|[ Garden Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) | Posted on May 11, 2018 ]
Invasive in San Diego County. It may even be considered a noxious weed. I live near a nature preserve, and it covers the shady hillsides next to the main entrance. It is pretty, but spreads very aggressively here. We have received very little rain here this year, and it is still everywhere! It is fragrant, but in my opinion it has a sickeningly sweet scent. Check your State/County invasive plant list before planting.
|[ Common Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus 'Seashells') | Posted on May 6, 2018 ]
Easy germination and very quick to reach maturity. Flowers are beautiful, but also very variable. I would say 40-50% of the seeds I sowed flowered with fully tubed petals. However, all the flowers turned out beautifully. I plan on saving seeds from the flowers that did have the fluted petals in hopes of increasing the likelihood that they will turn out that way for future sowings.
|[ Canary Island Sage (Salvia canariensis) | Posted on April 17, 2018 ]
Canary Island Sage is a large shrub native to the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa. It can attain a maximum height of 10', but the average is about 6-8'. The width varies anywhere between 3' and-4'. Its size can be controlled by hard pruning. It's best to prune before it starts to set buds: mid-spring in warmer areas and early summer in the colder areas. The flowers and bracts are a beautiful, showy purplish-pink color. The leaves are large, arrowhead shaped, with white hairs on the undersides, which help it to conserve moisture. It is also fragrant; hard to describe but perhaps similar to California natives? The flowers attract many different pollinators. In my garden it attracts a good diversity of them, including honey bees, bumblebees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, as well as wasps. It can be susceptible to disease, such as powdery mildew and others, as well as to pests, such as aphids and whiteflies. It's best to water from below and keep its area clean and try not to plant it too close to other plants. Also, in my garden it reseeds, but not to a point of nuisance.
|[ Mealycup Sage (Salvia farinacea 'Victoria Blue') | Posted on March 28, 2018 ]
An easy and beautiful perennial for me in zone 10a. Definitely worth growing as an annual for those areas in which it is not hardy, which I believe is up to zone 8. It not only self sows, but also gets bigger each year. It is herbaceous and very easy to divide, so I have more plants each year. Though most report its height topping out at around 2ft, in its third year here it has reached 4ft. It can be prone to powdery mildew so it's best to water from below. Spider mites, white flies and others also attack mine, so I spray with neem oil once in a while and that seems to work well. It attracts beneficial insects, such as bees and butterflies, as well as hummingbirds. In my garden I've also looked on as the lesser goldfinches go for the seeds and comically the stems bend under their weight.
|[ Saint Catherine's Lace (Eriogonum giganteum) | Posted on March 26, 2018 ]
Eriogonum Giganteum (St Catherine's Lace) is a native California buckwheat endemic to the Channel Islands. It is the largest native buckwheat with a maximum height of 8'! However, size varies, with literature citing anywhere from 2 feet to 8 feet. Seems 4' is more the average. Same goes for the width as well. It is evergreen, with beautiful silvery green, wooly leaves. It flowers for a long time, starting earliest in April and continuing until Fall. Like most California natives, it is drought tolerant, while also tolerant of garden conditions to an extent. Many beneficial insects utilize this plant, as well as birds, especially for the seedheads in the fall.
|[ Carpet Geranium (Geranium incanum) | Posted on March 24, 2018 ]
Geranium Incanum in a perennial from South Africa that has become naturalized in parts of Southern California, though it's not listed as invasive.
|[ Pennants (Chasmanthe floribunda) | Posted on January 28, 2018 ]
In my area of Solana Beach California, it is naturalized but only comes up from late winter to early spring. It comes up all over my yard, but I don't care as the birds absolutely love it, especially the warblers and hummingbirds. A black throated gray warbler and a yellow rumped warbler (myrtle subspecies), which is not regular on the west coast, have overwintered in my yard for the past two years and love the chasmanthe. The orange crowned warblers love it too!
|[ Sage (Salvia 'Bright Eyes') | Posted on March 13, 2017 ]
I have grown nine different varieties of salvia up to now. I have to say this is my favorite. Beautiful, healthy, blooms almost all year. Its best attribute in my opinion is its lovely shiny lush green foliage. Drought, oversaturated soil, amendments, no amendments, this plant looks great no matter what!