South African Buddleia that we are not concerned about escape, We’ve had this plant on our propagation hill for 15+ years, and there is even a rich stock bed right beside NEVER had a single seedling. Kind of wish I would. Thin tapered gray leaves are pure white underneath and along the stems. This downy appearance reads as light gray from a distance. Forms a rounded shrub to about 6′ tall x 4′ wide in 4 years. Blooms on wood from the previous year (important)- restrict pruning to directly after you are sick of the flowers. Large clusters of off white faintly fragrant flowers appear in late spring and remain in bloom to August, sometimes longer. Moderately fast growing evergreen for excellently drained soils to rich soils in full sun. I would err on the side of poor soil, its a tough shrub with great drought tolerance. Two ideal companions to our stock plant are Bupleurum fruticosum and Grevillea australis. Not only does it look good this 1/2 gravel 1/2 clay substrate is kind of rough and all three thrive. You may cut back very hard to refresh/resize- May skip a year of bloom but its a fantastic gray foliage plant on those merits. High deer resistance. Drought adapted and cold hardy. We’ve never irrigated ours. Pretty shrub for texture. Nice transitional shrub with Ozothamnus or Grevilleas and even Manzanitas.

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Digitalis ambigua (grandiflora)

Digitalis ambigua (grandiflora)

If you are a victim of deer and rabbits let me introduce you to the vast world of Foxgloves beyond the weedy bi-ennial purpurea. They are all supremely deer and pest resistant in general. This relatively long lived perennial sends up 20″ spike of the softest yellow tubular flowers. They appear in late May- July. If you remove the spent spike often more flowers will occur. This soft color – staunchly in the realm of pastel goes so well with other colors. Its a harmonious hue and this is an adaptable plant. Rich to average soil- go for rich, with regular summer water. Requires FULL SUN to bloom its best. Excellent cut flower. Winter deciduous but it returns very early in spring. Plant with Euphorbia ‘Dean’s Hybrid’ for a close tone on tone color scheme. Very pretty with Penstemon heterophyllus ‘Electric Blue’. and purple/blue Salvia cohuilensis ‘Nuevo Leon’. Very cold hardy and easy to grow.

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Glumicalyx gosseliodes

Nodding Chocolate Flower. An unusual hardy perennial from very high elevations in South Africa. A spreading- trailing evergreen plant to 1′ x 1′ in a season. In summer above the rubbery stacked foliage dense groups of bud open to nodding orange flowers. The back of the slightly tubular flowers is pale cream- a nice dual color effect. Up close it pumps out the fine fragrance of chocolate. Blooms for about one month. Full sun and rich to average, well drained soil with regular summer water. Works well in containers and you have a better capacity to enjoy the flower fragrance. Easy to grow little perennial of great grace and it will often self sow when happy. Easy to grow.

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 |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn6a -5º to -10ºF
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Penstemon ‘Enor’

Stellar border Penstemon with several qualities that rises above the rest. To 30″ tall forming multiple spikes of deep purple tubular flowers. The flowers appear continuously if spent spikes are removed. Glossy deep green foliage is disease resistant, and for a border type it is exceptionally hardy to cold. Forms a bloomy, long lived perennial for flower borders or hillsides or meadows in full sun to light shade. Light, regular summer water in rich, well drained soil. Cut back hard in early spring. Blooms continuously until frost and beyond.

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Penstemon heterophyllus ‘Electric Blue’

An easy to cultivate blue flowered Penstemon that is an exhilarating color and is incredibly showy for the 4-6 weeks it remains in bloom. Flowers begin in May and slack off with really hot weather. A semi-woody perennial native to the baking hot Sierra Nevada foothills of California. Full sun and fast draining soil with light summer water. Excellent performance in blazing hot hell strips. To 14″ tall and as wide. Cut back hard in early spring. Mulch annually with compost. Provide good air circulation.Seems to thrive and live longer in average soil, and slope is a plus. I’ve had this west coast native Penstemon persist in my garden for 8 solid years. Very good. Nice cut flower. And if you give it a drink after cutting it back it may reward you with another show. Handles reflected heat very well.

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Penstemon kunthii

One of our very favorite of all perennials at Xera. This extraordinary Penstemon is actually native to south central Mexico, but glory be its actually cold hardy here. Smaller, profuse tubular intense red flowers line strong stems. This bushy plant expands with the season and there will be scores of bloom spikes. To 2′ x 2′  but it can and has exceeded that. This EVERBLOOMING perennial is incredibly adaptable as well as an almost over performer. The flowers are small enough that they create a haze of red rather than a wall of red and it finds color compatibility with purples, and oranges. Full sun in rich to average soil that is never boggy. Slight improvement to the soil with result in a cloud of flowers for months. Irresistible to hummingbirds and pollinators in general.  Bloom which is constant can even extend well into winter shrugging off light frosts. Considering its native origin in Oaxaca its fantastic that it thrives to perfection in our climate. So far its happily weathered temperatures down to 5ºF. This is a outstanding perennial with a sophisticated flower color and a massive display of bloom for months. Cut back by 2/3 in early spring. It will resume growing almost immediately. We obtained this plant form David Mason and we are forever in his debt. Glossy thin foliage in handsome.

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Pine leaved Penstemons are great, long lived evergreen perennials in our climate. They decorate rock gardens and rock walls in the most common color which is orange. This is a striking departure. Lemon yellow tubular flowers appear in late May and continue to July. The foliage is what you might expect small needle like leaves cover winding stems. You may remove the spent flowers from the first round, give it a soak and you might get more flowers. Either way you have saved yourself a chore in the future. Full sun to the very lightest shade (at the expense of blooming). Rich, well amended soil and regular summer water through its bloom cycle- then you may back off. Evergreen small trailing shrublet. To 6″ x 12″ wide and 9″ tall in bloom. The flowers on this species will always point in the same direction which is charming. Moderate deer resistance. Combine with Penstemon heterophyllus ‘Electric Blue’ and Erigeron x ‘Wayne Roderick’ for similar cultural requirements and simultaneous bloom time. Excellent in troughs, permanent planters. This species is native to the mountains of New Mexico. Sunny yellow flowers.

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Penstemon x ‘Schooley’s Coral’

Immensely showy and easy to grow Penstemon with many 2′ spikes lined in bright coral tubular flowers. Blooms May to July from a basal rosette of deep green foliage. Full sun and well drained, enriched soil. Add a layer of compost yearly to spur vigor. Good air circulation. Remove spent flowers and often more will appear. Light consistent summer water.

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