We love North African Sage from the higher elevations of Morocco it performs beautifully in our climate. A rosette of low large sage green leaves is your first clue that this is a cool species. In summer 4′ spikes in whorls of blue and white flowers are spectacular. The blooms last a long time (6-8 weeks) and are awesome for cutting and including in huge, wild flower arrangements. Forms large clumps in time and there will be more and more flowers. Full sun, rich, well drained soil with regular summer water to establish after which light to little summer water is necessary in our climate. Very easy to grow and cold hardy. May self sow in open disturbed sites. Great Salvia but surprisingly difficult to find.
Zone: Zn6b 0º to -5ºF
Sarcococca hookeriana var. digyna
A superior Christmas box – purple stem Sarcococca is a slight improvement on this useful, fragrant, and durable evergreen shrub. Fine white flowers emit a strong sweet fragrance from late December to March. Slow spreading shrub that travels locally by suckers to form patches. To 2′ tall and up to 4′ wide if soil is rich, well drained and summer irrigation is reliable. Tolerates dense dry shade well. Black/red berries can follow the flowers into spring. Cold hardy to 0ºF. May burn in full sun- best with shade or at least protection from reflected heat- like an open north exposure. A member of the boxwood family that gives it high deer resistance. It can be slow to establish without regular irrigation in the first season. Water well and apply mulch. Though tough it pays to treat this shrub well from the beginning. Cut twigs that are blooming can perfume a room in winter. First and second year stems are deeply blushed purple- very pretty in contrast with the deep green simple leaves. Combines well with native ferns and perennials like Vancouveria and Epimedium. Native to S. central china.
We have been so impressed with the performance of this small evergreen tree species that when we saw this charming narrow leaved form we snagged it. An upright growing but not wide tree to 18′ tall. The thin leaves are 4mm wide but up to 6cm long and are thinly produced so that the tree has a fine texture and is even better to view the late winter and early spring red brushy, flowers. Moderately fast growing it is also very drought tolerant. Water to establish and in summer or to speed growth otherwise it can get by on natural rainfall. Very neat and tidy and cold hardy to -5ºF. This tree is a good candidate for areas affected by subfreezing east wind- its exceptionally tolerant of that for a broad leaved evergreen. Full sun to high overhead shade ( with less of the red flowers). In time the cut branches can be brought inside and forced into bloom for arrangements. Not deer food, but i’m not as familiar with this form. Unusual, tough and beautiful. Narrow leaved Sycopsis. Tolerates many soil types including heavy soils in upland situations. SW China