Acanthus mollis ‘Tasmanian Angel’

Variegated Bear’s Breeches or just plain old Acanthus with dramatically white-splashed leaves. There is great contrast between the white and the dark green sections of the leaves/stems. In summer this spreading perennial produces a 3′ spike with pure white flower bracts enclosing the pink flowers. Its a big ol party chalice of goodness. Not the hardiest Acanthus (yeah- that might be good). Plant in a protected location with RICH, well drained soil- add compost and all organic fertilizer. Completely deciduous in winter here. Each leaf extends to 2′ long with intricate indentation- aside from the variegation. To 3′ across eventually. Excellent plant for containers. Protect containers from temps below 15ºF (move to an unheated garage, porch). Emerges in mid-spring. Mulch the crown in autumn for the first few seasons.

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Acorus calamus ‘Variegata’

Nifty foliage perennial that can double as a terrestrial border plant (with regular water in rich, moisture-retentive soil) or submerged as a border perennial in a water pot or the edge of the pond. The majority of the spikey 3′ tall leaves are composed of cream/ivory streaks with dramatic stripes of deep green. The effect is ghostly and vivid from quite a distance away. Forms large spreading clumps in time. To 4′ wide when things are going well. Full sun to part shade. Flowers are not very conspicuous spikes that hide within the foliage. Completely winter deciduous- this is nice, it makes cleaning up in late winter/spring easy and and no fuss and the plant begins anew and fresh each season. Not bothered by pests. If sunk in a pond or water pot use heavy clay soil- like from the ground and mulch with a layer of gravel. Long lived plant. High deer resistance. AKA. Ghost Sweet Flag.

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Agave americana ‘Medio Picta Alba’

Tender <sigh> but perhaps the most spectacular variegated Agave. It makes a great container plant for LARGE containers. To 5′ x 5′, it grows a little slower in containers. Make sure it’s sturdy and well built too because this puppy has been known to grow so vigorously as to shatter its own home. Use well drained cactus mix and add a handful of all organic fertilizer. Move to a freeze free environment such as an unheated garage if temperatures threaten to drop below 20ºF. Otherwise move it to a dry place for winter- under a south facing eave is ideal. Move it back out in the open when rain dwindles.  Light summer water will speed growth. Leaves on this form are blue on the edges with a dramatic pure white stripe down the center. Wow.

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Alstroemeria psittacina ‘Variegata’

A really multidimensional perennial for part shade, rich soil and light summer water. The sage green, almost rubbery textured leaves are emargined in creamy white. In summer, 2′ spikes support groups of tubular red and green flowers. The interior of the flower is decorated with black hatch marks on a white backdrop. Fantastic long lasting cut flower that should be pulled gently from the base to detach and never cut with a pruner. Spreads somewhat thinly  to cover some ground. Posses the ability to compete with other plants and can happily coexist with shorter ground cover- flower spikes coming up right through. Completely winter deciduous. Bait for slugs when it first re-emerges in spring. Once its up a bit you are safe.  Long lived cold hardy  perennial that is pretty permanent. Hummingbirds love the flowers as much as stylish gardeners.

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Arisaema sikokianum ‘Silver Leaf Form’

We sowed the seed and I’ll be damned if hundreds came up. This remarkable form of one of our favorite Jack in the Pulpits. Deep brown hoods host an interior spathe of pure white It looks like a little ghost rising up. Adorable. The large trifoliate leaves on this form are marked on the interior with a zone of silver. All together a fantastic look for a woodland perennial that requires deep, rich, well drained soil and ample summer moisture. Shade. Emerges late in spring- be patient and the way the bulb grows underground it means that it can wander a bit each year. Multiples when happy to form clumps. Completely winter deciduous. To 20″ tall.

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Asarum splendens

As a dry shade evergreen ground cover foliage plant this wonderful perennial excels. Large heart shaped leaves are marked with silver over a sage green background. Pretty. Spreads to form dense colonies in rich, well drained soil in part shade to full shade. Must have regular water for the best appearance but can endure very dry conditions by wilting and will quickly recover with a drink. Takes the most dense shade and is invaluable in planters, beds, containers that are sited under an overhanging roof. Great winter appearance- it should be used in all sorts of year round containers more often. Spreads underground by stolons but doesn’t travel far. Bait for snails and slugs. Small curious brown flowers occur at ground level under the foliage in summer. To 6″ tall and spreading in ideal conditions to several feet wide.

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Azara microphylla ‘Variegata’

Pretty form of the normally deep green small leaved Azara. Tiny round, evergreen leaves are mostly cream with a light splash of dark green. Very pretty fine texture effect. Moderately fast growing tree to 12′ tall in 7 years. Part shade in a protected site. Protect from subfreezing east winds by siting on a south or west aspect.  Nice semi-weeping tree for woodland margins, urban courtyards. In March it is smothered in tiny yellow flowers with the powerful perfume of cocoa. Loses some leaves below 15ºF but recovers them quickly in spring. Light summer water. Takes dry shade very well.

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Buxus sinica ‘Sunburst’

Useful and pretty and so tough this is a yellow variegated form of Korean Boxwood and its a fantastic dwarf shrub. To just 2′ x 2′ in 7 years this slow growing evergreen shrub is ideal as a hedge or trim it into a crazy shape and make a focal point. Adaptable to full hot sun to part shade. Great in winter containers. Hardy way below 0ºF. A good shrub or hedge in cold gardens or areas blasted by subfreezing east wind. Very good deer resistance. Light summer water in rich, well drained soil. Avoid crowding/shading from other plants in too close of proximity. Easy to grow- good looks year round. For a hedge plant on 2′ centers.

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Carex conica ‘Snowline’

Aka ‘Hime kan suge’ Small clumping evergreen sedge that forms adorable fountains of fine green leaves lined in white. To 6″ x 6″ slowly increasing in rich, well drained moisture retentive conditions. Regular summer water. Wonderful massed in a local way or lining a path in a shady woodland. Good year round appearance. Not the fastest sedge so be patient and give it the conditions it wants. Full sun- with regular water to quite a bit of shade. 4″ spikes of tan flowers are cute in spring. Moderate deer resistance.

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Carex oshimensis ‘Evergold’

Common variegated sedge that is useful. The arching thin leaves have an interior of rich yellow with green lines on the sides. Dense forming evergreen tuft to 1′ tall by up to 2′ wide. Rich, moisture retentive soil with regular water in full sun to part shade. Tidy discolored leaves individually in spring- do not cut to the ground. It hates this. Gold stems support tan flowers in summer. Unfortunately, this sedge is often thrown into new landscapes and is marketed as a low maintenance carefree drought tolerant thing. Its not. It likes good care to look its best. Moderate deer resistance. Evergreen.

 

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