppies

2022-04-18T17:31:33-07:00Categories: Blog, California Native, Garden Plants, Nora Harlow, shrubs|Tags: , , |

Unusual members of the poppy family, bush poppies (Dendromecon species) bear flowers and fruits that resemble those of the perennial California poppy (Eschscholzia californica) but on woody shrubs that can reach six to eight feet tall or more. Leathery, waxy, dark bluish gray-green leaves are a perfect foil for the glossy, bright yellow, saucer-shaped flowers. Flowers are followed by narrowly cylindrical seedpods that explode when dry, sending seed several feet in all directions. Dendromecon harfordii Dendromecon rigida, bush poppy, is native to dry slopes and rocky washes in coastal mountains of California and northern Baja California, with some

19 02, 2022

Ornamental Currants and Gooseberries

2022-02-19T05:28:23-08:00Categories: Blog, California Native, Nora Harlow, shrubs|Tags: , , |

Although usually grown for their exquisite flowers, ornamental currants and gooseberries are ideal components of habitat gardens that provide year-round sustenance for wildlife. As some of the first shrubs to flower wherever they are found, they are important sources of early-season nourishment for hummingbirds, bees, and other pollinators. Their leaves are food for the caterpillars of butterflies and moths that support the offspring of nesting birds. And their fruits, well, let's just say they're gone almost before the gardener has a chance to sample them. Ribes sanguineum, red- or pink-flowering currant Currants and gooseberries both belong to the

19 01, 2022

Leucadendrons for the Garden

2022-01-22T05:13:41-08:00Categories: Blog, Nora Harlow, shrubs|Tags: , , |

Familiar to many as a knockout component of floral arrangements, leucadendrons are every bit as impressive in the garden. Most are best grown where winters are mild, soils are acidic, and excellent to perfect drainage can be provided, but some are less fussy than others. Dozens of these South African endemics are native to varied habitats, from damp coastal flats to frosty mountain slopes and from the summer-dry Western Cape to summer-rainfall KwaZulu-Natal. Leucadendron 'Little Bit', a hybrid of L. salignum and L. discolor, is a delicate offset here to the bold blue leaves of Agave americana  Most leucadendrons

5 01, 2022

Aloe arborescens

2022-01-05T08:23:53-08:00Categories: Blog, Garden Plants, Nora Harlow, shrubs, succulents|Tags: , , |

There is nothing timid about Aloe arborescens. At six to eight feet tall and at least that wide, with multiple, densely packed rosettes of thick, succulent, bluish gray-green leaves, this adaptable, shrubby aloe takes the stage wherever it is planted. Native to summer-rainfall southeastern Africa, the torch aloe, as it is often called, also thrives in mild-winter, summer-dry climates. Aloe arborescens Not content to dominate by size alone, in winter this aloe sends forth upright spikes of intensely red or red-orange, tubular flowers that rise two feet above the leaves. A mature plant with dozens of flowering spikes

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,

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