Feijoa sellowiana

on Monday, 26 July 2010. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Edible, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Pineapple Guava

feijoa-sellowiana

The botanical name is difficult but you CAN grow something as tropical sounding as Pineapple Guava in your yard, plus it's drought tolerant and deer resistant- our two favorite qualitites.  Reading about it you will find that it can get quite large, but in our climate we find it will stay about 4-6' tall and wide and can be easily pruned to 4'.  Feijoa has very fresh looking, thick leaves with a silvery underside that look great with other Meditteranean themed plants or especially for highlighting purple leafed plants like Smokebush or Barberry.  The flowers are not very large and are kind of tucked into the plant but when you do see them the red stamens shine against the pale pink petals.  The flowers are edible and some customers have reported actually ripening fruit on their shrubs.  Our summers are not usually long enough but if it's placed in just the right microclimate, against a south wall, you may be able enjoy Pineapple Guava fruit.   A warm, protected microclimate with good drainage will also help it survive the winter.  Feijoa are hardy to around 10 degrees; about the same as an Escallonia, but they seem to grow back from the base if damaged.  They will take both heat and drought and the evergreen, coarse leaves discourage deer.

Stipa gigantea

on Monday, 12 July 2010. Posted in Winter Interest, Evergreen, Deer Resistant, Grasses, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Giant Feather Grass

stipa-gigantea

In the quest for evergreen ornamental grasses, the Giant Feather Grass provides the evergreen green blades but the standout is the 6' tall blooms that shimmer in the evening light and last much longer than most ornamental grasses.  The 2-3' tall clump of foliage can be cut back in the winter to refresh it or left alone to have a permanent presence in the garden.  The blooms start emerging in May and retain their good looks until frost starts to beat them up and need cut back.  Besides that, there is no maintenance needed for this grass and the inflorescences rise dramatically above other perennials or shrubs.  Stipa gigantea is drought tolerant in well drained soil, deer resistant, heat tolerant and has interest all year long.  They look wonderful as a single accent or could be massed for a naturalistic garden.  By the way, it doesn't seed around like its cousin- Stipa tenuissima or Mexican Feather Grass.  It's difficult to photograph the quality of the light as it shines through the blooms, but come visit and we'll show you!

Drimys lanceolata

on Monday, 05 July 2010. Posted in Showy Bark/Stems, Evergreen, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Tasmanian Pepper Bush

Drimys-plant-of-the-week

Anything with red stems and evergreen leaves grabs my attention so this handsome shrub from the alpine areas of Tasmania could be a nice specimen in most gardens.   It gets small white flowers followed by black berries in the spring.  The dramatic red stems shine against the deep green, glossy, lance shaped leaves.  We are still experimenting with the ideal location for this tidy looking shrub.  It is hardy to Zone 7, at 5 to 10 degrees, but seems susceptible to cold winter winds so a protected spot near a wall or enclosure seems best.  It will take full sun or part shade but if in shade it needs to not stay frozen during the low sun days of winter.  So an east or south exposure would be ideal.  Regular water in well draining soil keeps it looking its best but is reputed to be drought tolerant once established.  It is slow growing to 6' tall by 4' wide so it won't overwhelm your garden and looks excellent in a container.  Looks great combined with yellow foliaged sedums or grasses or as a backdrop to red flowered perennials.

Penstemon heterophyllus 'Catherine de la Mare'

on Monday, 28 June 2010. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Ground Cover, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Catherine de la Mare Foothill Penstemon

penstemon-overall

One of the best and easy to grow Penstemons.  The iridescent blue flowers contain a range of colors as they bloom- shades of purples and pinks and blues beckon you to look closer, where you may run into a hummingbird or a happy bee.  The colors on this penstemon just fascinate me, I could stare at it for hours; reminding me of underwater plants or multi-colored fish.  It's more compact height of 18" or so make it stand up well on its own; no staking required.  The spread can range from 18"-36" and has a nice full habit when sheared once a year.  It is one of the few Penstemons to keep nice looking foliage through the winter, even this past extra cold winter- ours kept evergreen narrow leaves in a neat mound.   The flower show starts in May and continues to frost (better than an annual!).  Deadheading always helps but you don't have to- although they make nice cut flowers.  This Penstemon is not choosy about soil, just give it a deep soak every so often but it can be quite drought tolerant and will be fine in part shade or full sun.  Looks great with silver toned foliage plants or darker maroons.   Come visit--We'd be happy to show you our specimens in our garden.  Penstemon strictus or Rocky Mountain Penstemon has a similar habit and color and is a tough alternative to some of the taller forms of Penstemons.  We always try to have both in stock.

Geranium x 'Brookside'

on Monday, 07 June 2010. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Brookside Hardy Geranium (Cranesbill)

geranium-overall-plant-of-t

We're into the purples this month it seems and this eye-catching purple is hard to capture in a photo.  This lovely hardy Geranium has deep lavender blue flowers with a white eye that is one of the easiest perennials we have grown.  It is similar to the more familiar 'Johnson's Blue' variety but is slightly more compact at around 2' x 2' and has sturdier stems.  Soft foliage surround the everblooming flowers that seem to complement most other perennials or grasses.  The strongest bloom comes in June but it will bloom most of the summer especially if it gets cut back after the first flush of bloom.  Not many perennials get nice fall color but this one gets brilliant red and orange as it fades out into winter dormancy.  We have it on the west side of our house in full sun, where it looks best with moderate water and well draining soil, but it can be drought tolerant in part shade.  Could be deer resistant but we think the smellier Geranium varieties (Biokovo) are better for that, but let us know what you find out!  We also carry Geranium 'Rozanne' a newer variety with a compact habit and darker purple flowers.