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.

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.

Sedum rupestre 'Angelina'

on Monday, 24 May 2010. Posted in Winter Interest, Evergreen, Fall Color, Ground Cover, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Angelina Stonecrop

sedum-angelina

We're always looking for a Sedum that looks good all year and this one gives a rainbow of colors throughout the seasons.  It's easy to use in a container or as an evergreen groundcover that is drought tolerant, cold hardy to Zone 3, and deer resistant (should be).  We have it dotted throughout a rock garden as a yellow and orange highlight against creeping thymes and hens and chicks.  A small piece of the plant casually planted (or dropped!) will easily root so you can spread it where you like.   Quickly gets to 15-18" wide and about 4" inches tall with yellow flowers in late summer.  The needle-like leaves will be more yellow in full sun and get red and orange highlights in colder weather and green up in more shade.  In spring it had green, yellow, orange, and red all on the same plant, just like a rainbow. 

Hesperaloe parviflora

on Monday, 17 May 2010. Posted in Winter Interest, Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Red False Yucca

Hesperaloe cropRed False Yucca is better behaved than it's common name connection to yucca, but is still heat and drought tolerant. It makes a tidy clump of blue toned blades but doesn't make offshoots every which way. And the flowers are spectacular- dozens of salmon colored tubular flowers attract hummingbirds throughout the summer.

This has been our plant of choice to replace New Zealand Flax that have died this winter. It comes from the high deserts of Texas and Mexico, and tolerates our cold winters well as long as it has well-drained soil and full sun. The sturdy blades are not sharp or pointy, so they would work near a path or pool and get about 2-3' tall and wide with the flower spikes reaching 4-5' tall.  It is also deer resistant and does well as a focal point in containers in a hot spot.