Posts tagged drought tolerant shrub
Flashy Flannel Bush

A friend of mine gave me a cutting of what I know now is Fremontodendron, Fremontia, or Flannel Bush. I planted it in a corner of my garden against my brown woodland stucco wall, and basically forgotten about it until now. However, this spring-blooming evergreen shrub with its brilliant yellow starfish-shaped flowers, won't allow this plant to be a wallflower anymore.

The Flannel Bush is a native shrub to California and some parts of Arizona, within optimum Zones 4-24. It is a shrub, but can be shaped into a small tree by pruning its lower branches. It is a fast-growing plant, which can reach up to 20' tall and 12' wide. It naturally has an irregular shape, so it benefits by pinching young growth to encourage new branching and shaping by pruning unruly long shoots.

The Flannel Bush likes full sun, and no additional water. It thrives with the average annual rainfall it receives in its native habitat. It is extremely drought tolerant. It has shallow roots, which means young plants may need to be staked. It can be a short lived shrub, and some fellow gardeners consider it a bit finicky to grow. It is a low maintenance shrub.

If you have yellow in your garden color palette, or need a spark of yellow at times in your garden, you might want to plant a Flannel Bush. Plant it, leave it be, and wait for its wonderful spring awakening with its dark green foliage and rich lemon yellow flowers. This is what is blooming in my garden right now.

Please share if you have a Flannel Bush in your garden. Please comment on your experience growing a Flannel Bush.

VintageGardenGal Tidbit Thyme...

Attention Chicken Lovers! Spruce up your chicken coop for VintageGardenGal's Annual Chicken Coop Photo Contest. Send in your photos this coming May!

Encinitas Garden Festival is Saturday, April 30, 2011. For more detailed information and tickets, please visit Encinitas Garden Festival.



Blue in the Garden

Profusion of Bloom What is blooming in my garden now. My Ceanothus, or California's wild lilac. Sometimes it is hard to find pretty  shades of blue colors for your garden. Usually blooming in late winter or early spring, the Ceanothus heralds "spring is coming."  This drought tolerant California native is delightful. I always look forward to its profuse blue blooms in my garden each year.

Ceanothus, an evergreen shrub, comes in many varieties, shapes, and blue color flower spikes. Some Ceanothus varieties are low and spreading, others are shrubby and bushy, and like my Ceanothus Ray Hartman, some have a tendency to grow upright and can be groomed into small trees. Flower colors range from pale blues to deep dark violet blues. There is even a Ceanothus with white blooms. Each variety has its own unique color. Their spike-blooms are showy and long-lived.

Ceanothus are very easy to care for and generally low maintenance shrubs. Ceanothus like full sun, and very little water. Avoid when planting Ceanothus, drip irrigation, summer water, and soil amendments. As a California native they prefer to be dry, and rely on our natural rainfall. Prune discreetly after their bloom time.

Don't be afraid to get "Blue in the Garden," think of  the dramatic Ceanothus. They thrive in zones 5-9, 14-24. You won't be disappointed. Please share if you have Ceanothus in your garden. Please comment on your favorite Ceanothus.


VintageGardenGal Tidbit Thyme....

On Friday, March 18 at 4:00 p.m., national partners (Plant A Row for the Hungry, Garden Writers Association, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, Keep America Beautiful, National Gardening Association and Franklin Park Conservatory) will join Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in the dedication of a series of reading, learning and community gardens in East Los Angeles. The installation event is part of the recently launched GRO1000 gardening and green spaces initiative and helps to kick off Keep Los Angeles Beautiful's Great American Cleanup.

This garden event will be held at the Proyecto Pastoral Community Center in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of East Los Angeles, 135 North Mission Road, Los Angeles. Approximately 200 area students, as well as members of the Guadalupe Homeless Project, will join Mayor Villaraigosa and GRO1000 national and local partners in the garden installation and dedication. One deserving student at the event will also be presented with the national Give Back To Gro Youth Gardener Award.

GRO1000 is a partnership committed to the establishment of 1,000 community gardens and green spaces over the next seven years throughout the United States and abroad. The initiative seeks to broaden the opportunities for individuals and communities to experience the benefits of community gardening and access to green spaces.

Additionally, community organizations interested in participating in GRO1000, by installing their own community garden, edible garden or green space, are able to apply for a GRO1000 Grassroots Grant by visiting Projects should include the involvement of neighborhood residents and foster a sense of community spirit. Interested organizations have until March 31, at midnight EST, to apply.

May is for Matilija Poppy

Happy Matilija Poppy One of my favorite shrubs is the  perennial garden beauty, Matilija Poppy, Romneya coulteri. It blooms in May and seems to "smile sunshine" with its huge whimsical "fried egg-like" flowers sitting atop gray-green lobed foliage. It is wise to have ample room for Matilija Poppy in your garden as it can reach 6-8' tall, and spread easily if unchecked by rhizomes over a large area. When it blooms in my garden, I'm reminded it is late spring and the onset of summer is fast approaching.

The Matilija Poppy is native to coastal ranges and valleys of Southern California and into Baja California. It likes full sun and survives on scant to moderate watering.  This shrub can tolerate many types of soils. The Matilija Poppy thrives in zones 4-12, 14-24. Matilija Poppies are simple maintenance, needing a pruning close to the ground in late summer to early fall, and restraint  from summer watering to keep its growth curbed. Slowly they begin to grow through the fall and winter, and suddenly in May, burst into bloom with their gigantic flowers.

Best places to plant your Matilija Poppy in your garden or property is as a structure and backdrop shrub, along a fence line, along roadsides, and when planting a large border or natural area. Ironically, it is a little tricky to start them initially in your garden, but once established they easily can take over. In fact, it took me three times, before I successfully established my Matilija Poppies. Start your Matilija Poppy from 1 gallon size plants from your local nursery, or from rooted suckers on spreading roots from a friend's garden. If you have Matilija Poppies growing in your garden, you will gladly want to share them with your friends.

Matilija Poppy's flowers are big, bold, and full of character in your garden. Matilija Poppies can be used as as a cut flower, too.  As a cut flower, be aware that it has a tendency to drop dust from its golden stamens and  an occasional white petal.

Please share if you are familiar with the Matilija Poppy.  If you grow them in your garden, please share how you curb their enthusiastic runners.

VintageGardenGal Tidbit Thyme....

Remember to send in a photo of your chicken coop this month to, Submit your winning chicken coop photo this month, May 2010, and be a part of  VintageGardenGal's premier backyard "Chicken Coop Photo Contest." Winners will be announced in June 2010, and their photos shared on VintageGardenGal.

Orchid Rockrose Shrub

Close Up of Blooming Orchid Rockrose 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.

  Orchid Rockrose Hedge

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.