Sierra Gold Dalea

Dalea capitata ‘Sierra Gold’

This versatile, aromatic, flowering groundcover will perform beautifully for you in rock gardens, borders, narrow planters and medians, and even in areas with reflected heat.

  • Plant Form: Semi-deciduous groundcover
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 8 inches tall x 3 feet wide
  • Exposure: Full or reflected sun
  • Bloom Time: Spring and Fall (Mar – May & Aug – Oct)
  • Native to: Mexico
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 0°F

 

Sierra Gold Dalea is a creeping groundcover with aromatic (lemon-scented), fine-textured, bright green leaves. In spring and again in fall, the plant is covered by small, yellow, pea-like flowers in spikes. This hybrid of Mexican parents drops many of it leaves during its winter dormancy, when it may look unattractive (in mild winters, it may retain its foliage). Plant in full sun and well-drained soil. Shear back by half in early spring after the last frost to rejuvenate the plant and keep it dense. Lovely in rock gardens, by patios, or in borders, and to create a soft backdrop for more pointed plants like yuccas, agaves, and tall cacti. Sierra Gold is a great choice for mass plantings in areas with reflected heat. Can be used in tight planting areas, such as medians and planters, due to its compact size and tolerance for reflected heat. Rabbits seem to leave this plant alone after establishment.

Check out our  “Garden Tasks” for August

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Jun
30
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Plant of the Month – July

Red Yucca,
Red Hesperaloe

Hesperaloe parviflora

  • Plant Form: Evergreen succulent
  • Water Use: Very Low
  • Mature Size: 3 feet tall x 3-5 feet wide (flower spikes are 3-7 feet tall)
  • Exposure: Full or reflected sun
  • Bloom Time: Spring – Fall (March – Sept)
  • Native to: W. Texas, NE Mexico
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 0°F

 

Red Yucca is not actually a yucca, but a relative whose 2 to 3-foot-long, stiff leaves are thornless, making it a safer choice for pathways, borders, and drives than true yuccas. In fact, its small size makes it perfect as a focal point for smaller landscape islands and patios, as well as around the base of trees or lampposts. It works equally well as a groundcover, in rock gardens, or in containers. Besides its versatility, arching flower stalks from its symmetrical rosette of leaves provide an artistic shape with abundant coral to red flowers from late spring until fall. Its gray-green, grass-like leaves are edged with curling, white fibers. Red Yucca’s abundant flowers attract hummingbirds by day, and night-pollinating moths by moonlight. The only maintenance needed is cutting the spent flower stalks and protecting the plant from hungry rabbits.

 

 

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May
31
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Plant of the Month – June

Santolina,
Lavender Cotton

Santolina chamaecyparissus

Santolina is a small but mighty asset in drought-tolerant settings, making a sturdy and colorful hedge, border plant, groundcover, solitary specimen, or a beautiful addition to rock gardens, and herb or knot gardens.

  • Plant Form: Evergreen perennial
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 1 foot tall x 2 feet wide
  • Exposure: Full sun – Part shade
  • Bloom Time: Late spring to Summer (May – August)
  • Native to: Mediterranean Basin
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 10°F

 

Santolina is a tiny powerhouse when it comes to useful, beautiful, drought-tolerant plants. This soft, gray-green plant grows tight and compact, and holds bright yellow, button-like flowers on tall stems high above the rounded plant in late spring and summer. The flowers are great in dried arrangements, wreaths, and crafts. Rub the finely-dissected leaves between your fingers to release the pungent fragrance, and imagine being in a Christmas tree farm with fresh-cut wreaths. Deer and rabbits avoid eating this plant. Santolina survives heat, poor soil, and infrequent watering, but must have well-draining soil, and can be killed by overwatering. Prune back to the ground in spring if it becomes sparse or leggy. Versatile as a small hedge, border plant, solitary specimen, or large-scale groundcover, especially as a sturdy soil-builder on problematic hillsides. Beautiful in rock and succulent gardens, herb and knot gardens, or massed by itself for dramatic effect.

Check out our  “Garden Tasks” for June

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May
1
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Plant of the Month – May

Firecracker Penstemon,
Eaton’s Firecracker,
Scarlet Bugler

Penstemon eatonii

Firecracker Penstemon is a hummingbird magnet that is also prized by gardeners for its brilliant, abundant flowers.

  • Plant Form: Evergreen perennial
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 2 feet tall and wide (flower stalks 2-4 feet tall)
  • Exposure: Full sun
  • Bloom Time: Late winter – spring (Feb – June)
  • Native to: S. California, Colorado, Utah, Arizona
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 0°F

Firecracker Penstemon is irresistible to hummingbirds due to its nectar-filled, brilliant, scarlet flowers. It is among the first to bloom in spring, providing an early-season nectar source for hummingbirds. This low-growing, shrubby perennial produces a mound of rich, dark green leaves from which tall stalks of flowers emerge, the tubular flowers usually hanging to one side of the inflorescence. Grows best in well-drained soil with full sun, as shade can cause plants to sprawl. Overwatering may cause the plant to rot. Harvest the flowering spikes in summer when seed capsules are dry to scatter seeds to start new plants. The basal rosette of leaves will remain attractive year-round. Plant in masses for a stunning display (and to drive hummingbirds crazy), or as accents against cacti, boulders, or rock walls.

Check out our  “Garden Tasks” for May

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Mar
31
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Plant of the Month – April

Warley Rose Rockrose

Cistus x crispatus ‘Warley Rose’

This spreading groundcover gets rave reviews from gardeners for its brilliant flowers and for its tolerance of heat, drought, cold, and poor soils.

  • Plant Form: Evergreen groundcover
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 1 – 2 feet tall  x 5 feet wide
  • Exposure: Full sun
  • Bloom Time: Spring (Apr – June)
  • Native to: Mediterranean region
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 10°F

Warley Rose Rockrose will dazzle you with bright pink, crepe-paperlike flowers with golden, fuzz-ball centers that adorn its deep green, crinkled foliage. This low, mounded, evergreen shrub is named for its preferred native habitat of rocky, relatively poor soil on scrubby hillsides in Mediterranean Europe, and is perfect for sunny, dry, hot situations. Like all rockroses, it is a very drought resistant, sturdy plant that requires little maintenance, shuns fertilizer, and doesn’t like too much summer water. Prune lightly to shape after flowering, but don’t cut into wood, as it may not resprout. Warley Rose Rockrose thrives in full sun and well-draining soil, and is a great groundcover, border edging, or rock garden plant. Works well in containers. As a bank cover, this spreading plant helps control erosion.

Check out our  “Garden Tasks” for April

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White Evening Primrose,
Tufted Evening Primrose

Oenothera caespitosa

This lush desert groundcover is surprisingly drought-tolerant due to its deep roots. It’s large, beautiful flowers attract pollinators all night, then say goodbye each day with a fading pink farewell.

  • Plant Form: Evergreen groundcover
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 6 – 12 inches tall  x 2 – 3 feet wide
  • Exposure: Full or filtered sun
  • Bloom Time: On & off all year; most prolific in Spring, Summer, Fall (Apr – Sept)
  • Native to: Western U.S. and Mexico
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 0°F

White Evening Primrose creates masses of fragrant, four-inch wide, snow-white flowers each evening that attract night-flying pollinators like hawk moths. Throughout the next day, we can enjoy each one-day flower that opened at dusk as it ages from white to pink before closing in the heat of day. Plants form a rosette of large, fuzzy, dark-green leaves. While short lived (usually three years), this plant is fast-growing, and easily reseeds. Replace when plants begin to decline or die out. White Evening Primrose requires excellent soil drainage and a little supplemental water in summer, but too much summer water will kill it. Trim off dead leaves and seedpods. This southwest beauty makes a delightful border flower in small spaces, entryways, and patios, and offers a colorful accent in rock gardens.

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