Add summer flowering trees to your landscape. Perhaps the best known is the Crape Myrtle. Some lovely older specimens are scattered throughout town. The color selection includes white, pink, watermelon red, lavender and bright crimson. Provide average water and occasional fertilization plus a good soil foundation. The varieties vary greatly in height from 3 feet to 25 and the plants can be grown as single or multi-trunked. We also have some nice patio specimens.
Vitex is another showy tree/shrub. The blue flowers are in bloom at this time. The plant is quite drought tolerant. It will grow over 20 feet tall but can be pruned to remain more compact.
The Chitalpa tree consists of two varieties, ‘Pink Dawn’ and ‘Morning Cloud’. Both have a long bloom period. The pink or white flowers are often compared to orchid flowers.
Native plants are always in demand. A few varieties we are not always able to obtain include Asclepias speciosa. This variety of milkweed is a Monarch butterfly favorite and has a showy flower as well. The plants can exist with almost no water but their appearance will improve with regular irrigation. Another native milkweed available is Asclepias fascicularis. Other native perennials currently in stock include Zauschneria (“California fuchsia”), lupine, Salvia apiana and a seldom seen one gallon Fremontodendron.
Hot, dry weather – succulents to the rescue! They are fascinating plants with exceptional variability. We tend to classify them in tender or cold hardy designations. These designations are quite tenuous depending on your location and yearly temperatures. To highlight just a few, there are the agaves and yuccas. They are generally considered to be landscape plants but also do well in containers.
The vast types of both contain cold hardy and tender types. Check out their descriptions before purchase. Smaller succulents are great for containers or small ground covers. An unusual one is Rochea falcata. The unusual stacked gray leaves will eventually culminate in bright orange red flowers. With a little protection from the cold, they should survive our North County winters.
New hanging baskets arriving this week of mixed Calibrachoa and Vinca. Both types do extremely well in the hot summer.
It’s pesto time! Hope your basil is doing well. Cut off the branches and separate all the leaves. There are many different recipes but mine calls for three cups of packed basil. It takes only minutes – add olive oil, garlic and pine nuts and you will end up with a delicious cup of pesto. It’s quite intense so you won’t need much for adding to your pasta, salad dressing, etc. Pesto freezes well.
The not-so-very-tropical Hibiscus – this stunning specimen is among the Hibiscus family commonly named ‘Rose of Sharon’. How can you resist a plant named ‘Chateau de Versailles’ not to mentions the stunning violet blue flowers with dark centers? These deciduous shrubs grow 4 to 6 feet tall. A very different species of Hibiscus is the moscheutos series. These plants die completely to the ground in winter and quickly reach 24 to 30″ in summer. Currently in stock are ‘Honeymoon Deep Red’ and ‘Honeymoon Light Pink’. The flowers can reach 6 to 8″ wide.
FINALLY a substantial amount of Citrus arrives at Bay Laurel! At the moment you will find Bearss and Mexican lime as well as Makrut lime also known as Kaffir lime, Washington and Late Lane navel oranges. Haas, Lamb Haas and Fuerte avacadoes join them. Be sure you have the right situation for all these plants. They are not cold hardy up here in North San Luis Obispo county so make sure you can protect them from frost. Five gallon grapes are here – Thompson, Concord, Black Monukka.