Month: August 2014


Ferns are wonderful shade plants, adding a lush, woodland look to a shady area.  Shown at left is Polystichum munitum, a native fern that grows to two to four feet.          Another excellent fern for our area is

Centranthus ruber

Centranthus, or Jupiter’s beard, is a great perennial, but be prepared for its rather vigorous self-sowing.  It is very tolerant of most conditions and needs little water.  Flower color ranges from crimson to pink to lilac to white, with a


Aquilegia, or columbine, has lovely lacy foliage with flowers that rise above the leaves.  There are many flower colors available, all of which attract hummingbirds.  It blooms in spring and early summer and prefers shade, especially in the afternoon.  Regular


Agapanthus, or lily of the Nile, can be evergreen or deciduous, one foot tall or four feet tall, white or blue flowered.  There are several shades of blue, from pale to dark blue-violet.  It has green, strap-like leaves with round


Both E. fortunei and E. japonicus have variegated varieties that brighten up the garden with their foliage.  Height ranges from about three to ten feet, depending on the variety.  Moderate to regular water is required.

Eleagnus ‘Gilt Edge’

This is an evergreen shrub that adds color all year round.  It can reach up to ten feet and has an upright growth habit  It can take sun or partial shade and does best with regular water.


The most commonly available species is Caryopteris x clandonensis.  There are several named varieties, all of which grow to about two feet.  They are known for their lovely purple flowers, much loved by bees.  Caryopteris loses its leaves in winter,


Hibiscus syriacus, or Rose of Sharon, is a deciduous shrub that grows to about ten feet tall and six feet wide.  It sports very showy, two to three inch flowers from summer until frost.  It is easy to grow, actually likes heat

Rhamnus californica

Rhamnus californica, or coffeeberry, is an evergreen shrub that can grow from three to fifteen feet, depending on the variety and the climate in which it is planted.  The common name comes from the berries that turn black once they


There are many species of Ribes, both evergreen and deciduous.  A very nice evergreen species is Ribes viburnifolium with roundish, dark green leaves and dark red stems.  It needs no irrigation, making it ideal for planting under oaks.  It grows three