This is another spring blooming delight, Orchid Rockrose, Cistus x purpureus. Although this is a native Mediterranean drought tolerant shrub, something about it reminds me of an English country garden.
Former neighbors of mine had several one gallon Orchid Rockrose shrubs left over from a landscape installation, and asked me if I would like them. Not familiar with the Orchid Rockrose at the time, I boldly mass planted them in an informal hedge, in a sunny dry spot on our property. Besides a beautiful informal hedge, this shrub is suitable for rock gardens, fire-prone areas, erosion-control, and natural settings.
The hedge has grown to about 4' high x 4' wide. It blooms in the spring for about a month with 3" deep pink "happy face" flowers. Each flower has a deep burgundy spot at the base of each petal, with a yellow-orange yolk center. Their flower is very distinctive, and friends always ask me the name of this shrub.
When Orchid Rockrose is not demonstrating its showy bloom, its dark green evergreen foliage continues to please. It is an easy shrub to care for, thrives in full sun, requires little water, and grows quickly in poor soil and adverse conditions such as high heat, winds, and ocean salt air. It does not like a lot of pruning as a mature shrub, but can be top-tipped for fullness, and pruned easily as a young shrub.
It grows well in zones 6-9, and 14-24. There are a number of different species within the Cistus family, with different flower colors, and characteristics in appearance. You can find the Orchid Rockrose shrub in local Southern California nurseries, and online, too. Be sure and start with a small container size, and adequate spacing, as it grows quickly.
If you are looking for a low maintenance, drought tolerant shrub, you might consider the versatile and showy, Orchid Rockrose.