Our Favorite Plants and New Offerings


Angelica 'Ebony' with Salvia sclarea and Eucalyptus nicolii

Angelica ‘Ebony’ – One of the most popular plants in the garden….A truly purple-black angelica, and even more so in full sun. The flowers are rose pink. Incredible contrast plant – shown here with Salvia sclarea var. turkestanica and Eucalyptus nicolii in our herb garden.It grows 3-4′ tall, and up to 5′ when in flower.

Chilean LobeliasLobelia tupa is by far the most remarked upon plant in our gardens.This year we are taking you all seriously and growing enough so there is plenty to go around!

Lobelia tupa grows 5-7′ tall with spikes of outrageous blood-red hooked blooms standing out against the large matte-textured water green leaves. The show goes on all summer into fall, and is beloved by hummingbirds.

Lobelia polyphylla – same height as tupa, but with deep violet-red flowers and rich grass green serrated leaves which follow the flowers up the two foot long blooming spires.Lobelia-tupa

And finally ( for all you lobeliaphiles) – Lobelia excelsa – another 5-6′ type with mango-orange hooked blossoms and rich green foliage in contrast. ( All three lobelias are zone 7).

Cistus – We’ve grown nine different varieties of Cistus this year – concentrating on the dwarf and compact types ( from 18″ to 3′ ) that show off their lovely form and flowers, without getting rangy. These are some of my personal favorites for variety of leaf size, shape and texture -as well as having beautiful flowers.

Cistus ladanifer var. sulcatus 'Palhinhae'

Cistus ladanifer var. sulcatus 'Palhinhae'

Cistus ladanifer var. sulcatus Palhinhae –     ( Gum Cistus. 3′ by 4′ ) Deep, deep green leaves, glistening with the aromatic labdanum gum – which has been treasured since ancient times. This was the “myrrh” of the Bible. It is by far the most ( blissfully) aromatic of all Cistus. The dense, handsome leaves support pure white  4″ flowers – which remind me of magnolias.( Likes full sun and good drainage).

Cistus ‘Bashful’ – (24″ by 36″ ) is a dwarf, narrow leaved cultivar, also a gum cistus – with the same sticky/shiny deep green leaves, and fragrance. In May and June it is covered with pure white  1 1/2″ flowers.

Cistus clusii – ( 18″ to 24″ ) From the levant – another aromatic Cistus with rich green leaves so fine and narrow ,it gives the appearance of a rounded rosemary – until it blooms, literally covered with hundreds of one and one half  inch pure white blooms. We are thrilled to have finally obtained the seed this last year. Very fine, and unique among Cistus. Great foreground plant. ( Full sun and good drainage ).

Cistus ‘Pink Silk’ – ( 3′ by 4′ ) has some ‘Palhinhae’ in its parentage. Good sized  4″ tapered oval leaves are smooth and glossy and turning to a point at the ends. Very large rose pink flowers( occasionally a pale pink to white) have a silky/glossy sheen perfectly in keeping with the foliage.

Cistus creticus ssp incanus ( 30″ to 36″ ) As we saw on the hillsides in Crete, often accompanied by acid yellow euphorbias and Thymus capitatus. Tough. Durable, and adaptable to many soils. Wavy edged, gray-green wooly leaves are crowned with pretty 2″ orchid-pink flowers over a long season,sometimes repeating again here in fall.

Cistus albidus – ( 3-4′ by 4-5′ wide) Large orchid- pink blooms. Wooly  light gray-green foliage with a blue undertone. One of my favorites, needs good drainage.

Cistus ‘Sunset’ ( 24″ to 30″)  Popular for good reason. Deep rich fuschia pink flowers bloom and re-bloom with abandon. Handsome grey-green lightly felted foliage and a rugged, easy constitution.

Cistus monspeliensis ( 24 to 30″ by 36″) Abundant white flowers, with a soft densely mounding habit. Hairy, slightly narrow 3″ to 4″ long deep green leaves. Super hardy.


Definitely  one of the ” flavors of the year”. Bright, fun and easy – they lend a sweetness and natural quality to dry gardens, and a rich color contrast for sunny fusion gardens.

Mimulus auranticus Red. ( Red Sticky Monkeyflower. 3′ to 4′ ) Bright red impish two an a half inch flowers dance among the sticky green leaves of this California native all summer long. And so do the hummingbirds. ( Full sun.)

Mimulus auranticus – Golden Orange. ( Sticky Monkeyflower 3′ to 4′) Same as above, but warm marmalade- toned golden flowers. Wonderful with Gum Cistus.

Mimulus cardinalis – Golden Flower Form– ( Scarlet Monkeyflower 30″ Western US.) This is from a seed strain of golden-orange flowers,struck originally from a pure yellow flower on Santa Cruz Island. The plants have  soft subtle variations in tone between gold and orange. Very nice with the golden-felted Verbascum epixanthemum from Turkey.

We are also trying out some rare Chilean species from high altitudes: Mimulus cupreus and Mimulus naiandinus–  they may be in limited supply this season – but we hope for the best. More later on these…

Melianthus major 'Antinow's Blue' with Salvia canariensis

Melianthus major 'Antinow's Blue' with Salvia canariensis

Plants with intense blue foliage – from turquoise and powder blue to the deeper metallic blues – have always appealed to me – but this year more than ever before. The color of clear skies and Mediterranean waters. Also, to me, the color of the heart. In combinations with other plants, no matter how intense or saturated, the final image is dreamy, rather than jarring.

Some favorites that we are carrying in the nursery, as well as using in our landscapes:

Melianthus major in all forms,including ‘Antinow’s Blue’, ‘Purple Haze’, and a large leaf form with double sized leaves…

Euphorbia rigida, Euphorbia myrsinites and Euphorbia characias ‘Blue Wonder’ – a new dwarf (24″ to 30″) from England with solid deep blue foliage.

Eucalyptus dalrympleana ,Scots Pine and Robinia 'Frisia

Eucalyptus dalrympleana ,Scots Pine and Robinia 'Frisia

The slightly hairy and metallic blue Horned Poppy –Glaucium flavum auranticum ,with its contrasting deep orange flowers.

Somewhere between powder blue and turquoise are Asphodeline lutea and Elymus magellenica.

The blues  of course include many Eucalyptus such as glaucescens, nicolii,gregsoniana, dalrympleana and gunii ‘Silver Drop’.

Agave ovatifolia and Cotyledon orbiculata oblongata are both surprisingly hardy here ( Zone 7) – providing they get very good sharp drainage and full sun.

Yucca recurvifolia .

Euphorbia rigida, Geranium harveyi, Salvia dominica,and Dahlia coccinea palmeri

Euphorbia rigida, Geranium harveyi, Salvia dominica,and Dahlia coccinea palmeri

Plants with brilliant red and orange flowers – such as Monkeyflowers, Lobelia tupa, Greek Poppies,

Elymus magellenica,Yucca recurvifolia,grasses and last season's returning wildflowers around the rim of the pond

Elymus magellenica,Yucca recurvifolia,grasses and last season's returning wildflowers around the rim of the pond

and the heart-stopping ephemeral qualities of Linaria reticulata ‘Flamenco’ – these we see as perfect companions to the dreamy blues. Somehow they ride the borders between the serenely  composed garden, and the electric vitality of the wild landscape.

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