Daphne. A group of deciduous and evergreen shrubs named for the nymph changed by Apollo into the bay tree. The entire genus features small, fragrant flowers usually in shades of white or pink. Most species occur naturally in stony ground and so prefer loose, well-drained soils and moderate water in cultivation. Choose small container stock over larger sizes as the plants resent any root disturbance. Hardiness varies by species. Europe, North Africa, temperate Asia.
x burkwoodii ‘Carol Mackie’: Partially deciduous shrub with intensely fragrant, palest pink flowers opening from darker buds in spring and late summer. This selection is noted for its compact, erect growth to 4’ with closely set narrow leaves and cream-colored foliar variegation along the margins. All parts of the plant are poisonous. Use at borders of shrubs or woodland edge. Prefers sun or light shade with moderate water. Hardy to below 0F. Garden origin.
odora: Winter daphne. Evergreen, twiggy shrub growing to 4’ with a 6’ spread. The narrow, glossy leaves are accented by clusters of fragrant, waxy flowers that open white to pale pink with tinges of dark pink or even red from late fall to mid-spring. This frost tender beauty thrives in well-drained soils with judicious summer watering. Hardy to 25F.
Bush poppy. Evergreen shrubs known for their sulfur yellow poppies and blue-green foliage. The fragrant flowers generally bloom from April to July, but some will flower all year. These shrubs thrive in dry soil once established, and require full sun and excellent drainage. Utilize with other native shrubs in roadside plantings. Hardy to 10F. California and Baja California.
harfordii: Island tree poppy. Shrubby or tree-like to 15’ tall but usually much less. The 3" yellow flowers are set against rich blue-green leaves 3-5" long. Channel Islands of California.
rigida: Bush poppy. Colorful, bright yellow flowers 1-2" across bloom in late spring to early summer. A tough shrub to 8’ with narrow 3" leaves and shredding yellow-gray bark. Requires good drainage and little summer water. Prune back to 2’ after the blooming period. Bush poppy is a common fire follower in the California chaparral. California.
Flax lily. This Australian flax is reminiscent of the New Zealand phormiums, but on a greatly reduced scale. Plants form handsome, evergreen clumps of upright, slightly arching strap-like blades to 3’, and send up branching sprays of blue or violet star-shaped blooms in spring and early summer. Plant in sun or part shade in well-drained, fertile soil and provide moderate water. Hardy to 10F. Southeastern Australia, including Tasmania.
‘Variegata’: Bright green foliage with thick white margins and glossy, bright blue berries that follow the sprays of summertime flowers. Plants spread to 2’ wide.
‘Yellow Stripe’: Grassy green foliage with vertical yellow stripes. Flowers and berries like those of ‘Variegata’. Excellent choice for woodland plantings or partly shaded borders. To 2’ wide.
Pink. A large group of summer-flowering perennials with sweetly-scented flowers in various colors. The attractive fringed petals make for excellent cut flowers. A large number of hybrids exist in the trade; many form evergreen mats, or clumps of grasslike foliage in shades of green, gray-green, blue-green or blue-gray. They thrive in light, fast-draining soil and have a long history in cultivation. Hardy to 0F and below. Mediterranean and African mountains.
‘Bath’s Pink’: Fragrant pale pink or lilac flowers with fine purple veins, on thin stalks to 12". Plants are remarkably heat tolerant and are a fine accent in colorful borders.
‘Tiny Rubies’: Diminutive selection growing to no more than 3" with tiny, ruby-red fragrant blossoms held just above the foliage. Plants eventually form broad mats and make a cute, small-scale groundcover.
Twinspur. Perennial and annual herbs growing to 16" tall, bearing flowers with lateral spurs on terminal racemes. Flower colors range from salmon or pale pink to almost red, and even white. In summer, blossoms are held above foliage on erect stalks over a long blooming season. The following are perennials for full sun or light shade in hotter inland climates. Best grown in well-drained soils with moderate water. Deadheading will prolong flowering, but most of those listed will bloom year round in coastal climates. Most are hardy to 20F. South Africa.
barberae ‘Blackthorn Apricot’: Vigorous blue-green foliage to 8" high with creamy apricot petals. Plant in well-drained soils. Tweedy bird can be found at the base of each flower.
barberae ‘Ruby Field’: A mat-forming perennial growing to 3" tall and spreading with heart-shaped, pale green leaves and salmon pink flowers over a long season. Blooms resemble miniature snapdragons on long thin stalks. Use in baskets, pots, beds, window boxes, and mixed plantings, but keep soil moist. Prefers slightly acid and well-drained soil.
‘Coral Bells’: An almost year-round display of coral-colored flowers on plants to 12" with an equal spread.
‘Ice Cracker’: Delicate, upright plants 18-24" high with almost pure white flowers. The throats of individual blossoms are often tinted palest pink.
‘Joyce’s Choice’: Light salmon to pale-pink flowers on crisp green, somewhat trailing foliage. Plants grow to 10" with a 2’ spread.
‘Katherine’: Striking new Diascia with magenta-pink blooms held above dense, variegated foliage. The creamy white and green leaves make this an excellent choice for containers. Plants grow to 12-14".
‘Lilac Belle’: Light purple blooms on 12" plants with an equal spread.
‘Red Start’: Small mounds of blue-green foliage with a never-ending production of rose-red flowers.
‘Strawberry Sundae’: Strawberry ice cream-colored flowers atop compact foliage. This selection has a pleasant, trailing habit and seems to be more heat tolerant than other Diascias. To 12 or 14".
‘Twinkle’: Selected for its tidy, compact habit and abundant magenta blooms, this one grows to only 6" tall and twice as wide.
Bleeding heart. Deciduous perennials growing from taproots, bulblets, tubers or rhizomes. Cultivated for their graceful, fern-like foliage and elegant sprays of dainty heart-shaped flowers in pink, rose, or white. Best in part shade, except near the coast where they’ll tolerate full sun, they prefer humus-rich and moist, but well-drained soils with moderate water. Vigorous and even assertive, yet offering a delicate and graceful texture to shaded areas of the garden. Hardiness varies. Asia, North America.
eximia ‘Adrian Bloom’: This Blooms of Bressingham spreading selection has glaucus foliage and deep red flowers in spring and summer. Plants grow to 20" tall and perform better with a period of winter chill.
scandens ‘Athen’s Yellow’: A climbing species with delicate yellow flowers from April to November. The gray-green foliage climbs loosely with support. Himalayas.
Fairy wand. Perennial evergreen with stiff, sword-like 2’ leaves rising from renewable corms. Arching stems to 3’ or more hold pendulous, bell-shaped flowers in a range of vivid colors, from purple to magenta-pink and even white. Prefer full sun and well-drained soils that should be kept moist when plants are actively growing. Little care required once established. Hardy to 25F. Tropical and Southern Africa.
Diplarrhena moraea ‘Slieve Donard’
Iris-like perennial grown for its abundant, sweetly scented white flowers in summer. Plant in well-drained soil in full sun and provide regular water. Hardy to 15F. Australia, Tasmania.
Hopseed bush. Tough, dependable, evergreen shrubs grown for their colorful foliage and sturdy nature. Inflated seed capsules range in color from bronze to red and are particularly ornamental. Plant in full sun to light shade in well-drained soils with occasional water. Tolerant of wind, poor soils and heat. Bad to the bone! Hardy to 20F. Australia.
adenophora: Dwarf, multi-stemmed shrub to 6’ with finely cut leaves and translucent red fruits. Best suited to well-drained soils and full to part sun. Excellent choice for a dry garden. Southwestern Australia.
boroniifolia: Handsome shrub to 6’ tall with an urn-shaped form. Shiny, dark green leaves are finely cut to 2" long. Fruit capsules are pink to reddish-purple with a rich, ornamental quality. Queensland, Australia.
Hairy canary clover. Subshrub to 2’ tall with dense, furry gray-white leaves divided into 3 leaflets. Cream-colored flowers blush shell pink and bloom from summer to fall. A good choice for dry gardens in full sun and well-drained soils with occasional water. Seeds are held in maroon pea-like fruits that add ornamental character into winter. Commonly reseeds, but not in an aggressive manner. Hardy to 10F. Mediterranean, Southern Portugal.
Live-forever. Rosette-forming succulents with erect or ascending flower stems carrying red, orange, yellow or occasionally white flowers. Grown for their succulent, silver-gray leathery leaves and masses of muted flowers borne in spring and summer. Most Dudleyas prefer full sun in perfectly drained soil. Water sparingly or not at all. Exceptional container subjects needing little besides protection from extreme cold. Good choice for dry walls or rock gardens. Usually hardy to 10F. Western North America.
arizonica: Solitary rosette to 8" across on a thick base with flowering stems to 2’. Red flowers appear in late spring or early summer. Southwestern North America.
brittonii: Fleshy leaves are dusted a chalky white and held on a succulent, basal rosette. Mature plants form a thick trunk and can grow to 2’ tall. Flowers are star-shaped and yellow or occasionally green, in spring. Hardy to 20F. Baja California.
cymosa: Compact rosettes with broad, nearly flat green leaves, lightly dusted white. Flowering stems reach 4-12" tall and bear erect, reddish-yellow blooms in spring and early summer. California.
greenei ‘White Sprite’: Small, tight rosettes to 4" with sparkling, narrow, silver-white leaves. Pale yellow flowers appear in summer. Perhaps the perfect rock garden plant. Channel Islands.
pulverulenta: Chalk lettuce. Rosette-forming succulent with strap-shaped, pointed silvery-gray leaves, dusted with white powder. Masses of star-shaped, red flowers bloom from spring to summer on 2’ high stalks. Attractively used in pots, rock gardens or on walls. Tilt the rosettes when planting to prevent rain from settling in the crown. Hardy to 20F.
‘Anacapa’: Narrow-leafed hybrid from Wayne Roderick forming tight mounds to 18". Summer flowers on 12" stems are pale yellow. Gray-white foliage blushes rose-purple in winter chill. Strong, handsome selection that is best used in dry conditions.
An evergreen perennial, growing in tight mats 2-3" deep and spreading to 20" by offsets. The leaves are narrow, 2-3" long and grayish-green above with rolled edges. When drought stressed the leaves turn up at the margins to show a cottony white underside. Summer flowers are minute yellow daisies and remain partially hidden by the foliage. This tough ground cover tolerates full sun, light shade, heat, reflected light and only occasional water once established. Plants spread more quickly with supplemental water. Best used in well-drained soils and coastal conditions. Excellent choice between paving blocks and stepping stones, in rock gardens or as a small-scale groundcover where it will endure light foot traffic. Hardy to 15F. South Africa.