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Digging Dog Nursery
a retail and mail order
plant nursery specializing in
unusual and hard to find
perennials, ornamental grasses,
shrubs, trees, and vines.
31101 Middle Ridge Rd.
Albion, CA 95410
Fall & Winter Hours:
Tues. 8:30am – 1pm
web site by
at Digging Dog
Including Calluna varieties October White, Martha Herman, Corbett’s Red, Red Star, and Flamingo
Callunas’ tiny, scalelike leaves range from deepest green to silver, gold and bronze, with some changing color after a frost. Flowering from mid-to-late summer in cool whites, pinks and purples, the small, bell-shaped flowers are frozen in graceful repose on one-sided spikes. Heathers are marvelous fresh or dried.
View a slideshow of plant images from this genus
Once you witness the blazing intensity of this bushy mat-forming beauty there’s no disputing its name. Summer paints sun-kissed gold and orange shades on dense needle-shaped foliage bejeweled with late blooming soft lavender-colored flowers, while frosty nights imbue radiant dark crimson reds to heat up the coldest winter day. ‘Blazeaway’ can be massed near Calluna ‘Firefly’ and Calluna ‘Wickwar Flame’ and juxtaposed against the dark greenery of Erica ‘Purple Beauty’ for a fulgent quiltlike spectacle.
Size: 12" high x 15"–18" wide; hardy to zone 4.
Calluna vulgaris ‘Blazeaway’ (S-0755)
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Named for the Oregon nursery where it originated, this reliable American cultivar offers striking crimson flowers that nearly obscure its low mound of handsome greenery. ‘Corbett’s Red’ is a compact, spreading Heather whose richly hued blooms can be partnered with Spiraea ‘Ogon’.
Size: 12" high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 4.
Calluna vulgaris ‘Corbett’s Red’ (S-0601)
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With full bodied colors similar to a fine Pinot Noir, this enticing beauty queen flaunts the darkest hued flower of all Callunas. Deep red buds reveal showy and plentiful, semi-double dark cherry blooms that shade to ruby amid a good-looking, compact darkly green silhouette.
Earning Holland’s prestigious Gold Medal award, ‘Dark Beauty’ will beckon you to her side whether she’s poised in the rockery, along a pathway or in a container.
Size: 8"–10" high x 14"–16" wide; hardy to zone 4.
Calluna vulgaris ‘Dark Beauty’ (S-0654)
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Renowned for entertaining the richest, most vibrant brick-red foliage, ‘Firefly’ never fails to snap us out of a gray, winter-day funk. Splendid warm shades ranging from salmon to terracotta imbue the foliage the rest of the year, while deep mauve flowers festoon its upright, compact frame in late summer.
Awarded Britain’s coveted AGM award, this vividly colored heather merits a choice niche in your garden.
Size: 18"–20" high wide; hardy to zone 4.
AVAILABLE JANUARY 2015
Calluna vulgaris ‘Firefly’ (S-0653)
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Welcoming spring, young growing tips dress up with striking pink and fiery red hues that look resplendent against the more mature dark green foliage. Lavender-colored flowers make a late summer appearance and extend this upright cultivar’s lively display of color.
Size: 12" high x 20" wide; hardy to zone 4.
Calluna vulgaris ‘Flamingo’ (S-0437)
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Without a doubt, this AGM winner plays host to the most lovely double white flowers in the genus. Slowly opening, tiny buds reveal long, downward curving frosty blooms, illuminating the fine textured, bright green foliage that possesses a mounding habit, and in winter, bronze dipped tips.
Blooms July – August.
Size: 16" high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 4.
Calluna vulgaris ‘Kinlochruel’ (S-0008)
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Forming a dense low mat of showy bright green foliage, ‘Martha Herman’ is outstanding as a foil or accent with other Heathers and Heaths. Snow white flowers and horizontal spread are the icing on the cake. A real find!
Size: 12" high x 2-1/2' wide; hardy to zone 4.
Calluna vulgaris ‘Martha Herman’ (S-0009)
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Offering a clean and classic look out in the garden, this Calluna’s frosty white spires are highly valued by florists inside as well. Later to flower than most Heathers, the elegant fall blooms are showcased against handsome deep green foliage on upright branches. Counterpose its pert stance with
Acaena saccaticupula’s low-lying, silvery blue leaves.
Size: 16" high x 18" wide; hardy to zone 4.
Calluna vulgaris ‘October White’ (S-0576)
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Distinctive for its opulent finery, 'Red Star' flashes
deep purplish red double blooms on long upright
flower spikes near summer's end, earning this attractive
somewhat open growing Calluna its name. Tiny dapper
leaves craft a dark forest green foil that offsets the vivid
blossoms and counterposes lime and golden-leafed
Heathers, such as Calluna vulgaris 'Blazeaway' to great effect.
Size: 12"–18" high x 18"–2' wide; hardy to zone 4.
Calluna vulgaris ‘Red Star’ (S-0769)
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Heralding handsome woolly gray foliage throughout the year, this knightly cultivar is yet another J. W. Sparkes introduction. Colder weather paints violet tinges on the leaves, while late summer finds upright branches studded with purple flowers near the tips. Plant ‘Silver Knight’ amid deep green companions such as Calluna vulgaris ‘Dark Beauty’ and Erica ‘Rackliff’ and a captivating contrast is yours to enjoy.
Blooms August – September.
Size: 20" high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 4.
Calluna vulgaris ‘Silver Knight’ (S-0180)
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Bursting with lush growth in spring, ‘Sister Anne’s gray-green foliage contrasts nicely with its shell pink flowers. A winter chill will add a hint of purple to the foliage. This Heather is a dense mounding ground cover for lining walks or filling rocky nooks.
Size: 6" high x 18" wide; hardy to zone 4.
Calluna vulgaris ‘Sister Anne’ (S-0011)
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New foliage growth blazes orange-yellow, maturing to deep green, with medium pink flower spikes on a loosely mounding form.
Size: 20" high x 2-1/2' wide; hardy to zone 4.
Calluna vulgaris ‘Spring Torch’ (S-0013)
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Way back in 1938, a Miss Isabel Young, who was nicknamed Tib, happened upon this exceptional Heather in Scotland’s Pentland Hills. Unparalleled as a cut flower, either fresh or dried, the splendid rosy crimson double blooms, borne on long, erect slender stems, festoon a compact bushy mound of fine textured dark green foliage.
Eventually winning a coveted AGM, ‘Tib’ has withstood the test of time and promises to be a champion in your garden, especially when juxtaposed against the contrasting foliage of other Callunas such as Calluna ‘Firefly’ and Calluna ‘Sister Anne’.
Blooms July – September.
Size: 18"–2' high x 2'–2-1/2' wide; hardy to zone 4.
Calluna vulgaris ‘Tib’ (S-0711)
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With so many upright and horizontal stems, this Heather has an especially wild appearance in its youth. When it matures, however, it develops into a dense, tight mound of unusual foliage: burnt orange-yellow on the upper half and lime-green below, where it is protected from the sun.
During the winter months the color intensifies, making the shrub appear almost as though it’s on fire. During the summer, the color spectrum is extended with lavender- pink flowers blooming along the upper portion of the stems.
Blooms late July–August.
Size: 15" high x 2-1/2' wide; hardy to zone 4.
Calluna vulgaris ‘Wickwar Flame’ (S-0177)
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A delightful melding of warm colors, ‘Winter Chocolate’ is a year-round standout in our Heather garden. Radiantly cloaked with chartreuse, chocolate and golden hues for winter, spring's new growth brings creamy salmon red tips. As the days grow longer, the foliage coloring broadens to a pleasing range of oranges, pinks and yellows, toned by bright greens. As if this isn’t enough, soft lavender blossoms just about smother the plant in late summer.
Blooms August – October.
Size: 12"–20" high x 18"–2' wide; hardy to zone 4.
Calluna vulgaris ‘Winter Chocolate’ (S-0470)
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Give the Gift that keeps on Growing!
Special Offers from The Digging Dogs for Shopping Online & at the Nursery
Order a $50.00 minimum of plants described in our Holiday Collection to receive 10% off your purchase. Plus, we’ll wrap them in silver & tie them with a bow for FREE!
15% Discount on purchases of $100 or more for any plants listed on our website or available here at the nursery!
15% Discount on Gift Certificates of $100 or more. That’s $100 worth of plants for only $85! (Purchase one for yourself... cash it in on your Spring 2015 order!)
For discounts, place code “Holiday2014” in the Comment Box on the online order form; for gift-wrap, place code “Gift-wrap” in the Comment Box.
If you wish to receive your order by Christmas:
California orders must be received no later than Sunday, December 21 to be delivered by December 24!
For all other States, plant orders must be received no later than Monday, December 15, to be delivered by December 24!
Sale dates are November 25 thru December 29, with the last ship date being December 30th, 2014.
Digging Dog’s Holiday Collection
This year’s seasonal, gift-quality offerings feature an eclectic array of horticultural treasures that promise a little something for everyone, sure to delight those gardeners on your gift list. Our selection of grasses, perennials and shrubs can be showcased in diverse garden settings across the country. Most are easily cultivated, many oblige a wide variety of growing conditions and all of them are in some way outstanding. We wish you a happy holiday season!
- Asphodeline lutea
Native to the eastern Mediterranean, this clumping member of the Lily family greets spring with intriguing spirals of tightly wrapped bladelike foliage, patterned like green candy canes. Emerging from blue-hued grassy tufts, these leafy flowering spikes soon become dense with fragrant citron-yellow, star-shaped blooms, which look striking in drifts beside Omphalodes ‘Cherry Ingram’ and Euphorbia ‘Jade Dragon’. Zoë was the first to discover the hard, marble-sized, green fruit that appears after the flowers fade. Hardy to zone 6. (p-0361)
- Astelia chathamica ‘Silver Spear’
Silvery and swordlike, the stiff foliage grows in clumps and bears some resemblance to a Yucca. Highlighted with subtle bands in many shades of muted green and silver, the broad reflective leaves will make a dramatic presentation in your favorite container, or try planting Astelia as a specimen with Muhlenbergia rigens and Salvia melissodora in the rockery. Hailing from New Zealand, this unusual member of the Lily family prefers well drained soil. Hardy to zone 8. (P-0718)
- Aster lateriflorus ‘Lady in Black’
Shrouded in mysterious tiny black-purple foliage, ‘Lady in Black’ offers sprays of small white flowers with a healthy blush of pink. Unlike ‘Prince’s tight clumping habit, this tall and elegant Dutch lady has spreading upright stems that spread over time. Hardy to zone 4. (p-0700)
- Cyclamen hederifolium ‘Rose Pearls’
Fanciful, pretty-in-pink flowers dress up this Cyclamen’s marbled, glistening greenery. Interplant ‘Rose Pearls’ with the white blooming Cyclamen hederifolium and a marvelous autumn vignette is yours for the viewing. Hardy to zone 5. (p-1207)
Cyclamen hederifolium ‘Rose Pearls’
- Cyclamen hederifolium ‘Silver Leaf Pink’
With dainty pink blooms poised above, a silver effulgence splashes across the surface of each polished, prominently veined leaf in a unique fashion, sometimes concealing any sign of greenery, while rich wine hues warm the undersides. Place ‘Silver Leaf Pink’ beneath Elaeagnus ‘Quicksilver’ to enhance the elegant frosty display. Hardy to zone 5. (P-1559)
- Cyclamen hederifolium ‘White Pearls’
The pristine white nodding flowers gracing this hederifolium cultivar show like comets against the deep green and very decoratively patterned foliage. ‘White Pearls’ serves as a clean and classy understory for Carpenteria ‘Elizabeth’. Hardy to zone 5. (P-1206)
- Dianthus ‘Inchmery’
A study in delicacy, this fragrant shell pink double blossom harmonizes with the blues of Nepeta and Lavender, or with yellows. Hosted atop bluish tumps, the buds that appear in May are a joy in their own right, long and linear, revealing a deep maroon stripe around each base.
Hardy to zone 5. (p-0057)
- Dianthus ‘Mendlesham Frilly’
Aptly named, ‘Frilly’s semidouble flowers are just that, bright pink with fringed petals and a dainty look. Sue and Peter Russell of Mills Farm Plants in England bred this cultivar as one of their highly successful ‘Mendlesham Series’, a group of Dianthus selected for neat, compact form, demure appearance, intense fragrance, and repeat bloom. Hardy to zone 5. (p-0739)
- Eucomis ‘Toffee’
With bronzy merlot-colored undulating margins, the olive-green swordlike foliage shows off reddish toffee-shaded linear streaks on top, while curious burgundy stipples and striations mark the undersides. The warm-looking, somewhat erect rosette gets a cheerful lift when staunch flower stalks transform into pastel columns of star-shaped rosy pink flowers topped by leafy forelocks. Zone 7/8. (p-1450)
- Euphorbia amygaloides ‘Ruby Glow’
A gorgeous medley of deep burgundy, bronzy maroon and ruby red suffuses this Euphorbia’s head turning foliage. Cresting a well-groomed base defined by plush evergreen leaves and sturdy stems, plentiful ebullient chartreuse blooms provide vivid contrast. Compact, hardy and downright irresistible ‘Ruby Glow’ can be nestled near the front of the border, along a pathway or showcased in a patio container. (uspp#22,200) Hardy to zone 6. (P-1724)
Euphorbia amygaloides ‘Ruby Glow’
- Gunnera tinctoria
Everything about this amazing Chilean native is BIG! A super-sized perennial of prehistoric-looking, gargantuan magnitude, Gunnera tinctoria projects a bold, dignified persona.
Palmately lobed leaves with toothed and frilled margins unfurl to 5 ft. across atop thick edible stalks that emerge from underground rhizomes, rich in tannins. Launching a large cob-shaped inflorescence inhabited by tiny rusty red flowers, the enormous domed mound adds sheer mass and a coarse stiff texture to the landscape.
Although the Chilean Rhubarb sulks in high summer humidity, it is undemanding and quick to establish in moist areas, given A LOT of room and winter protection for the crowns. Hardy to zone 7. (P-1317)
- Helleborus niger ‘HGC Jonas’
Promising early winter floral magic, this superbly bred selection boasts a luminous bevy of yellow-stamened crisp white petals atop burgundy stems. Defined by 7 petals, as opposed to the usual 5, and a light green or blush pink coloration as they age, full forward-facing flowers rise from dark green toothed leaves that shape a lustrous evergreen foil. Perfect for holiday decorating, ‘Jonas’ can be enjoyed in bouquets, in a lightly shaded mixed planting or a magnificent container specimen on the patio. Hardy to zone 5. (P-1806)
- Helleborus x nigersmithii ‘Ivory Prince’
Also known as Helleborus x nigersmithii ‘Walhelivor’. With dark dusky pink buds and outward facing, easy-to-view ivory-petaled blooms, this vigorous Lenten Rose is aptly named. Innovated by the truly gifted English breeder David Tristram, and vegetatively propagated, ‘Ivory Prince’s exquisite flowers reveal a subtle infusion of colors, from soft green and antique rose on the inside to earthy plum hues on the exterior. Sturdy wine-tinted stems and princely, deep green leatherlike foliage marked by light prominent veining and toothed margins maintain a pleasing evergreen presence all year long.(PPAF) Hardy to zone 5. (p-1325)
Helleborus x nigersmithii ‘Ivory Prince’
- Heuchera ‘Blackout’
Smooth ultra dark foliage, burnished with a gemlike luster, is this Heuchera’s stylish signature. Celebrating more vigor and more black than those of its dark rival, Heuchera ’Obsidian’. Elegant lobed leaves fashion a compact mound, which offsets urn-shaped creamy white flowers. ’Blackout’ is a mysterious midnight-hued springboard for golden grasses, yellow-leafed perennials, Japanese Painted ferns and silvery Pulmonarias. (pp#25,280) Hardy to zone 4. (P-1636)
- Melianthus major
Big, bold, blue and architectural pretty much sums up the fantastic posture of this quick growing South African native. Deeply divided in an exotic feather-like fashion, the glaucous steely blue-green leaflets are sharply toothed, while gracefully curving downward. Erect and thick gray-green stems host the highly textured foliage that can grow up to 18 in. long and makes an enduring addition to arrangements. Elevated above the tropical-style foundation, intriguing one ft. long terminal spikes showcase deep brick-red bracts with green stamens, later followed by ornamental papery seed pods.Evergreen in warmer climates and choice for a container in colder areas, the Honey Bush grows into a spreading subshrub, sculpting a dramatic specimen if given room to move, average moisture, well drained soil and a heavy winter mulch. Hardy to zone 9. (P-0894)
- Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’
Licorice-black, ¼ in. wide, spidery blades, delicate, bell-shaped purplish white flowers on dark spikes, and shiny bluish black fruit are all good reasons to invite this versatile perennial into your garden. The ebony-colored evergreen tufts with newly emerging green leaves can be dramatically juxtaposed against golden Carex elata ‘Aurea’ or Athyrium niponicum pictum’s silver flushed fronds. Nestled in between rocks, along pathways, near water or en masse as an easy going ground cover, Black Mondo Grass competes well with other plant roots, and favors well drained soil, periodic trimming and filtered sun.
Hardy to zone 6. (P-1475)
- Primula capitata ssp. mooreana
Native to the coniferous forests of Tibet and southwestern China, Primula capitata was once used to cure headaches and please the palette in thick soups and rice. This species is named for its blue-violet, pincushionlike flowers that open face down in early spring. We plant it by paths or steps in shady rock gardens so that we can sit and look at the silvery powder on the green stems. It can take full sun, but only if planted in a moist loam or boggy location. Hardy to zone 5. (P-0212)
- Saxifraga stolonifera ‘Maroon Beauty’
Named for its slender strawberry-like red runners and flashy maroon undersides, this colonizing Saxifraga hosts intricately etched evergreen rosettes of thick rounded gray-green leaves with scalloped margins, silver hairs and pewter veins. Rising above the low growing velvet soft mat, wispy 5-petaled pink-tinged white flowers are loosely arranged on delicate 18 in. stalks. Appreciative of shade and evenly moist well-drained soil, ‘Maroon Beauty’ lends enchanting accents to the woodlands, rockery or a small container. Hardy to zone 7. (P-1819)
Helleborus, Primula, and Saxifraga
- Selinum wallichianum
This refined Himalayan beauty happens to be one of our favorite perennial umbellifers. With untold elegance, infinitely divided leaves craft a delicate, lacelike transparency. The compact yet airy green canopy is framed by distinctive, purple-infused branching stems that elevate a charming, late season display of white flattened umbels.
Subduing the riotous array of summertime blooms, it seldom needs staking, appreciates a well draining moist niche and can be sited amid Filipendula rubra ‘Venusta’ and Echinacea Big Sky ‘Sunrise’. Hardy to zone 7. (p-1406)
- Yucca dismetiana ‘Blue Boy’
Dressed in gray icy greens and powder blues with a dusky purple overlay, this handsome pastel-hued treasure exhibits a tough disposition. Rigid evergreen leaves with sharp pointed tips and fine-toothed margins craft a rounded barrel-like rosette that develops slowly, its amethyst coloration intensifying as the weather heats up. Waxy white pendulous flowers draped on stout panicles deliver late summer sparkle.
Unfazed by mettlesome deer, drought, moisture and humidity, ‘Blue Boy’ can harmonize with Melianthus ‘Antonow’s Blue’ and Festuca ‘Superba’. Zone 7/8. (P-1495)
Yucca dismetiana ‘Blue Boy’
- Yucca filamentosa ‘Color Guard’
Touted as one of the most attractive variegated Yuccas available, this Japanese cultivar’s stiff spiky foliage comprises a mesmerizing close set, evergreen rosette. Achieving an added luster when long, curly white margin fibers seem to capture the moonlight, each spine-tipped leaf is etched by celadon green margins and a bold, creamy gold central stripe, which becomes brighter in mid summer. ’Color Guard’s imposing silhouette can stand alone, be juxtaposed with Plectranthus ’Longwood Silver’s soft felted foliage or be planted en masse. Hardy to zone 5. (P-1781)
- Carex oshimensis ‘Gold Strike’
Arching upward and out, this Carex’s lush foliage is elegant. A glinting cascade of refined, evergreen blades presents dark green margins with broad, alabaster-colored central stripes that mature to creamy yellow. Languishing if it’s too hot, slow spreading ‘Gold Strike’ thrives in moist, well drained sites, and makes a bold statement when its densely set, variegated tussocks are planted in a meandering swath amidst Pulmonaria ‘Benediction’ or Epimediums. Hardy to zone 6. (G-0461)
Carex oshimensis ‘Gold Strike’
- Carex tenuiculmis
New Zealand Sedge
A cozy fusion of colors—from dark chocolate and cappuccino to reddish bronze—distinguish this fine textured evergreen sedge. Whether positioned in a border, cascading over a wall or embellishing a container, the long and narrow, arching foliage fashions a loosely arranged, graceful mound whose rich warm tones juxtapose green and golden leafage to great affect. Carex tenuiculmis favors moist soil, and can be brought inside wherever it’s not winter hardy. Hardy to zone 7. (G-0471)
- Berberis thunbergii ‘Concorde’
Concorde Japanese Barberry
Draped in deep maroon velvety purple foliage, this splendid diminutive shrub maintains a dense rounded slow growing profile. Small bell-shaped yellow flowers, enhanced by warmly colored sepals, sparkle against opulent deciduous leaves, eventually giving way to a wintertime showing of bright red berries. Perfectly sized for edging, responsive to pruning and unyielding to deer or drought, ‘Concorde’ is a refined and easily maintained contender for containers, border frontage, low hedges and knot gardens, especially when paired with silver and green companions. Hardy to zone 4.
- Callicarpa dichotoma ‘Early Amethyst’
A beacon for the fall border, this deciduous Korean species is considered by many to be the most refined Beautyberry, and its boldly hued early September fruit occurs well before other varieties. Small and shiny, rounded berry clusters achieve an astonishing, almost electric lavender hue. Flowers are delicate, diminutive and pink, quietly dressing up its handsome, very green leaf mass and gracefully rounded form.
‘Early Amethyst’ prefers well drained soil, tolerates some drought, appreciates a late winter pruning and produces more fruit when planted in groups.
Hardy to zone 5. (S-0587)
- Cordyline australis ‘Red Star’
Bold, bronzed and tropical-themed, ’Red Star’s long sword-shaped dark burgundy blades are applauded as the most handsome and the hardiest of the red-foliaged Cordylines. Endemic to New Zealand and eastern Australia, this winning palm-styled evergreen slowly forges an upright half-hardy vigorous frame that premiers large panicles of small sweetly perfumed flowers. Cabbage Palm’s year-round drama can be staged as a water-wise focal point for a dry garden or ample-sized container, where it appreciates light shade with occasional water during intense heat and shelter from harsh winter weather.
Zone 8/9. (S-0770)
- Correa ‘Dusky Bells’
Red Australian Fuchsia
Sprinkled amongst waxy green leaves, ‘Dusky Bells’s pendulous red tubular flowers, dressed in chartreuse calyxes and flared tips, become one of winter’s more endearing attractions. The dainty long lasting blooms appear in autumn and persist through early spring, luring both gardeners and hummingbirds alike.
Whether utilized as a low mounding specimen in a large vessel or as a tidy evergreen ground cover for banks, hillsides or other tough spots, the Red Australian Fuchsia favors good drainage and light shade where it’s hot. This densely branched shrub is undaunted by deer, ocean frontage, poor rocky sites, and occasional drought. Affiliate with other steadfast companions like Ceanothus ‘Concha’ and Stipa arundinacea.
Hardy to zone 9. (S-0735)
Correa ‘Dusky Bells’
- Erica cinerea ‘C. D. Eason’
Distinctive for its deep green, fine textured foliage and pleasing form, this summer blooming Erica was named in honor of the man who discovered it—Australian born Charles Eason. Very tiny short needles and slender branches make an ideal foil for the freely borne, dense clusters of glowing dark pink flowers. Hardy to zone 5.
- Erica cinerea ‘Purple Beauty’
It was a British couple, Mr. and Mrs. Letts, whose keen eyes first noted this summer flowering beauty in the wilds of Cornwall and later introduced it. Ample-sized, more than abundant and long blooming, the luminous amethyst flowers sparkle like jewels upon the vigorous dark green needlelike foliage that defines ‘Purple Beauty’s exquisite, low bushy habit. Hardy to zone 5. (S-0471)
- Hebe recurva
Shrouded in hushed gray-greens, Hebe recurva’s rounded visage conveys its composed character. A bushy array of glaucous, sickle-shaped narrow leaves, whose tips curve downward, elegantly garbs the red-tinged, slender stems and come summer, broadcasts infinite, snowy white Veronica-like spikes. One of the hardiest Hebes, this cool-colored shrub will easily fit in any garden, and looks especially alluring when sited amid Geranium lancastriense and Helianthemum ‘St. Mary’s’. Hardy to zone 8. (S-0629)
- Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Alice’
We have Mike Dirr to thank for this vigorous selection. Tall and fast growing, ‘Alice’ displays large, very delicate, lacy looking white flower heads, and the show continues when the broad green oak-shaped leaves turn deep carmine in autumn. For contrast, try planting an understory of Persicaria ‘Red Dragon’. Hardy to zone 5. (S-0323)
Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Alice’
- Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Snow Queen’
Though its name might make you think otherwise, this shrub is a showcase of earth tones. Its 8 in. long panicles of white flowers, which later take on a pinkish hue, stand out like snow against the beautiful cinnamon-brown, exfoliating bark and the large dark green Oak-like leaves that turn reddish purple in autumn.
Hardy and undemanding, ’Snow Queen’ offers a fantastic fall display full of similar colors and contrasting forms when matched with Panicum ‘Warrior’. Hardy to zone 5. (S-0201)
- Lavandula ‘Richard Gray’
With the hardiness of its angustifolia parentage and the soft-looking leaves of a lanata, ‘Richard Gray’ is a choice hybrid which bears medium blue-violet flowers on stems just a foot above the attractive, compact mound of silver-gray foliage. Hardy to zone 5. (S-0329)
- Leucothoe fontanesiana ‘Rainbow’
An elegant arching Pieris relative, this elaborately variegated cultivar originated at the famed British nursery, Hillier’s as a chance seedling, while the species, first introduced in 1793, hails from the southeastern U.S. Living up to its name, ’Rainbow’ celebrates a carousel of color: pinkish copper-hued new growth, rosy red stems and long leathery pointed evergreen leaves, which are irregularly streaked, speckled and mottled in green, cream and ivory. Bell-style crisp white flowers held by drooping clusters, blue berries and plum-colored wintertime foliage are the icing on the cake. Appreciative of regular watering and well-drained organic-rich acidic soil, the deer resistant Fetterbush makes a stunning focal point or mass planting, embellishing mixed borders, house foundations, hedges and even cut arrangements.
Hardy to zone 5. (S-0777)
Leucothoe fontanesiana ‘Rainbow’
- Mahonia gracilipes
A 1980 British introduction by noted plantsman Roy Lancaster, this rare, widely praised Chinese native features dapper dark green leaves, flashing bright white undersides and dainty reddish pink cupped flowers with creamy yellow centers. Poised in airy splendor on lax slender racemes, the eye-catching blooms precede a plentiful display of large, bloomy blue-black fruit.
Mahonia gracilipes is a stellar and sturdy, slow growing evergreen, which favors partial shade in moist well drained, humus-rich soil. Hardy to zone 7.
- Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Arp’
That’s Arp, Texas, where one ol’ specimen is still growing strong at 80. An upright shrub with gray-green foliage and light blue flowers, ‘Arp’ is most at home inland, where it opens outward in the heat; on the coast its habit is more compact, but still handsome. Hardy to zone 8. (S-0060)
- Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Madeline Hill’
Dubbed for the renown herbal enthusiast from Texas, ‘Madeline Hill’ is not only a good-looking tough cookie hardy to below 0°, but she’s a savory delight as well. Intensely fragrant, rich green needlelike leaves, which are broader than ‘Arp’s cloak her robust, pale green upright stems. Wielding a not-too-tall bushy frame, this well branched Rosemary is generously sprinkled with dainty light blue flowers.
Hardy to zone 6. (S-0700)
- Santolina chamaecyparissus var. nana
Botanicals first mentioned Santolina in 1550, when its dense filigree foliage and white felted stems made it the star player of that Elizabethan rage, the formal knot garden. This dwarf cultivar presents golden yellow button flowers borne profusely on a tight evergreen mound of aromatic silver-gray. It’s deer and pest proof, extremely drought tolerant, and is still the perfect choice for edging the herb garden or tucking into the rockery or a small sunny nook. Hardy to zone 6. (S-0579)
- Teucrium fruticans (Select Form)
Surprisingly light on its feet, this handsome ‘Select Form’ is smaller and more compact than Teucrium fruticans. Periwinkle-blue flowers embellish the downy white stems and gray-green, evergreen foliage which displays contrasting silver-gray undersides. Extremely durable, tolerating drought, wind and salt spray, this silvery mound makes an alluring backdrop for Muhlenbergia rigens.
Hardy to zone 8. (S-0156)
Teucrium fruticans (Select Form)
- Viburnum plicatum f tomentosum ‘Summer Snowflake’
The most exceptional attribute of this deciduous Viburnum is its horizontal growth habit, featuring flowers and fruit in parallel rows along the branches. Distinguished by a smaller stature, and foliage that’s not quite as large as Viburnum ‘Shasta’, ‘Summer Snowflake’ maintains a more rounded form and blooms well into summer with an extravagant offering of pure white lacecap flowers. It’s lovely in containers, grouped in a drift, or as a star specimen. Hardy to zone 5. (S-0075)
Current Staff’s Favorite Plant
Erica’s dainty urn-shaped flowers add sparkling detail at this dreary time of year, while Calluna’s fine textured ever green foliage maintains a tailored often colorful year-round appearance.
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