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Fringe Cups

5 May



Fringe cups (Tellima grandiflora), native, evergreen, loose, open spikes of small, urn-shaped flowers with tiny, fringed petals open greenish-white in spring and age to pink or deep red. Plant in shade to light sun; prefers shady, moist spots. Needs moderate to little water when established. Good as a cut flower.Tellima_grandiflora-1-1.jpg


Algerian Tangerine

24 Feb


Algerian Tangerine (Tangerine ‘Clementine’) is an evergreen shrub to small tree, 15-20 feet in height, 8-10 foot tall if grown in a wine barrel sized container. Vertical, semi-open, spreading, slightly weeping growth, Fragrant, white flowers bloom in spring. Best when grown in a sunny location, requires little water when established, Needs well drained soils.

The citrus fruits commonly called Clementines (Citrus reticulata “Clementine”) are small, thin-skinned mandarin oranges. The sweet treats are a variety of class II tangerines, according to Purdue University. Often seen in stores around the fall holidays, they are desirable for their usually seedless pulp, smooth skin and petite size. Clementine trees vary in size depending on the age of the tree and the cultivation habits of the grower. They are winter-hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 9 to 11.

Clementine trees are as attractive as the fruit: compact, round and usually free of thorns, although some hybrids are spiny. The trees have long, slender, bright-green leaves that stand out sharply against the bright orange of the fruit. Clementine trees have a rounded crown formed by the drooping branches. They are not dense trees, so they do not need much pruning, according to the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Sometimes they are pruned to repair damaged branches, as the wood is brittle and tends to break.

Mandarin trees in general reach a maximum height of about 25 feet and width of 12 feet. They are classified as medium-sized trees. Most do not reach their maximum size, however. Only the oldest trees reach this height. The Clementine tree can be pruned to remain much smaller, although it needs less pruning than other citrus trees. Some Clementines and other citrus trees are even cultivated as bushes rather than trained to grow on one leader as a tree. Clementines may also be grown in containers, indoors or outdoors. These potted trees usually range between 8 and 11 feet in height.

Hosta hybrids

31 Oct


Hosta, deciduous, low clumping growth to 30 inches in height, spikes of blue, lavender or white flowers in summer, grown primarily for lush foliage which runs from yellow through green to blue, many hybrids available.

plant_29Large clumps of big, fresh-looking spring leaves make these perfect understory plants; spikes of blue, lavender, or white trumpet-shaped flowers are a summer bonus. Leaves may be heart-shaped, lance-shaped, oval, or nearly round; they can be glossy or dull, smooth or textured, straight or wavy edged. Mounds range from 3–4 in. across to 5 ft. in diameter. Foliage runs from lime to dark green, greenish gold, gray, and blue, with many variegated forms whose colors vary with climate and soil type.

DETA-630New varieties are legion. To get what you want, buy the plant in full leaf or from a reputable mail-order specialist. All are native to eastern Asia.

Though hostas are shade lovers, some tolerate sun, especially in cool-summer zones (those with white or yellow in leaves are least sun-tolerant). Plants grown in sun will be more compact and will producemore flowers. All go dormant in winter (even in mild climates), collapsing to almost nothing.




31 Oct

artemisiaArtemisia, evergray, upright to rounded growth habit to 3-4 ft., grown for silver-gray, finely cut hairy foliage, full sun, drought tolerant, deer resistant, good cut flower.

Several species are valuable for interesting leaf patterns and silvery gray or white aromatic foliage (flowers are generally insignificant). Most kinds are excellent in mixed borders, where their white or silvery leaves soften harsh reds and oranges and blend beautifully with blues, lavenders, and pinks. Provide good drainage. Cut nonwoody-stemmed perennials to ground in late fall to rejuvenate; prune back woody perennials and shrubs (into older wood if necessary) before first flush of spring growth. Divide perennials in spring or fall; propagate shrubs by cuttings.

Artemisia californica

Native to coastal region from NorthernCalifornia to Baja California. To1 1/2–5 ft. tall, 4–7 ft. wide, with finely divided, aromatic, grayish white leaves. Foliage is lush in winter and somewhat sparse in summer. Reseeds manageably. Superior selections include ‘Canyon Gray’, which grows 1–2 ft. tall (with occasional pruning of upright stems) and 6–10 ft. wide; and ‘Montara’, with a mounding habit to 2 ft. tall and 3–5 ft. wide. Both makeexcellent groundcovers.

‘Powis Castle’

 Artemisia absinthium is a probable parent of this hybrid woody perennial, which grows into a silvery, lacy mound 3 ft. tall and 6 ft. wide. It makes a splendid background for bright flowers of other plants and is tough enough to use as a bank or berm cover.




Red Leaf Japanese Barberry

26 Sep

90Red Leaf Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii ‘Atropurpurea’) deciduous, 4-6 feet in height, can be pruned to any height, bronzy red foliage, small yellow flowers boom early spring, bright red berries in winter, full sun, drought tolerant, deer resistant.

Berberis is a  dense, spiny-stemmed plant, especially the deciduous species, which can tolerate climate and soil extremes. Require no more than ordinary garden care. Each year, thin out oldest wood and prune as needed to shape—after bloom for evergreen and semievergreen types, late in the dormant season for deciduous kinds. They make attractive hedges. Informal style is best for species grown for spring flowers (yellow, unless otherwise noted) and ensuing berries, which are borne on previous year’s growth; species grown for foliage can be sheared. To rejuvenate overgrown or neglected plants, cut them to within a foot of the ground before new spring growth begins.

Closely related to and sometimes grouped by botanists with Mahonia.


japberryBerberis thunbergii 

Japanese natives hardy to –20°F/–29°C. Graceful habit with slender, arching, spiny branches; if not sheared, usually reaches 4–6 ft. tall with equal spread. Densely covered with roundish, 1/2–1 1/2-in.-long leaves that are deep green above, paler beneath; leaves turn yellow, orange, and red before they drop in autumn. Beadlike bright red berries stud branches in fall and through winter. Use as hedge, barrier planting, or specimen shrub. Many attractive varieties are grown for their vivid foliage color.


‘Atropurpurea’: Plants sold as such vary in plant size and foliage color (from bronzy red to purple red). They must have sun to develop red color (which they will hold all summer).


‘Cherry Bomb’: Resembles ‘Crimson Pygmy’ but is taller (to 4 ft.), with larger leaves and more open growth.


‘Crimson Pygmy’: Selected miniature form, generally less than 1 1/2 ft. high and 2 1/2 ft. wide at 10 years old. Leaves are bright red when new, maturing to bronzy blood red. Must have sun to develop good color.


F238-06‘Golden Nugget’: Dwarf selection reaching 1–1 1/2 ft. tall and wide, with golden leaves that may be tinged orange. More sun tolerant than other yellow barberries.


‘Helmond Pillar’: Purple-leafed form to 4–5 ft. tall, just 2 ft.wide.


‘Kobold’: Extra-dwarf, bright green variety that grows slowly into a full, rounded shape about 18 in. tall and 2–3 ft. tall.


‘Limeglow’: Grows 5 ft. tall,slightly less wide. New growthlime green against darker green mature foliage. Doesn’t sunburn. Red-orange fall color.


BarberryCrimsonPygmy‘Rose Glow’: Grows 4–6 ft. tall and wide. New foliage is marbled with bronzy red and pinkish white, deepening to rose and bronze with age. For best color, plant in full sun or lightest shade.


‘Royal Cloak’: Compact, mounding to 4 ft. high and at least as wide. Large, dark purple-red leaves.


‘Sunsation’: Compact, upright to 3–4 ft. tall and wide. New growth is greenish gold, maturing to bright golden yellow.

barberry plant



20 May

450px-Aster_alpinus_002Aster, deciduous perennial, 12 to 24 inches in height, large clusters of daisy-like flowers in many colors including blue, purple and white, dark green hairy foliage, full sun to part shade, great cut flower, divide yearly, Aster chilensis is native.

There are more than 600 species of true asters, ranging from 6-in.-high alpine kinds forming compact mounds to open-branching 6-ft.-tall plants. Flowers come in white or shades of blue, red, pink, lavender, or purple, mostly with yellow centers. Bloom time is generally in late summer to early fall.

Taller asters are invaluable for abundant color in large borders or among shrubs. Large sprays effective inarrangements. Compact dwarf or cushion types make tidy edgings, mounds of color in rock gardens, good container plants.


True asters are adapted to most soils, but growth is most luxuriant in fertile soil. They have few problems except for mildew on leaves in late fall. Strong-growing hybrids have invasive roots; they can regrow from small fragments left in soil and spread to become nuisances. Divide yearly in late fall or early spring. Replant vigorous young divisions from outside of clump; discard old center. Divide smaller, tufted, less vigorously growing kinds every 2 years.

officialAster novi-belgii 

Native to eastern North America. To 4 ft. tall, 3 ft. wide, with full clusters of bright blue-violet flowers. Similar toA. novae-angliae but with smooth leaves. Hundreds of selections are available, varying in height from less than a foot to over 4 ft.; flower colors include white, cream, blue, lavender, purple, rose, and pink.


18 May

Magnolia-300x225Magnolia, small to medium sized deciduous tree, 12 to over 20 ft. in height, spring blossoms range in color from white to nearly black, attractive structure and foliage.

Magnolias are magnificent flowering plants featuring blossoms in white, pink, red, purple, or a more recent development, rich yellow. specialists.

Magnolias include both evergreen and deciduous types. Most have large, striking blossoms composed of petal-like segments, but a few are grown for use as foliage plants.

For any magnolia, choose planting site carefully—virtually all these trees are hard to move once established. Magnolias never look their best when crowded. Pick a location where the shallow, fleshy roots won’t be damaged by digging or by soil compaction from constant foot traffic. All magnolias may be used as lawn trees; try to provide a good-size grass-free area around the trunk, and don’t plant under the tree.

Magnolias appreciate fairly rich, well-drained, neutral to slightly acid soil amended with plenty of organic matter at planting time. They will grow in somewhat alkaline soil but may develop chlorosis.

At least in the early years, keep a cooling mulch over the root area.

Irrigate deeply and thoroughly, but don’t waterlog the soil or the tree will drown. Only M. virginiana can take constantly wet soil.

Feed trees if new growth is scanty or weak, or if you see significant dieback despite adequate watering and drainage; use a controlled-release product. Treat chlorosis (lack of iron—common in alkaline soils—that shows up as yellowing between leaf veins) with iron chelates.

Leaf damage can result from excess mineral salts in the soil or salts in irrigation water. The latter is a problem in Southern California and, typically, the factor limiting success of magnolias in desert regions. Frequent heavy waterings will help leach out salts and carry them to lower soil levels—as long as drainage is good.