Sempervivum arachnoides var. pittonii

Cob webs cover this adorable and fast multiplying Hens and chicks. The hairy webbing is a successful strategy to stop transpiration of liquid from the leaves and cool the surface as well. 2″ wide rosettes create many offsets in a short amount of time. It makes a good small scale ground cover  From spring to autumn it may produce a 5″ stem directly from the center of the rosette and bear rows of rosy pink flowers. That rosette then dies but it produces prodigious amounts of babies. Full sun to part shade in enriched, well drained soil with light summer irrigation. Without irrigation it will survive but shrink. Containers, rock gardens, gravel gardens. Good appearance year round.

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Sphaeralcea ‘Hot Pink’

Globe Mallow. Fun and easy to grow perennial that behaves like a sub-shrub. Semi woody wands of very silvery small maple shaped leaves wave to 3′ tall. Lining these silver stems are bowl shaped hot pink flowers. They begin as early as late May and continue unabated for months. As time goes on this perennial for dry, hot locations with good drainage becomes a showy hot pink mass of blooms. Excellent on hot slopes with light but consistent summer water. Very drought adapted but light water appears to improve the performance. Loved by bees, butterflies and other pollinators. By autumn this 3′ x 3′ shrub should be left intact to over winter. In spring when new growth is breaking from the base it may be cut back hard and recovery to bloom is rapid with the onset of warmer weather. Cold hardier if given very good drainage. As far as I can surmise it will take temperatures down to about 10ºF.  A selection or possible hybrid from two southwestern globe mallows.

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Tanecetum densum ‘Amani’

You can’t resist the finely divided feathery nearly white foliage of this great small scale ground cover. Foliage to 4″ tall and spreading to 2′ wide in full sun and well drained soil. Light summer water. Small flowers lacking petals have a center of off white/gold in early summer. Excellent performance on slopes as well as rock gardens.  Evergreen. Loves life in the hellstrip.

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Teucrium aroanum

A small spreading rock garden perennial germander that we love for its profuse and long display of purple flowers over soft gray foliage. The small leaves have a fruity smell when pinched on this dome shaped spreading plant. To just inches high a single plant will expand to more than a foot square in a season. A plant for very well drained sites in full hot sun. Or a ground cover where soil is light, aerated with plenty of double digging and never becomes compacted. Where is that? Steep slopes and rock gardens where this plant excels. Avoid soggy winter conditions and site in the hottest place possible. Blooms appear from May to August. Little to no summer water once established. Grows on the steepest sites you can imagine. Nice plant for troughs, well drained containers. Do not cut back. Evergreen.

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Teucrium fruticans

Silver Germander is a wiry shrub with gray foliage and even lighter gray/white stems. All summer it bears pale blue small flowers with a prominent central lip. Traditionally used in topiary or as a trimmed hedge, it takes amazingly well to heavy shearing. It responds by becoming incredibly dense. Its malleability  leads people to also trim it into any whimsical shape they can dream of. Full sun, average, well drained soil. Little to light summer water when established. Requires full sun and a hot position with protection from subfreezing wind. Classic mediterranean shrub. Grows as well at the cool coast as it does in the hot inland areas. To 4′ x 4′ if left unpruned.

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Verbascum bombyciferum ‘Arctic Summer’

Big ol magical biennial and we couldn’t imagine a garden without it. The first year it produces a large (2′ wide) rosette of huge furry white leaves. They lie flush with the ground. The following year total transformation occurs. A spike from the center of the rosette and soars to 6′ or taller. Its lined densely with furry white buds that pop open to reveal electric yellow soft looking flowers. The inflorescence will often wind this way and that. Even after bloom is through this tower remains spreading quantities of seed all over. Germinates best in open disturbed soil and they will germinate. Move them or thin them in spring. Snow white perennial with oodles of architecture. Full sun and rich, well drained soil. It makes due with less than perfect conditions but this way is the most impressive. Loved by pollinators. Light summer water if it looks like it needs it. Established plants get by with no water.

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