Diminutive and flowery little Blue Eyed grass that forms dense colonies of grassy green foliage to just 5″ high and is topped with a non-stop display of single purple flowers. Full sun and rich soil with regular summer moisture. Blooms continuously. Forms spreading colonies quickly when happy. Seldom sets seed. Easy to grow long lived plant for a big floral display. Winter deciduous. This cultivar has been grown in England for more than 100 years. Pretty cool.
Sweet little blue eyed grass with a penchant for being different. Eschewing the purple and yellow and blue flowers commonly assigned to this genus this little freak puts out simple flowers with petals that alternate soft tan and purple. Its a groovy combination and adds a wild flower flare on long thin stalks to 18″ tall. Forms increasing clumps of grassy blue/green foliage. Deciduous in winter. Full sun and rich to average well drained soil with light but consistent summer water when established. A good sized clump can measure about 10″ across after several years. A charming perennial that we have found is excellently adapted to the open mindedness of the west coast as well as climate. Easy. Gay Iris relatives are few and far between. Treasure them. Moderate deer resistance.
PRECIOUS and showy blue eyed grass. Sometimes variegation really works on a plant and this is one of those cases. Grassy leaves are soft green with prominent ivory stripes. This backdrop virtually glows in combination with the relatively large purple/blue flowers. Blooms April-July and appreciates rich soil with regular water to really get going and colonize. Excellent rain garden subject. Its best position is possibly in containers. Upright leaves have a pointed top to 6″ tall in bloom. Excellent contrast between the variegation and the flower color. Full sun. Moderate deer resistance. Showy, sweet perennial. Mix with other low perennials. Combine with Acaena inermis ‘Purpurea’ and Dianthus ‘Pink Pyrenees’. Fun to grow. Flowers close tightly at night.
Purple Chilean Potato Vine is a flowering powerhouse. It may be grown as a free standing shrub but its true habit lends it to the treatment of a vine. Fast growing huge canes soar up and then over all the while branching. At the tips dramatic deep purple/blue clusters of flowers each with a yellow central “Beak”. The effect is reminiscent of a hydrangea in form.- and flowers obscure the foliage for the first two months in bloom. To 12′ tall in short order and then larger. Allowed to scale a sufficient tree it can clamber up to 20′ tall in no time. Blooms April to October. Large flush of flowers in late spring then sporadic clusters to autumn. Semi-evergreen to deciduous. Blooms on wood from the current season prune before or after blooming. Regular summer water extends the bloom time well into autumn. Sometimes forms yellow berries- not particularly showy but not messy. Full sun to part shade in rich, well drained soil with light summer water. Hardy to 5ºF and not below. Long bloom time makes it an excellent pollinator plant. VERY showy in bloom.
My half hardy perennial can kick your perennials ass. And this spiky creature is a damned fine plant. Large lobed leaves are fiercely armed with bright orange spikes down the midrib. Violent orange spikes also cover every stem and virtually glow when backlit. All summer long this large tender plant (to 3′ x 2′) bears large solanaceous 5 petalled purple flowers with a central orange beak. The overall effect is beyond charming, its a fierce plant with attitude and we adore it. Great in containers but mind that this sucker does have a bite, locate away from traffic. Very fun to grow in the ground as well. Hardy to the low 20’s and sometimes makes it through a mild winter. Orange fruits follow the flowers but are not assured. One of the amazing plants native to Madagascar. Full sun and rich soil with regular water. Basically grow it just like a tomato. Highly deer resistant.
Baby’s Tears is a useful and surprisingly hardy small scale ground cover. Famous for its role in terrariums its surprisingly hardy to cold as well. Tiny leaves overlap in a perfectly flat deep green ground cover. Part shade to shade but not terrible dry shade or compacted soils. Spreads to several feet wide in several seasons. Rich, moisture retentive soil that drains is ideal. Mist or water once a week to increase humidity which it very much appreciates. Freezes to nothing below 15ºF- resprouts from bits of root vigorously in spring. Do not try to cover the whole planet with this diminuitive plant. Instead isolate it to cool pools of green several feet wide. Excellent in containers or as an easy houseplant.
We’ve been impressed with the performance of this striking very upright globe mallow. Spikes clad in soft orange flowers appear continuously for months in summer. To 4′ tall ultimately this forms a semi-woody clump to 2′ wide. Full, HOT sun and WELL DRAINED soil with light summer water. Freezes back in winter almost to the ground and vigorously resprouts for the base and grows quickly when hot weather arrives. Excellent on slopes, hot gravel gardens. Not bothered by rust or other diseases that can afflict mallows. Mulch lightly for the first winter for added protection. Stunning in bloom and carefree once established. Cut back dead top growth in mid-spring. Some deer resistance. Takes blasting reflected heat well. SW native plant.
Silver Feather Grass- our favorite ornamental grass. From humble blue leaves that form an upright grassy clump stems rise to 4′. As the flower open they unfurl- curling 18″ long horizontally and covered in soft downy hairs. The slightest wind puts these streamers into graceful motion. Blooms June-July. When the flowers ripen and begin to detach they can be gathered and made into a bouquet and the tails will curl up and form a soft tan haze. An arrangement lasts forever. Often self sows in open conditions- and this is good because it is not an easy grass to germinate and does not work from division. Easy to move when small. Give it an open position where you can observe the streaming flowers unobstructed. Very hardy and little summer water once established. Full sun. Semi-evergreen foliage in winter. High deer resistance. Spectacular grass.
This is the giant straight species that is so popular for its soaring silver stems and golden drooping awns. To 12′ tall in bloom from a tight but large basal clump of fine deep green leaves. Perfectly evergreen with a great winter appearance. Very easy to grow grass that provides spectacular garden effects. Incredibly drought tolerant in any well drained soil- including clay if it is not allowed to become bone dry concrete. Flowers make a great see through “scrim” in gardens. Fun to grow. Moderate deer resistance.
As if a wonderful grass couldn’t get any better this smaller version thrills us with so many more applications. A low clump of arching dense dark green evergreen foliage has a nice presence year round. In spring and continuing all throughout summer into autumn 3′-4′ spikes terminate in clouds of metallic golden awns. They sparkle in full sun and sway in the breeze- but are determinedly upright. The basal clump of leaves spreads slowly to 2′ wide in 5 years. Full sun and well drained soil- bud adaptable to anything but a bog. Evergreen. Cut back spent flowers in winter- or let them stay and wave around beckoning birds and wildlife. Moderate deer resistance. Little to no summer water when established.