Argyrocytisus battandieri

Moroccan Pineapple Broom is a splendid, hardy NON-INVASIVE tree  that we adore for its silver foliage and spicily scented cones of brilliant yellow flowers. Fast growing tree which may also be maintained as a shrub. In our climate with more rain than its native range it usually achieves tree like proportions. To 16′ tall by 10′ wide most often with one to three trunks. Best in poor to average soil with as little irrigation as possible once established. You must treat this plant with a bit of benign neglect. Overly enriched soil and too much supplemental irrigation leads to a rank growing and usually unstable plant that can go over easily in a wet gale. The flower fragrance is definitely pineapple with somewhat salty notes. Blooms appear May-July and are born on wood from the previous year. Prune-if needed AFTER flowering has ended. Full sun is ideal. Wonderful small tree for rough sites- compacted awful droughty soils. Almost always deciduous in our winters and surprisingly hardy taking temperatures just below 0ºF with no ill effects. Moderate deer resistance. Absorbs the blasting heat of south facing walls. Wonderful small tree. Beautiful espalier subject- see pruning above.

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Epilobium (Zauschneria ) ‘Solidarity Pink’

If shocking vermillion, red, and orange are a bit too vibrant for you enter this softly hued selection. Soft pink tubular flowers appear constantly from early August to October. Low spreading perennial to 8″ tall by 2′ wide in a short time. The very light green foliage is clad in soft hairs giving the whole plant a soft mien. Full sun and rich to average well drained soil is ideal. Slopes, rock gardens, walls, hellstrips all are appropriate for this low water plant. Water diligently to establish but never boggy. In subsequent years only light water on occasion is required. Spreads laterally underground by stolons. Long lived perennial if sited and somewhat cared for. Completely winter deciduous- cut away the previous years dead growth in February. Somewhat deer resistant. Mix with other late blooming perennial. Wonderful combined with Cuphea hirtella and the soft yellow flowers of Erodium chrysanthemum.  West coast native plant that calls to hummingbirds far and wide. Takes blasting hot conditions in stride.

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Verbascum ‘Clementine’

OH MY DARLING, OH MY DARLING, OH MY DARLING Clementine you are lost ….Not lost at all this wonderful Verbascum is delightful and blooms repeatedly from spring to late summer. To 3′ tall or taller in ideal conditions, spires of soft orange to pale yellow depending on the temperature have a central bee of lavender feathers. Adorable and conspicuous as when observed as a cut flower of which this flower is great. The spires of flowers erupt directly from the center of a basal rosette of flat green leaves. Full sun, average to enriched soil that drains with light, consistent summer water. Remove spent blooms and another round will begin. Does not seed around. Mix with other sun-loving perennials with similar cultural requirements. Agastache, Digitalis lanata, Penstemon ‘Enor’ for a LONG LONG flowering spectacle. Winter dormant. Cold hardy and easy to grow. Great flower color for mixing or for tone on tone continuity- for that try it combined with Digitalis x ‘Honey Trumpet’.

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Agastache pallida ssp. neomexicana

Cute flowering hyssop that makes a clump of strongly vertical stems clad at the tips with soft mauve/purple flowers. A boon to pollinators as well as hummingbirds. Blooms June to October continuously from the same spikes. To 18″ tall and barely half as wide. Agastaches like light soil. Double dig the soil well to incorporate oxygen and apply a handful of all organic fertilizer at planting. This will establish the plant much faster. Excellent performance on slopes where it achieves the drainage that it likes. Middle of the border or massed in a meadow- this easy to grow perennial performs for a long time. Do not cut back until after Valentine’s Day. Consistent water for the first summer then light water in subsequent years. Excellent performance in mixed container plantings. Moderate deer resistance. Foliage is sweetly pungent.

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With all the knock out, fleurshrubselekt® and every other patented type of rose its reassuring that this old gal still rocks them all. Betty bears clusters of slightly fragrant large single pink flowers. They are light pink w/ a slightly darker sheen to the surface of the petals which almost always open skyward. These upright facing groups of flowers yield not only a lot of color- it blooms constantly from May to frost, it gives the plant a wild appeal not seen in overly bred shrubs. The disease resistant foliage is mid green and handsome as well. To 4′ x 4′ forming a rounded shrub. It may be hard pruned in early spring if necessary. Remove spent flowers and more will quickly appear. Tough plant that gets by on a less than perfect watering regime.  Regular, deep watering (once a week max) will yield great performance. Established plants can take drought at the expense of re-blooming. Very easy to grow charming rose. Ultra cold hardy.

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Nigella sativa

Wonderful multi-use hardy annual that we love for its flowers, seed heads, and edible seeds. Love-in-a-Mist is the common name in reference to the mostly dark blue flowers that are ensconced in a haze of fine green stems. This is a charming cut flower.  Upon finishing the ovaries transform to a ballon shaped structure full of yummy black seeds. You can then detach that as a cut flower as well. The dried black seeds have a peppery taste and are excellent sprinkled on salads. Be sure to sprinkle them on the ground where next year’s crop will be. Truth is once you plant this it is pretty much as permanent as a perennial, so reliable and prolific a re-seeding plant. The ferny seedlings are easy to spot, move or dispatch. Let them flow through your perennial borders. They make a wonderful addition to a cutting garden. Best in rich, open, disturbed soil with supplemental H20 all the way until seed are produced- though not entirely necessary it produces larger plants- and there fore stems, flowers, and more seeds. Blooms June-July. Full sun to light shade. VERY EASY.

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Dahlia ‘Bednall’s Beauty’

We grow just a select few Dahlias now but over the decades we’ve been able to observe hardiness by cultivar. This is consistently one of the hardiest. And its a wonderful perennial. Finely divided foliage is dark, nearly black on a compact plant to 2′ x 2′ with stunning black/velvet red single flowers. These appear consistently from June to frost. Shorter stems lead to a smaller cut flower but it is still wonderful none-the-less. The intense deep flower color is a perfect match for the foliage yielding a dark tinted plant. Provide contrasting light to golden colored foliage for extra depth. Excellent border perennial for full sun and rich, well drained soil with regular summer irrigation. This hardy perennial requires very little protection other than a layer of mulch in autumn. Even a layer of leaves will provide a modicum of cover. Emerges with truly warm weather in spring. Protect emerging plants from snails/slugs. Full grown plants seem less affected. Loved by pollinators and moderately deer resistant. Far from 100% but still one of the last they will munch.

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Allium sikkimense

Blue is an elusive color in Alliums but there are several that achieve that hue. This small bunch forming onion is a delight with clusters of nodding blue flower in mid-late summer. To 10″ tall a multiplying clump will spread to 1′ wide over time. Rich, well drained soil with regular summer water. Excellent in rock gardens, the front of borders and even hellstrips. Very easy to grow herbaceous perennial that blooms for 4-6 weeks. Cute little cutflower and loved by pollinators. Winter decidiuous for full sun- no fudging here. Long lived and hardy in containers. Moderate deer resistance.

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Probably one of our very favorite bulbs and a gift from a friend w/ VERY good taste and I’m happy to say we are going to have a steady supply in the future. For the moment quantities are limited. Why so special? This is the enormously huge version of that precious blue allium caeruleum. Flower size on the species which is very available are comparable to a nickel to a quarter size. This form cranks it up w/ flowerheads the size of golf balls and larger. Spectacular. This very rare form is so superior and still charming that I’ve put it all over my garden. It needs full sun and rich soil that drains. Not difficult by any stretch- though full sun is required. and I suspect more water than I give mine. I put one in then 3, then like 9 and I had to stop myself. Sky blue orbs. This plant needs to build up some bulk to bloom, which means you need a certain amount of leaves and bulb heft for them to bloom. I say this because its possible to sell them out of bloom because they are that freaking cool. <pant, pant> Semi evergreen leaves are low, thin and pungent. Possibly deer resistant- I don’t know yet. And bunnies. Well, Bunnies suck.

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Is this hardy? Why, yes, yes it is. Mexican Shellflower or just Tigridia is a fun bulb that produces large, immensely showy flowers that last but a day. Three large petals emanate from a wildly speckled center. White, red, orange, yellow, and pink flowers are all represented in this mix. Rich, well drained soil in a warm position- mine are on the south side of my house in average soil and they not only multiply year to year they self sow. The wonderful flowers appear individually for weeks in mid to late summer. Add a handful of all purpose fertilizer when planting and water consistently through bloom. Full sun- no fudging here. Very easy to grow. To 20″ tall in bloom on average. Flowers 3″ wide. -Emerges late in the spring- usually mid-May. Patience.

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