The Q&A Archives: Tuscan Design

Question: Hello my name is Melissa Podesto. I am a gardening enthusiast :)! I recently utilized the Monrovia Tuscan Design and it turned out FABULOUS. I specifically used the design for the area around the pool. My question is we are going for a tuscan feel and I was interested what kind of plans would lend to the Monrovia Tuscan Design. What would you suggest? I have VERY long beds around the perimeters and good sized beds around the house. The trees in our yard are olive, ginko, blue spuce, shoestring acacia, vitex, Italian stone pine and one magnolia. ANY HELP or IDEAS would be great. I live in Northern california.

Answer: I'm happy to hear that your Tuscan design has turned out so well! Here are some of the other most commonly planted shrubs and perennials for Mediterranean gardens in your growing region:
Achillea millefolium 'Anthea'. Yarrows tolerate drought well, but bloom better with water and fertilizer. Full sun is best. The foliage is green, finely cut and lacy; cutting back after a bloom cycle encourages rebloom. Achillea flowers freely all summer, producing flat corymbs three to four inches across. Yarrow is an excellent cut flower.

Agapanthus 'Tinkerbelle' (var. ?Peter Pan?)South African evergreen bulb, very easy to grow in full sun with minimal care. The common form has a blue ball like
infloresence atop a tall flower stalk.

Aloe ?Walmsley Blue? A very compact selection of aloe with tight blue foliage and light apricot orange flowers on short spikes in the winter; forms a small clump. Can be divided in the late spring.

Anigozanthos 'Harmony' (Kangaroo Paw) A spiky perennial with tall stalks of yellow paw like flowers with reddish stems. Flowers in the spring and summer. Drought tolerant once established in the ground. Full sun, many other colors available.

Arbutus x 'Marina' (Strawberry Tree) This hybrid of the Strawberry tree is gorgeous, with showy bark, pink bell like flowers in the winter, followed by red berries. Grows 20?-30?, best grown as a multi-trunk to show off bark. Tolerates drought well. Best in full sun with good drainage.

Babiana stricta ?Purple? (Baboon Flower) Baboon flowers are South African bulbs or more correctly corms, which are beautifully adapted to our Mediterranean climate. They have palm like foliage and spikes of purple bluish or white flowers in the spring. They will naturalize in most gardens by reseeding after bloom. The corms go dormant in the summer, and can be dug and split at that time.

Carex tumuicola; (Berkeley Sedge) This native sedge grows to about 12? tall with narrow lush green foliage which spills outwardly from the center to about 3?wide, it tolerates a wide range of condition wet or dry, sun or shade, and just about any soil. Looks lush and green even when when keep on the dry side.

Crassula pubescens radicans; Trailing succulent related to the Jade Plant with red foliage when grown in the sun, small ball like pink flowers in Febuary are
a wecome delight early in the year. Propagates from cuttings easily.

Dymondia margaretae; Drought tolerant ground cover, tolerate much abuse once established, small great foliage, small yellow daisy flowers are notparticularly showy. Best in full sun, can tolerate foot traffic once established. Need some supplemental watering in the summer. The toughest groundcover ever.

Echeveria imbricata; Rosette forming succulent with a compact form. Leaves are cupped upward in a beautiful shade of blue. Full sun or partial shade. Apricot flowers on spikes form in the summer.

Erigeron glaucus 'Seabreeze' (Beach Aster) Native ground cover selection, pink daisy blooms in the spring, plant forms a compact mound of light green foliage. Full sun
or part, looks better with some supplemental summer watering. Very easy to grow, neat and clean.

Erigeron karvinskianus; (Santa Barbara Daisy) Native ground cover daisy. Drought tolerant with small white daisy flowers all year. Cut to ground when plant becomes overgrown. Possibly the easiest plant to grow. Can re-seed. Likes sun. Will also spill down a wall.

Kalanchoe thyrsiflora 'Solar Eclipse'; A succulent with striking foliage. The fan like flattened 8? pads grow upright from the center of the plant. The leaves are gray
blue with a distinctive reddish edge. Full sun with great drainage. Makes a good container plant.

Lavendula stoecha ?Rose pink?; New Spanish Lavender with pink flowers, blooms all year, compact in habit 2? x 2?. Full sun, easy to grow, drought tolerant, needs good drainage.

Leptospermum rotundifolium 'Manning's Choice'; This Austrailian shrub has a large pink waxy flower in the spring, very attractive in the garden grow 3? - 6? . Small rounded leaves with an attractive branching habit make it desirable. Doesn?t look dry in the summer like some leptospermums. Prized by flower arrangers.

Limonium perezii cosita; (Sea lavender) A new dwarf form of our common statice or sea lavender. Limonium are very easy to grow, and can naturalize at the coast with very little water. General indestructibility and nonstop blooming make it a favorite. The standard form gets 3? tall by 4?across, this new dwarf grows under 18?, can be grow from cuttings. Full sun is best.

Melaleuca ericifolia; An Australian shrub or small tree with finely textured weeping foliage. Grows to 6?-8? with a gnarled twisted trunk and strong lateral branches. Foliage is light green, the inflorescence is a small brush of cream colored flowers.

Melaleuca gibosum; An Australian shrub to 6? with finely textured very lacy foliage, small purple flowers in the summer. Drought tolerant, makes a good screen.

Origanum 'Santa Cruz'; Ornamental oreganos have fragrant leaves and small tubular flowers with showy bracts. Not only are they good to eat,they look great in the garden too. These Mediterranean natives are very easy to grow and propagate. They require full sun and good drainage. 'Santa Cruz' is a selection with sprays of small pink flowers.

Pelargonium ionidiflorum 'Pink Fairy Cascades'; A great ground cover with a hard name. South African perennials, this species forms a dense mound of finely textured foliage with a trailing habit. This selection has a strong pink flowers. Very drought tolerant, no insect of disease problems.

Pittosporum tobira variegata; A very common evergreen Asian shrub, fragrant flowers. Very easy to grow, sun or shade, dry or wet, clay or sandy soil. Even though it?s common it?s still a great highly prized plant. Best when laced, not sheared, this selection has a cream variegation.

Rhaphiolepis ovata; A workhorse shrub, very common. Very drought tolerant, easy to grow. This species is larger than most to about 6? or 10? . Large leathery dark green leaves, with a great structure. Late spring clusters of white blooms can have a
touch of pink, dark berries follow. Full sun is best. Can be grown from cutting or seed.

Salvia clevelandii 'Winnifred Gilman'; grows to 3? with greenish-gray foliage. Blooms a few weeks later than the species, with a dark blue flowers on whorled stalks in the summer. Cut back by one third after blooming to encourage a
compact plant. A very drought tolerant sage, but can tolerate some summer watre with good drainage. Can be short lived, lasting 3-5 years, but can be propagated by cuttings.

Thymus herba barona ?Trailing Lemon?; A lemon scented trailing thyme, small pink flowers in the spring, grows very low to the ground, great between stepping
stones, full sun is best. Water to get established, then some drought tolerance can be expected.

Hope this short list helps you continue your Tuscan design throughout your landscape!

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