In my previous post, I wrote about very enticing plant discoveries that will make our drought resistant landscape designs more varied, interesting and satisfying. Here are more of these plants:
On a recent visit to Waterwise Botanicals, respected nursery/grower of California friendly plants in Bonsall , I noticed the delicate form and pretty flowers of a small tree crowning a planting vignette of succulents and waterwise perennial grasses , on a small mound. Here’s how the grower describes it:
“This shrub/small tree, growing to 6-8 ft tall and wide [I saw it as an about 10 ft tree] is a perfect water-wise choice for a landscape. It is prettiest when pruned out as a very small, multi-trunked tree. Soft, lacy, fernlike foliage provides the back-drop for exotic yellow flowers with long, protruding red “feathery” stamens that bloom repeatedly for most of spring through fall. Loves full sun; drought tolerant when established. Hardy to 10s. Excellent as a mountain, valley or desert plant. Attracts butterflies; distasteful to deer. Will go winter deciduous in cold climates.”
This little tree is also offered by Mountain States Wholesale Nursery, whose great desert adapted plants are well suited to our local climate and are being sold at local nurseries. Their website describes this plant:
“Caesalpinia gilliesii Yellow Bird of Paradise
This upright, fast growing deciduous shrub originated from Argentina and Uruguay, and has naturalized in sub-tropical areas of America. Clusters of bright yellow flowers with long red stamens are produced in the summer. Its natural growth habit is irregular and open, but pruning will encourage dense growth. Older plants may attain a height of 10 feet and nearly as wide.
This long-lived and durable plant is tolerant of cold, heat and drought, and performs best in full sun exposures. All parts of this plant are toxic. It is root hardy to -10°F. “
I’d use this plant as patio tree in small spaces, or as accent in a xeriscape design with other drought resistant plants. Its canopy would allow more delicate succulents such as Echeverias and Aeoniums to profit of its dappled shade; it could also be planted against a hot wall and soften it.
Here’s another promising plant that caught my eye at the September meeting of the San Diego Horticultural Society: Adenanthos cuneatus ‘Coral’ Drift Flame Bush.
The speaker at this meeting was plantsman Randy Baldwin of San Marcos Growers in Goleta Valley, north of Santa Barbara. He presented a selection of their fantastic “Plants Appropriate to the California Garden”. (I’ll be writing more about these exciting plants in my next blog post.) Here’s what their website says about Flame Bush:
“Adenanthos cuneatus ‘Coral Drift’ (Flame Bush) – A low-growing shrub to 2 to 4 feet tall by 3 to 5 feet wide with wedge-shaped silver-gray leaves that flush bright pink when in new growth and small red flowers with green at their base. The species is a common coastal plant along the south coast of Western Australia and this selection was made for its outstandingly bright pink new growth and compact low spreading habit. Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil. Drought tolerant once established. Though a coastal species, it has been grown in England since 1824 and is listed as hardy to winter temperatures – we speculate that it will likely prove hardy to at least 15 to 20 degrees F. A nice low plant for a rock garden or in a mixed mediterranean climate garden – very useful in beachside conditions.” Also described here as evergreen and deer tolerant.
San Marcos Growers’ have a well-known track record of providing the most interesting, climate-adapted and diverse plants that are sturdy and long lasting, and that I can purchase at a local nursery. With its rounded form and medium size, I think it would echo the rounded form of the boulders in my garden and make an attractive companion to the more delicate succulents or ephemeral perennials in my garden. Can you imagine how pretty it could look as under-story shrub under the canopy of the Desert Bird of Paradise?
Randy showed many more exciting drought resistant plants suitable to many different landscape styles, and I’ll continue to list them in my next blog post; keep looking out for it!