zone 7b

First Flowers of Flat Iris

Late December marks our first flowering of Iris planifolia. This odd native to Southern Europe and Northern Africa has a similar distribution to the better-known Iris unguicularis, but this Iris belongs to the group, known as Juno or bulbous iris. These deciduous iris are extremely sensitive to summer moisture, which is why this resides in

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Smart as a Blue Oak

Looking great well into December is the North American native, Salvia chamaedryoides, known as Blue Oak sage. This evergreen, dryland native hails form 7,000′ to 9,000′ elevation in the Chihuahuan Desert of northern Mexico. For us, it flowers heaviest in spring and fall, with dark, cobalt blue flowers. It’s one of the few silver leaf

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It’s time for snow….roses

It’s time for the start of Christmas rose/snow rose season to begin. We were delighted to find our clump of the Balkan native, Helleborus niger ‘Jesko’ in full flower. These are always exceptional honeybee favorites, as well as being great evergreen perennials for the winter season. We find that light shade to a couple of

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Check out our Tioga Party

On of our obsessive plant friends, Glen Melcher, of Tioga, Lousiaiana, sent us several seedlings a few years ago, from his cross of Hibiscus paramutabilis x mutabilis. We made our final selection this fall, which we’ve christened Hibiscus ‘Tioga Party’. This 12′ tall x 12′ wide beast puts on quite a show, starting several weeks

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Let’s Twist Again, Like we did Last Summer

Our title is obviously borrowed from the 1961 Chubby Checker song, which few people reading this, probably remember. Abutilon ‘Twister’ is looking absolutely elegant now in the fall garden. This amazing flowering maple hybrid from the folks at California’s Monterrey Bay Nursery, has thrived here since 2005, enduring several single digit F. winters. For us,

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