Deeply colored foliage and clusters of white umbel flowers combine to give this easy to grow biennial an important place in the garden. The finely divided leaves are almost black but have a bluish hue on the surface that reflects the light in opalescent waves. The first year it produces only this gorgeous foliage. Combine with chartreuse/gold leaved perennials and/or shrubs for excellent contrast. In the second season the foliage extends and masses of pure white umbels wave to 3′ tall above the plant. Light and airy which is cool for a plant with deep, brooding foliage. Self sows prolifically and the seedlings are easy to spot, move, thin, dispatch. Full sun to quite a bit of shade in rich, moisture-retentive soil with light but consistent summer moisture. Excellent in woodlands or sunny borders. It makes a surprisingly good cut flower as well. Umbels…these days its all about umbels. Winter deciduous.
Bolax (Azorella) gummifera
Incredibly useful and handsome and tough creeping evergreen ground cover. The fine interlaced leaves have a texture very much like plastic or tupperware. It creeps along forming tight rosettes that join. In summer the whole surface of this flush plant is covered in chartreuse yellow flowers. Not showy but conspicuous for a plant that looks uniform and green all year. One of the best ground covers between pavers as it can handle compacted soil better than other small scale ground covers. And this is a small scale ground cover, don’t try to cover acreage. Be reasonable and expect good coverage over a space no larger than 5′ x 5′. Glossy foliage sparkles when wet. Regular summer water speeds growth though it is tolerant of dry periods but not complete drought. Expect each 4″ plant to expand to the size of an apple pie in a season. Completely deer resistant. Top dress with compost every few years- especially if it is between pavers. To 1/4″ tall by 1′ wide. Full sun to the very lightest shade. Carrot family.
A subtle but very sophisticated hardy evergreen shrub that is found in all the best gardens. Shiny sea-green leaves are reminiscent of a Euphorbia and are handsome year round. In summer long stems sport umbels of chartreuse green flowers gives away its familial affinity to Dill. Tough shrub that is adaptable to all but boggy soils. To 6’ tall and as wide in several years. Blooms on new wood, may be hard pruned in early spring nearly to the ground to refresh and resize. Re-growth is rapid. Equally tolerant of drought and regular irrigation. A great plant that instantly makes a planting look sophisticated. Excellent with Lavenders and Russian sage. An irresistible pollinator plant that will be covered in multitudes of insects while in bloom. Very easy to grow. Water weekly until firmly established.
What a cool name ‘Sea Samphire’ not sure what that means but I do know this is a beach plant on European shores. Sparse, angular and almost succulent blue foliage forms a ring of upright facing thin leaves. In late spring into summer large soft sulphur yellow umbels arrive. UMBELS UMBELS UMBELS are so in style right now. To 2′ x 2′. Full sun and average to rich well drained soil. Light to little summer water when established. Leave the Sea Samphire strictly alone. Evergreen perennial in the carrot family. Umbels. Its all about umbels. Moderate deer resistance. Edible and a fair substitute for thyme. Excellent in salads as well as cooked.
Evergreen Eryngium that we love. The glossy deep green strappy leaves are fiercely armed and form large rosettes. In summer 28″ spikes produce bright green clover like orbicular flowers on a divided scape. You won’t draw rattlesnakes but you will draw bees. Cool looking plant that is easy to grow in rich to average well drained soil Good appearance even during winter. Remove the flower scape when the blooms start to turn brown- not as pretty. Sexy plant that requires no summer water and just full sun. Long lived. I see boulders and Cacti and grasses and gravel. Sexy rosettes.
Very blue, oh so blue shorter Sea Holly that has pretty unusual leaves as well as stunning flowers. Crinkly sage green leaves are prickly and outlined in fine white. From this batch of foliage the flowering spike attains about 20″ inches before producing the metallic sky blue star shaped flowers. Very pretty and it will instantly draw pollinators. Remains in bloom for 4-6 weeks from early to mid summer. Full sun, rich, well drained soil and little summer water when established. Tough but pretty perennial that is very long lived. Increases in width each year to 2′ wide. Excellent candidate for the hellstrip, the front of the border or gravel gardens. High deer resistance. Completely deciduous in winter.
Miss Wilmotts Ghost. As the legend goes Miss Wilmott would stealthily drop the seeds of this biennial into the gardens of those she visited. Sneaky girl. The plant would germinate and produce a low inconspicuous rosette of leaves the next year. The following year a tower of ghostly gray collared huge flowers on branched stems would appear- seemingly form nowhere. Freak. But my kind of freak. A really cool looking plant in bloom that photographs amazingly well by the way. To 3′ tall for full sun and open disturbed sites. It will reseed reliably in those conditions. The seedlings are easy to spot and move when they are very young if you desire a new spot. Makes a groovy large cut flower. This is the flower on our logo. High deer resistance. Drought adapted.
Eryngium pandanifolium var. lesseauxii
Fun tall growing sea holly that may be impossible to pronounce but its easy to grow. Upright growing finely serrated or prickly leaves first make a low 2′ wide rosette then when it feels like it- usually the second year a big as spike rises with a divided scape and tons of off white prickly clover like flowers dot the stem tips. Its cool. This whole perennial is cool and its slightly hardier than the species. Very cool. Evergreen perennial for full sun and just about any well drained soil. Flowers rise to 5′ tall and with time there will be many spikes. Pollinators arrive in droves to pollinate this very unusual but architectural perennial from South America. High deer resistance.
Eryngium proteiflorum MX
This is a spectacular plant and Brandon collected the seed outside of Mexico City- at a very high elevation. Still we are not completely sure of its ultimate hardiness so I’m going to guess. Based on other Mexican and S. American Eryngium and considering this is a widely spread species I’ll say its good in rich amended soil that drains to about 10ºF. That is somewhat irrelevant as the flower on this member of the Apiaceae (Carrot family)is phenomenal. In May-August HUGER 6″ wide flowers with a protruding central cone are metallic silver and sage green Unbelievable. Full sun to light shade in a protected location. Worth protecting in a pot as it makes a stellar container plant. The unearthly flowers are held on vertical stems to 3′-4′. As a cut flower it is a wet dream, lasting weeks and drying too. Kind of prickly a low rosette of serrated evergreen leaves is permanent. Cut away the spent flower stalk when it fades and you tire of it. Light, consistent water. Fantastic. Thank you to our great employee Brandon for capturing the seed.
Eryngium x tripartitum
Easy to grow, though short lived (2-3 years) this prolific seeder will never really disappear from your garden. A hybrid by two UNKNOWN species one from South America and the other one is anyones guess. First year its a rosette of spoon shaped green leaves. The following year it dramatically rises to 3′ in spring/summer and produces clouds of rounded steel blue flowers. Very pretty and airy and you must mix it with a nice tall ornamental grass for the ultimate effect. As I mentioned it then seeds around. Interesting cut flower. Drought tolerant and best in full sun. High deer resistance.