Newsletter for August 2020

Summerina Yellow Echibeckia is quite a mouthful, but then it’s quite a plant! This hybrid is a cross between Rudbeckia and Echinacea. It produces the large flowers and fast growth of Rudbeckias and the vigor and disease resistance of Echinacea. The cheerful blooms are long lasting and will brighten any summer garden. At this time we have some very handsome plants in 12″ containers.

Here’s a brief description of the many ground covers we stock. Be aware that they are not always available, but we will always try to order them.

The term “Ground Cover” can describe a huge diversity of plants. The four above can cover a lot of territory and they are all very tough. Rosea iceplant, a drought tolerant succulent, should be planted about 1 1/2 feet apart. There are other iceplant varieties with more muted tones, i.e. Delospermum congestum, yellow flowers, and Delospermum ‘Starburst’ with white flowers. Of the four plants pictured, rosemary probably requires the most care if you wish to keep it under 2 feet. Myoporum parvifolium has flowers in either white or pink and Dymondia’s flowers are yellow.

These low growing plants are better for small areas. Convolulus mauritanicus, shown here with blue flowers, occasionally occurs with white flowers. There are many low growing Thymes – other varieties include Woolly Thyme, Pink Chintz and Elfin, the most compact. Santolina is a very tough, drought tolerant plant with yellow button flowers in summer. Origanum ‘Hopley’s Purple’ can cover quite a bit of ground eventually. The purple flowers emerge in August. Other Oreganos of note – Betty Rollins and Golden Oregano.

The former ground covers can usually be found in flats, 6 packs or 4″ plants. The above varieties are generally sold in 1 gallon containers. The Cistus blooms in spring and can spread at least 3 feet wide and 1 1/2 to 3 feet high. It is very drought tolerant. Low growing cotoneasters vary with variety. Most grow 6″ to 1 1/2 feet tall and are 6 to 8 feet wide. The small white flowers in spring develop into bright red berries in fall and winter. The next two plants are California natives. Epilobium (formerly Zauschneria) has variation in height and leaf color. Unusual varieties have white or pink flowers. The bright orange-red flowers appear in late summer and remain throughout fall. The low growing Salvia ”Bee’s Bliss’ blooms in spring. It’s very drought tolerant and attracts lots of bees.

And finally, some shade prospects. Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum) is most often used as a vine. But it can serve well as a ground cover and has the possibility of reaching out to 10 feet or more. Its cousin, Asian Jasmine, is also a good candidate with smaller leaves and flowers. Vinca offers several choices. The one shown is a variegated variety of Vinca Minor. Vinca minor forms low growing clumps of dark green leaves with blue flowers in spring. Vinca major, on the other hand, grows quite quickly and can take over an area. Lysimachia is a great plant for small shade areas – leaf color is either green or chartreuse. And the last plant, Isotoma is a very low growing selection with flowers white or blue.

These are by no means all the groundcovers that thrive in our area, but a broad view of the many options.

Dicliptera suberecta, a native of Uruguay, is here just in time to bloom with its striking orange red flowers. Dicliptera is able to survive our cold winters and is also able to thrive in our high temperatures. Deadheading will prolong the flowering. After bloom, you will be left with a small tidy clump of green.

What’s blooming now.

Perennials: Lantana, the hardy Miss Huff and Chapel Hill; lots of Salvias, Greggii varieties, ‘Black and Blue’ (guaranitica), ‘Mystic Spires’; Cannas; Nepeta (Cat mint) and Guara.

Annuals: Petunias, Marigolds, Angelonia (“Summer Snapdragons”), Portulaca and Vinca.

Shrubs/trees: Crape myrtles, Vitex and Mimosa.