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15 02, 2024

x Chiranthomontodendron lenzii: What’s in a Name?

2024-06-27T19:37:58-07:00Categories: 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

2024-06-27T19:37:57-07:00Categories: 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?

2024-06-27T19:37:56-07:00Categories: 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

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

29 06, 2022

Shrubby Tanoak

2024-06-27T19:33:22-07:00Categories: Blog, California Native, Nora Harlow, shrubs, trees|Tags: , , , |

Tanoak or tanbark oak (Notholithocarpus densiflorus var. densiflorus) is a large evergreen tree with deep green, leathery, oblong leaves with prominent veins, sometimes wavy edges, and often toothed margins. The small, creamy white, late-spring flowers are held in showy clusters of narrow, stiffly upright or outstretched catkins. The leaves and flowers resemble those of American chestnut (Castanea americana) and the fruit is an oaklike acorn with a shallow, bristly cap. New leaves of shrubby tanoak (Notholithocarpus densiflorus var. echinoides) Tanoaks are interesting and attractive at all times of year, but they are quite slow growing and they eventually

18 04, 2022

Shrub Poppies

2024-06-27T19:33:17-07:00Categories: 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

2024-06-27T19:33:14-07:00Categories: 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

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