(Guizhou White Mugwort) Long-blooming panicles of creamy white flowers on strong, dark maroon stems make this tall Mugwort a perfect choice for back of border. It grows well in full sun to light shade.
The flower spikes of this hardy Chinese native are so strong that they don't require staking. The deep green foliage is infused with purple tones. It is deeply lobed and serrated, which gives it a lacy appearance.
Although Guizhou White Mugwort appreciates average watering based on local conditions, it is drought resistant. This cold-hardy shrub is an excellent choice for frosty USDA Zone 4 winter temperatures.
Stems of Guizhou White Mugwort are lovely in floral arrangements, but we mostly leave them alone in the garden to enjoy until first frost. Many herbalists use Mugwort species in teas and folk remedies.
(True Blue Echium) Hot pink buds become a profusion of gentian blue flowers from spring to fall in this spectacular member of the borage family. Its homeland is the Island of La Palma, one of the Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa.
Although heat- and drought-tolerant, True Blue Echium prefers the balmy summers of its mountainous homeland, the rocky slopes of the volcano La Caldera de Taburiente. Temperatures there approximate those of San Francisco during summer.
The plant’s foliage is equally eye-catching with its red stems and blue-green leaves with cream stripes. It makes a dramatic background planting, groundcover, perennial border or dry garden standout.
You can grow True Blue Echium in a container as well, but select a deep pot for its long roots and expect it to grow smaller than its in-ground size of 4 feet tall and wide. Butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds are all attracted to this long blooming, true blue beauty.
(Himalayan Gloxinia) Delicate, pink, trumpet blossoms with flared corollas top mid-green foliage on reddish-green stems. This tough, long-blooming plant is native to the Himalayas. Plant hunter Chris Chadwell collected our seeds in Nepal.
Arguta refers to the sharply notched edges of this gloxinia's glossy leaves. The genus name Incarvillea honors the Jesuit missionary, Pierre Nicolas Le Chéron d'Incarville (1706-1757), whose plant exploration in China initiated the worldwide popularity of many Chinese plants, including gloxinias.
The Beijing Center for Chinese Studies notes that d'Incarville was part of a group of advisors invited to China by Emperor Qianlong in 1739 to help cultivate European plants in his "Garden of Perfect Brightness." D'Incarville wasn't a formally trained botanist, but studied at the Paris Jardin du Roi for six months before leaving France for China, the country where he would eventually die.
Although Himalayan Gloxinia can tolerate weak fertility, it grows best in rich garden soil with full sun to partial shade. A location with morning sun and afternoon shade is best in areas with hot summers. Incarvillea arguta thrives with average watering based on local rainfall and loves supplemental watering as long as its soil doesn't become soggy.
Sometimes called Chinese Trumpet Flower, Himalayan Gloxinia is a reliable understory plant that also thrives in containers.
(Island Pitcher Sage) Native to shady canyons on the coast of Southern California's Channel Islands, this threatened species is highly desirable for its ruggedness, its aromatic furry leaves and its spectacular Winter and Spring flowers.
Grow this shrub in rich soil with regular watering in partial shade for a breathtaking blooming every year - or grow it in any amount of shade with any amount of water in all but the very worst soil, and you will still be rewarded for your efforts.
A California native that catches everyone's eye. Highly recommended and limited.
(Trumpet Spurflower) A close relative to Salvia, once known as Plectranthus longitubus, this woodland native from the Japanese mountains of Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu is a Fall delight in the shade.
Clouds of 1 1/2 inch long pale sky-blue trumpets are uncountable. This shrub has a angular branching pattern and light yellow-green toothed leaves that give it an airy look. Blue Fall color in the shady garden is rare, and this delightful plant is tough, fast growing and rewarding.
(Sacred White Sage) Bees, hummingbirds and spiritual blessings are all connected to this elegant shrubby sage, which is an important herb to indigenous Californians and deserves a place in every salvia garden. Stiff and almost fleshy, its leaves are tight rosettes of brilliant, silvery white. The flower spikes soar above the foliage, with hundreds of small white-to-lavender flowers that are one of the most important sources of pollen and nectar for pollinators. This Salvia is also the source of leaves for Native American smudge sticks used in purification rituals.
Slow growing but not difficult, this California native requires good drainage and full sun. In its dry-summer/wet-winter range, it often grows on rocky, south slopes. Very little water is needed once the plant becomes established.
Our strain is well adapted to the moist environment of coastal Northern California, and performs well in a wide variety of climates. We select only the whitest and most compact plants for vegetative propagation, insuring a tidy shrub that will not overgrow its space.
Historically, Sacred White Sage has been used in medicinal teas and ground into flour for cooking. We burn the leaves in our home to sweeten and purify the air. This is a beautiful and powerful plant.
(Arizona Blue Sage) We are so impressed with this top-performing, drought-resistant ground cover that we have rated it best of class. Arizona Blue Sage is adaptable to a variety of shady conditions and blossoms so abundantly that it seems to have as many rich blue flowers as it has leaves. It is native to dry, shaded areas in mountain canyons in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
This softly mounded plant also works well as a patio container plant. Although it grows well for us in dense shade, it does particularly well in spots where it receives morning sun and afternoon shade. Providing regular watering based on local conditions is best, but this hardy perennial tolerates shortages. It also can withstand a wide temperature range, including extreme summer heat and the chill of Zone 6 winters when mulched.
(Heart Leaf Sage) From the rich plains of Northern Argentina comes this delicate looking sage with heart-shaped leaves and pale blue flowers so perfect they seem to be molded in wax. Although a slow grower that requires good garden culture, this Salvia is exquisite.
Heart Leaf Sage needs fertile soil that is rich in humus and well drained. It grows well in the ground or in a container. Site it in a warm, sunny spot where it can receive partial shade and no reflected heat. Water and fertilize well. Be patient, as it seems to take a year or more to settle in and become robust. Then sit back and enjoy the lovely foliage and 1-inch-long, striped flowers.
This perennial sage was found by Rolando Uría in Chaco, Argentina in 2009 and is one of the rarest Salvias in the world. It is quite slow to increase, but we highly recommend its beauty.
(Hidalgo or 7-UP Plant) I love to ask people what the smell of these leaves remind them of. Almost no one gets it on the first try, but when I say, "7 UP", their eyes light up, heads nod and the resounding answer is, "Yes!"
This mounding small perennial is native to shady mountain canyons in Arizona and Texas. The flowers glow on tall spikes above the furry, light green above, silvery underneath leaves. This is an outstanding perennial for shady spots. It can stand drought when established, but does very well with regular garden water. The apricot-coral flowers age to a reddish tint, and are quite long lasting. This plant blooms for us April - October!
This is another Salvia-like perennial that deserves much greater prominence in our gardens.
(Red Betony) Heralding from the arid Southwest, this attractive and desirable perennial is one of the best hummingbird plants. Small pastel red/orange flowers make a real impact due to their numbers - this plant is often covered in flowers. And the furry leaves have a mild, fruity fragrance, especially in warm weather.
This mounding small perennial is native to shady mountain canyons in Arizona and Texas. This is a fine hardy perennial for shady spots, and even grows in full sun with adequate water. It can stand drought when established, but does very well with regular garden water. This plant blooms for us April - October!
This is another Salvia-like perennial that deserves much greater prominence in our gardens.
Highly recommended. The hummers will thank you!
(Saint Catherine's Lace) When in full bloom from spring to fall, you can barely see the foliage of this floriferous shrub. Its huge umbels of pinkish cream flowers form what seems like the skirt of a lacy bridal gown growing 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide.
If the lower branches of this Buckwheat shrub are removed and its attractively gnarled branches are revealed, Saint Catherine’s Lace looks like a short tree. Under all those flowers are soft, wooly gray leaves.
Saint Catherine's Lace is a member of the Buckwheat genus, which is widespread throughout North America. This full-sun species is endemic to California’s Channel Islands where it thrives on dry slopes. Grow it as a screen, background planting, a central highlight in a cut flower garden or in a large shrub border.
Highly adaptable, this evergreen shrub does well in a wide variety of soils whether in a cool coastal region or a hot, dry area. It likes regular watering, but does well in dry gardens in USDA Zones 7 to 9. Give it full sun.
Butterflies and honeybees are drawn to this bush; birds love its seeds.
Hummingbirds love Salvia (sage) nectar and are attracted to it by the bright colors of tubular sage blossoms. In particular, these little whirlybirds can easily spot flowers in the red spectrum, which is prevalent among sages. Here are some hummingbird gardening tips.
Fragrance as well as color attracts butterflies. However, they don't have noses. Instead, butterflies smell and taste with their antennas and feet. Here are some ways to attract them: