Guides: Coastal Garden
Native to Japan, Hydrangea macrophylla (Big Leaf Hydrangea) is one of the most popular hydrangeas in our gardens. This deciduous shrub features a rounded habit, large bold leaves and attractive clusters of long-blooming summer flowers. The species is divided into two groups: the Mophead Hydrangeas with large rounded flower heads, mostly packed with showy sterile florets, and the Lacecap Hydrangeas with flattened flower clusters composed of showy sterile florets radiating around a central cluster of tiny fertile florets.
Attractive, Sea Holly plants (Eryngium) are striking ornamental perennials grown for their arresting, thistle-like, silvery or blue tinted flower heads adorned with a ruff of showy bracts. Blooming in summer and sometimes into fall, they are useful in rock gardens, coastal gardens and in borders where their steel blue flowers and foliage complement the vibrantly colored summer flowers.
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese Barberry) is a compact, woody shrub with arching, slender, zig-zag branches bearing a single, sharp spine at each node below each rosette of leaves. The wedge-shaped leaves are untoothed, slightly blue-green to green to dark reddish purple, and borne in whorls or clusters. Some Japanese Barberry cultivars are spectacular additions to the landscape where they bring a strong color accent from spring to fall.
Fuchsias are not so fragile beauties. Some are quite hardy and can withstand temperatures down to -10ºF (-23ºC) and grow in USDA Hardiness Zones 6. They are useful in permanent plantings, adding vibrant pockets of summer color and showing up particularly well against dark evergreen shrubs. They are perfect to light up a dull, shady border.
Native to Mexico and Central America, Echeverias are regarded by many as one of the most beautiful succulents. Evergreen, they form attractive rosettes of fleshy leaves and often resemble plum-petaled roses, waterlilies or ruffled lettuce. There are dozens of species, and hundreds of cultivars offering a wide array of colors, sizes or leaf shapes.
Ceanothus, commonly known as California Lilac, offers almost everything a gardener could wish for in a shrub: free-flowering, lovely foliage, ease of cultivation, drought and salt tolerance. Fast growing, these desirable shrubs draw attention with their stunning blue, white or pink flowers. When a California Lilac bursts into bloom, it is a breathtaking sight to behold.
Robust and hardy, Ipheion (Spring Starflower) are small bulbous perennials with lovely star-shaped, sweet violet scented flowers borne on long slender scapes in mid to late spring. Blooming for up to 8 weeks, the dainty blossoms rise atop a cushion of narrow, pale, delicate and grass-like leaves. Regarded to be one of the easiest bulbs to grow
Among the most spectacular summer flowers, Fuchsias are outstanding garden plants with their continuous display of ravishing, dancing blossoms, dangling in clusters like prize jewels. Often blooming from late spring until the first frosts, they are available in a wide range of colors, from luscious pinks and purples to whites and even peach.
Native to the southern United States, Mexico, the Caribbean and northern South America, Agaves are evergreen succulents with handsome rosettes of usually thick, rigid, fleshy leaves with marginal teeth and often a sharp terminal spine. They exist in a wide range of sizes, colors and offer an amazing array of leaf shapes.
Extremely showy, Veronicastrum virginicum (Culver's Root) introduces elegant vertical lines to the borders with its long spikes of densely-clustered, tiny flowers from summer to fall. With a candelabra look, these attractive inflorescences, in shades of white, blue, pink and purple, are nicely complemented by lanceolate, dark-green leaves that are arranged in whorls around the stem.
Mostly native to the Canary Islands off the west coast of North Africa, Aeoniums are fascinating evergreen succulents with irresistible rosettes of fleshy, pinwheel leaves. Attractive when not blooming, they are particularly striking with their bright racemes of small, star-shaped flowers.
Adding drama and powerful structure to the landscape, Miscanthus sinensis (Chinese Silver Grass) are fabulous ornamental grasses that should have a spot in any garden. Traditionally used in Japan in decorative art and gardens, Miscanthus made a royal entrance into occidental gardens about a century ago, thanks to the spectacular feathery plumes towering above their graceful arching foliage and their year-long interest in the garden.
Kniphofias, commonly known as Torch Lilies or Red Hot Pokers, always make a bold statement in the garden with their brilliant show of bright-colored, dense, erect spikes resembling glowing pokers or torches. Blooming from late spring to early fall, depending on the varieties, their stately flowers are noted for their long-lasting display of reds, oranges, yellows or creams, adding eye-catching splashes of color to any border.
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