D

Dahlia hybrids    fields of flowers    bouquet at Becky's    deciduous tubers. Plants vary in height from 1’ to 4-5’ with equal spread. The varieties we raise are strictly from division, offering much longer lasting flowers and longer blooming season than seedling strains. We offer both compact border types as well as the taller, medium and large flowering garden and cutting types. In fact, almost all can make good cut flowers, the rare exceptions are those that  aren't used for such. Central and South America. Compositae/Asteraceae.

'Bonne Esperance'   flowers  little rose pink daisy flowers, with yellow centers, against a very compact garden plant. Has a long, heavy flower show. Charming for containers or in landscapes. Grows to about 15-18" tall and wide. Sun or part shade.  rev 7/2014

'Karmas'    Corona Red    a bright star of intense red, 4" across, to add a spark to your garden! Strong stems rise above dark colored leaves about 3" tall. Wonderful cut flowers. Blooms into fall. Average watering. rev 5/2016

'Mystics'     Desire      Dreamer    Enchantment     Fantasy     Haze    Illusion   Memories   Spirit     Wonder   very dark, almost black foliage, intermediate height, medium flower size, some singles, mostly semidoubles. I really like the flowers displayed against these dramatic leaves! rev 5/2015

Daphne 'Eternal Fragrance' PP18361    fragrance boquet  here it is! Small pink buds open to clusters of dainty white flowers and a heavenly, sweet fragrance, not only in spring but reblooming throughout the year! "We can't grow enough of it, people are just crazy for it," says our ex-intern Joe Kerin, now back at his family's nursery in Tasmania. This hybrid shows steady, bushy growth to 2-3' makes it an ideal subject for containers, hedges, or any sunny to part shade location. Not fussy about soil, average watering. Hardy to USDA 6. Thymelaceae. rev 4/2015 

Dasylirion    yucca-like plants from the dry Southwestern regions, with rather grassy leaves and often toothed margins. They will take desert region levels of sun, reflected heat, and drought. All are very dramatic in containers or used near rocks. They all need good to excellent drainage and tend to rot off in the winter in cold, wet winter climates or in heavy soils. See notes for  Yucca rostrata. Mexico. Liliaceae. rev 2/2011

longissimum     concave center   Santa Cruz garden    Huntington Botanic Garden    UC Berkeley Botanic Gardens    according to our seed source, this "D. quandrangulatum form" represents most of what is sold in the trade, being relatively more robust and greener than its rarer, slimmer, greyer "D. treleasei form." Both into a very grassy, yucca-like plant that very slowly forms a trunk and may someday reach 10’ tall. Usually it is seen as a rounded, trunkless rosette of arching, wiry, dark green leaves 1/4" wide by 3-6’ long or more. It makes a stunning, impressive, interesting focal point plant that greatly resembles  Xanthorrhoea, the Australian Grass Trees. (If the clump forms a very narrow, indented cone of young leaves at the top, it is Dasylirion. If the leaves immediately grow to full length, and the center of the rosette is tall, it is Xanthorrhea.)You can use it in place of a fountain, it provides some of the constant motion effect of water. Sun to part shade, little or no summer watering, probably hardy to at least 10°F. rev 2/2011

Davallia trichomanoides    SQUIRREL’S FOOT FERN    nursery containers    a somewhat tender evergreen fern for patios, containers, or as house plants. Furry rhizomes creep slowly outward. Small, dark green, triangular fronds are tripinnate (finely divided), grow to 6" long. Excellent in hanging baskets. Shade, ample watering, no frost. This Eastern Asian native is also sometimes classified as D. mariesii v. stenolepis. rev 10/2003

Delosperma  HARDY ICEPLANT   about 100 species of succulents, closely related to Mesembryanthemum but acting as perennials instead of annuals. East and South Africa. Aizoaceae/Mesembryanthemaceae. rev 7/2017

cooperi   HARDY PURPLE ICEPLANT,  PINK CARPET    shield your eyes     long-lasting, eye-straining, violet purple flowers, with small, contrasting white centers, provide months of titillating,  scintillating, iridescent color, blooming from mid-spring through early to mid-fall. Grows as a compact, eventually shortly mounding, spreading evergreen groundcover, dense enough to exclude weeds. Sun to some shade, average to good drainage, modest to very little summer watering when established. Foliage becomes reddish or burgundy-tinted with cold, foliage is evergreen to about 20F. However this was originally collected from high elevation in the Drakensburg Mountains of the Cape Region and there are reports of it coming back from the roots after -20F (USDA zone 4). South Africa. To about 6" tall, sometime mounding higher with age. Previously commonly known as Mesembramthemum cooperi. rev 7/2017  *New for 2017!*

davyi   WHITE HARDY ICEPLANT  tiny leaves   minute foliage, just as minute white flowers during long days. Very frost hardy, a good specimen for small containers or between stepping stones, etc. With cool weather it picks up burgundy tones on the leaves, becoming almost completely burgundy in cold, sunny positions. This is a high elevation plant from South Africa. Sunset all zones/USDA zone 5. Mesembryanthemaceae/Aizoaceae. rev 9/2012 

'Jewels of the Desert' series    Amethyst    Garnet    Grenade    Moonstone    Ruby    Topaz   trailing plants, described as "carpeting" in trade publications, reach only 4-6" tall by 8-10" across and produce their dazzling, intensely colored flowers from spring until frost (obligate, or facultative long-day?). They like a slightly acidic, well-drained soil, moderate to very little watering, and full to half-day sun. Best suited for containers, indoors or out. Hardy to USDA zone 5, but probably only in the ground. rev 6/2016

Dendrobium kingianum  outdoor plant, Watsonville    flower detail   this is a smaller species of orchid that can be grown outside in the warmer parts of Northern California. They need appriximately the same amount of sun, water, fertilizer, and protection from frost as Cymbidiums, and can easily be grown anywhere you see those being raised. They flower in midwinter, bearing short spikes of rosy pink flowers that have an intensely sweet fragrance at night. A single large container plant can scent a backyard, or drive you out of your house if you bring it inside. They don't like any direct frost, but our plants are progeny from a single, very large plant in a 10" container that survived (barely), unprotected, the 19F freeze in Santa Cruz in December, 1990. It grows happily with at least half a day of direct sunlight, monthly feeding with soluble fertilizer (full strength Miracle-Gro or equivalent) and watering a couple to several times a week. Pot into cymbidium bark (finest grind) if possible, or the finest orchid mix available, when it outgrows its container, which it will do in a year or two. Pull plants off the tips of the old growths, or divide your clump up after flowering and spread them around. Along with Cymbidiums and the reed-stemmed Epidendrums, this is the easiest orchid for Californians to grow. Orchidaceae. rec 8/2010

Dendrocalamus   a genus of tropical to subtropical, mostly enormous, spectacular clumping timber bamboos, and the genus to which the largest species in the world belong (D. sinicus, D. giganteus). Except for some hardier strains of D. asper, these are all for Southern California only, unless they have extraordinarily good winter protection. Graminae/Poaceae. rev 11/2010

hamiltonii  fuzzy young clump at Quail Botanic Garden, Encinitas   young buds    culm detail   luxuriant foliage   a proper giant, to 50-80', culms to 7", and leaves to 15". Wants sun, overall warmth, moisture, rich soil, and space. Culms have a modest powdery white coating when young. Can be used for timber, can be used for food. This plant is so rare, selling them makes me want to cry. Limited to areas where winter temps stay above 27F. Sunset zones 21-24/USDA zone 10. rev 11/2010

jianshuiensis  YUNNAN TIMBER BAMBOO  best Quail BG clump    Maya, Armita and Cecep with another at Quail    more Quail    culm detail    joint roots   new bud   leaves   not too difficult, just "jian - shwee - ensis." Much like D. hamiltonii, but with closely furry new culms when young, more conspicuous aerial roots at the nodes, and a broader spreading habit. In particular the outer culms quickly head off at a distinct angle, whereas in D. hamiltonii they are more strictly vertical. It is also a smaller plant, to about 50' and with culms to 5". I'm crying over this one too. It is even rarer. Limited to areas where winter temps stay above 27F. Sunset zones 21-24/USDA zone 10. rev 11/2010

Deschampsia flexuosa 'Tatra Gold'   what it does   fine blades, bright gold most of the year, stays under 2' tall and clumps. Beautiful texture for a part shade to shady spot with moist, well drained soil. Soft bronze flowers in summer. Evergreen. Nice in mixed containers, with water features, and interesting rocks. Sunset zones 1-24/USDA 4. rev 1/2014-Suzy Brooks 

Dianella  grassy, clumping to slow running rhizomatous perennials. Native to Australia and New Zealand, they range from little, cute and compact to big (3') robust and spreading. They are evergreen and mostly drought tolerant. Some have really showy flowers or striking berries. Generally these need either part or full shade except along the foggy coastal areas where they will do fine in full sun. Liliaceae or Phormiaceae. rev 11/2012

caerulea 'Becca' PPAF   a clumping to slowly running species, distinguished by moderately broad green leaves to 2-3' tall and a truly nice display of clouds of blue flowers above the foliage in early summer. Shiny blue berries follow and are quite noticeable and attractive, they are sold commercially for use in arrangements. This selection is greener and less vertical in habit than a species form we received from Huntington Botanic Gardens. It will take intermittent winter saturation, clay or sandy soils, and is evergreen down to about 25F. Sun to part shade, average to infrequent watering. Sunset zones 5, 8-9, 14-24/USDA zones 8b. rev 2/2013 

'Cassa Blue' PP 17998   flowers of species   wider leaves and better color than the species. Upright foliage to 16" tall is a wonderful, powdery turqouise blue. I like blue. This is a great accent plant, but remember it stays mostly upright, so large scale groundcover plantings will need to be done tightly. It looks really awesome in quantity, though, and might represent the mythical "drought tolerant blue Carex." rev 10/2011 

'Little Becca' PP18452    young foliage  a great little low maintenance plant, forming a dense clump of green, grassy leaves, with an attractive, glossy, bluish cast, to about 1-2' tall and wide. The main feature is the foliage effect, backed up by the late spring wands of starry blue flowers, which form a very showy display 2' above the leaves. These mature to very nice, showy, bright blue berries. Takes heat, sun, shade, clay or sandy soils, and not much but some watering once established. Spreads slowly by underground rhizomes. Effective as an accent plant but also terrific massed as a very tall lawn sub, in parkways or strips, pots, or especially used as a mostly dry shade groundcover. Evergreen to about 25F but capable of taking colder temps by going deciduous. Sunset zones 5-9, 14-24/USDA 7 or 8b. rev 2/2013

ensifolia ("tasmanica") ‘Variegata’    planting   this was sold to us for years, and therefore by us for years, as a selection of D. tasmanica, the tough, relatively cold and drought hardy Australian species. But when I saw it all over Borneo, and Java, and Bali, and Sulawesi, and Singapore, that's when I knew something was wrong. If you have ever been to any of those places you know how deeply and wonderfully tropical they are. Eventually we were able to discern it is a selection of the closely related D. ensifolia, which is still tough, but not as tough as D. tasmanica, nor as drought hardy, nor as cold hardy. But tis is currently the best variegated form of any Dianella species out there though, as it grows a wide, clean white stripe along the edges of the leaves, with fainter lines running in the centers. It is a good, vigorous grower in spite of the heavy variegation. The flowers are a subdued steely blue and the berries, which set poorly compared to D. tasmanica, and are a respectable pale blue but not the  deep, intense blue of its sistre, so this is almost a pure foliage plant. This variety is used as a substitute for Phormium in shady spots and mixed foliage containers. It has proven hardy to around 20F in Santa Cruz and may go lower, but again its tropical distribution leads me to not expect it to be as durable as the southern Australian species and forms. It will obviously take heat and humidity better though. USDA zone 9/Sunset zones 9,15-17, 21-24. rev 6/2014

revoluta 'Baby Bliss' PPAF
   nice crop    one of a number of selections of this fine species, this one distinguished by its wonderful steely to chalky blue foliage and compact, relatively short upright growth. Flowers are typical airy, open clusters of tiny, periwinkle blue stars, with yellow anthers, and fruits are small, shiny, deep blue dots seemingly floating in midair. Use this for its wonderful foliage color and habit and wonderful show of fruit in late summer. It spreads slowly by short stolons to form colonies. The species is widely distributed across Australia, in latitude, longitude, elevation, and environment,  and is highly variable. This is one of the best forms, being really blue and all, and seeing as how I like blue plants, I like this too. To 18" tall by 12" wide. Sun to part shade, probably hardy to 20-15F and evergreen most of the way. Sunset zones 7-9, 14-24/USDA zone 9? 8a? rev 8/2007 

tasmanica    flowers    courtyard planting    dense groundcover at Quail Botanic Garden    commercial planting    striking blue berries    a clumping grass-like plant to 30" tall with rather broad, very dark green foliage. Spreads slowly by underground stolons, usually acting as a clump although I have received one complaint from a gardener who said it took over a well watered area of a garden in Southern California, and another from a customer with a similar situation in my Santa Cruz area. Limit either resource and growth seems to be much more limited. Spikes of light blue flowers produce dark, metallic blue berries which are retained through summer and fall. The fruits are quite noticeable and showy, the flowers are small, muted in color, and open scattered over a long period of time and so are not. They have variously been reported as being edible and are used as “bush tucker” in small quantities mixed with other wild foods (D. caerulea and three other species), as being mildly toxic (D. tasmanica, irritant, as well as other unnamed species responsible for dizziness in humans and more severe poisoning in livestock), and as being blamed for one fatality in New Zealand (D. intermedia). Until more is known the fruit should be avoided, but do not appear to be highly toxic. Sun to part shade, little or no summer watering when established, hardy to around 20°F. This is a very tough plant that Dick Dunmire of Sunset pointed out has excellent application in dry, dark shade, and I have seen it growing as a Eucalyptus understory plant in its native southeastern Australia. The leaves, flowers, and berries can all be used in cut arrangements. It blooms under short days and begins in November. Reported grown as cold as USDA zone 7 (North Carolina, Washington), where it is a deciduous perennial. It makes a tough, durable container plant if you are looking for linear blue green foliage in a difficult shady situation. Evergreen USDA zone 9, Sunset zones 8-9, 14-24. rev 11/2010

'Destiny' PP19338   young plants     this is a very nicely variegated form of the true D. tasmanica, as opposed to the more common variegated form of D. ensifolia masquerading under that name. They each have their strengths, this one's is cold hardiness and summer drought tolerance. To about 14" tall, takes coastal sun or part shade, needs/tolerates average to very little summer watering. USDA 9/Sunset 8-9, 14-24. rev 4/2015-Suzy Brooks
 

'Tasred' PP18,737   nursery plants    a form selected and offered by Versascapes that has redder leaf bases and is much more compact than the regular species. The foliage also has a more horizontal habit. To about 18-20" tall. rev 2/2010
 
"Variegata"   see D. ensifolia 'Variegata,' above.

'Yellow Stripe'    foliage    flowers    bright golden yellow against green. Another superior variegated subject for diverse use. In contrast to many other variegated forms this one has quite showy blue berries, which are a knockout against the yellow toned leaves. It shows more much more green than its white-striped cousin, and is a correspondingly more vigorous grower. rev 10/2007 

Dianthus  CARNATIONS, PINKS   compact, usually blue to grey foliaged, often long blooming, mostly easy. They are light on watering needs but like good drainage. Lots to like in this group, especially if you have a favorite rock they can display against, or a classy container to hold them. Caryophyllaceae. rev 5/2012

There are hundreds, quite possibly thousands of Dianthus and carnation hybrids. It is easy to be completely overwhelmed by the variety, or to just give up and consider them to be mostly the same, and just pick based on color. But as professional growers, gardeners and plant enthusiasts we have come to recognize a few critical points that separate the varieties, and we strive to hit as many of the Six Heavenly Pearls of Quality as possible:

flower color - better be good, zoning is always nice.
fragrance - pretty much a must-have nowadays. Stronger is better, can always be stronger.
foliage color - so many excellent blue-greys and grey-greens, not much reason to settle for simple green unless that is exactly the color you want.
foliage quality - has to be disease free. With our foggy climate and commercial watering schedule, we sort most of this out for you. If a variety is prone to mildew or leaf spot you won't even see us offering it. And it will be compact and attractive unless it is redeemed by a wildly attractive or novel flower.
repeat bloom - harder to find,  lots of room for improvement here. Many showy, fragrant selections want to bloom just once. We prefer to see color through the growing season, or at least repeat in fall.
forgiving to grow - who has time for picky plants? Also should not require really long, cold winters to vernalize properly. Should cut back gracefully and resprout easily.

allwoodi 'Streakin' Helen'   flowers   the original 'Helen' is one of the best Dianthus ever invented (1948), with classic, fully double salmon pink flowers, intense clove-allspice fragrance, clean blue foliage, and repeat blooming performance. I first learned about it from epic plantsman, expert grower and former Piedmnot retail nurseryman Bob Barnhart, a real rock garden perennial expert and first class mentor. I have found over the years that most of Bob's favorites have become my favorites as well, and for the same reasons. This is a variant with dark red streaks punctuating the normal, pure salmon, double flowers. Makes a good cut flower and is outstanding in containers. Forms a tidy mound 10-12" tall and wide. All Sunset zones/USDA 4. rev 5/2012

allwoodii 'Frosty Fire'     flower close up   small, compact, evergreen blue grey to grey green foliage, fragrant single ruby red flowers that can rebloom through fall. Has a good reputation for heat resistance. Sunset all zone/USDA zone 4. rev 11/2012 

barbatus 'Heart Attack'   flower cluster   a Sweet William that proves to be reliably perennial with very dark, "black"red flowers. Forms a basal clump of pointy green leaves that become so dark burgundy in full sun they appear alomst black, with flower stems bearing those incredible flowers rising above in spring and summer. Long lasting in bouquets. Sun or part shade, average water. Sunset zones 1-11, 14-24/USDA 5.  rev 4/2012 

barbatus Sweet series    Sweet Red    Sweet Scarlet   Sweet Purple Bicolor   strong stems on fragrant, brightly colored flowers, adding some height to the garden and long lasting blooms for bouquets. 18-36" tall, they are cut-and-come-again wonders. Now available are Scarlet and Red. Easy to grow, low maintenance. For sun with average watering. Nice in containers too. Sunset zones 1-24/USDA 6. rev 4/2013-Suzy Brooks 

'Blushing Maiden'  blush pink   see Devon Cottage

'Butterfly Dark Red'  flower  another in that fabulous series of non-stop SuperTrouper bloomers, loaded with fragrance and charm. Dark red flowers have even darker red mottling in the petals. 8-10" of greenish blue leaves make an evergreen mound until you cut it back to give it a breather in the winter. Sun or part shade. Average water. Sunset zones 1-24/USDA 5. rev 5/2011

'Can Can Scarlet'   nice red flower!   welcome the long stemmed carnation back to the garden! Cast off because of untidy habits and floppiness, this one comes in a compact habit but with strong, cut-flower-quality stems to 18-20" lnog. The flowers are double, intense scarlet red, with old fashioned, spicy fragrance. Grassy grey green foliage is evergreen. Winner of the Fleuroselect Gold Medal and a 2003 AAS award winner too! Sunset zones 1-24/USDA 5. rev 8/2011-Suzy Brooks

caryophyllus 'Chomley Farran'   amazing flower   double, dark lavender and red, tie-dyed flowers on 15" stems make a unique and fragrant bouquet. Long blue grey to grey green leaves form a tidy clump. Sun or part shade. Average water. Sunset zones 1-24/USDA 5. rev 10/2010

'Coconut Surprise'  PP18828  flowers  a beautiful little form, short and stout, with double 'coconut' white flowers with a red 'surprise' center. Fragrant and long blooming, way into fall, with grassy, blue green foliage. Grows to 8-12" tall and wide. Sun or part shade. A delight just about anywhere in the garden. Sunset zones 1-24/USDA 5. rev 4/2011

'Cosmic Swirl Pink'   tie-dyed   double flowers streaked with pink and white rise from a tidy mound of grey green leaves to 16" tall. Charming addition to the garden or pots, in groups or as accents. Attracts butterflies, makes a  lovely cut flower, and has a slight fragrance. Sun or part shade, average watering. All Sunset zones/USDA 6. rev 4/2014-Suzy Brooks 

'Cosmic Swirl Red'    cosmicly swirling tie-dye flowers   swirls and streaks of red and white dance across the face of these flowers and make sparkling bouquets, dazzling container plants and add fragrance to the garden. About 16" tall and reblooming, they are at home in sun or part shade with average watering. Foliage makes a clump of blue grey leaves. Easy to grow, trim off faded flowers for more blooms. Sunset zones 1-24/USDA 5. rev 3/2012-Suzy Brooks

'Cranberry Ice' PP18342   flower    single petals, fimbriated at the edge and trimmed in cranberry red, then pink then cranberry again in the center. Tall flower stalks, to about 6-8", produce clouds of flowers above blue grey to grey white leaves. Daylength neutral, so very long blooming if cut back after bloom. Sunset zones 3-9, 14-24/ USDA zone 5. rev 3/2010

'Dainty Dame'  flowers  a single white, with a clean burgundy red zone in the center, blooming heavily and with a strong scent of cloves. Late spring to early summer bloom and will repeat if groomed. Low growing, with blue grey foliage to about 6" tall. A winner. Sunset zones 1-24/USDA zone 5?  rev 11/2009 

Devon Cottage Series   compact growth, silver blue to grey green foliage, double flowers, highly fragrant, superior garden durability and flowering performance. rev 4/2012

'Blushing Maiden'  blush pink  light salmon pink fading to blush.
'Fancy Knickers'  
elegant   large flowers up to 2" across, loaded with fragrance, and stems long enough for cutting. Starts blooming in spring and doesn't quit until the weather gets cold in the fall. Grows into a nice, tidy mound about 10-12" tall and wide. A carefree, evergreen perennial for sun or part shade with average watering. Sunset zones 1-24/USDA 5.  rev 3/2011
'Rosie Cheeks'  flowers   large pink flowers all over an evergreen mound of silvery green foliage, 10-14" tall.  rev 3/2011
'Ruby's Tuesday'  gorgeous   dark red flowers in copious amounts, 10-14" tall.  rev 3/2011

'Eastern Star'  flowers   a tight, compact grower to 4-8" tall, bearing 1" wide single flowers, intense clear red with a maroon band at the center, and with a strong clove/carnation fragrance. This is a great rebloomer, going from March through October and still offering its great grey green foliage over winter. Sunset zones 2-9, 14-17, 21-24/USDA zone 4 rev 5/2010

'Everlast' series    colors   Burgundy Blush    a new (2013 intro) series from Selecta/Ball with fragrant double flowers blooming spring into early summer, then again late summer into fall as night temperatures fall. In coastal California, including the Bay Area and Delta, and close to the water in Southern California you can assume these will continue budding right through long days. To about 12" tall and wide, glaucous grey-green foliage. The current four colors include lavender and lilac, both with dark eyes, white with a pink center, and orchid. Perennial, for borders and containers. Sun, average watering, far more cold hardy than we will ever need. Sunset zones 1-24/USDA 4. rev 4/2013 

'Fancy Knickers'  elegant   see Devon Cottage

'Fire Star' PP14895  flowers  a perky little compact tuft of blue white foliage with very large, single deep true red flowers held about 4" above the foliage. Flowers can reach 1 1/2" across and feature a darker maroon zone in the center. It is part of the 'Star' series and besides a great, intense carnation scent it is truly daylength neutral and can bloom all year. Flower production will be strongest spring and fall and ebb somewhat during cold, short days though. Typical growing conditions. Wonderful in small pots or with other elements. Sunset zones 3-9, 14-24/ USDA zone 5. rev 3/2010

'Kahori'   why you grow it    nice Pack Trials planters   we've seen this several years at Pack Trials, and been impressed every time. It has the most striking neon pink flowers, a great habit, and flowers from spring right through until fall. And that color is so hot your eye is repeatedly drawn back to it. What's not to like? Full sun, average watering, makes a great small container too. rev 9/2012 

'Neon Star'  flowers  another compact little gem, with neon pink flowers against grey green leaves. Short, to about 5-6" tall. rev 3/2010

'Olivia'   wow   like the porcine storybook character (???-LM), this little perennial is lively and charming. Red and white flowers cover the green foliage in a mound 6-8" tall wide. Cool season bloomer. A bold sparkle in containers or dotted in the garden. Sun or part shade, average watering. Sunset zones 1-24/USDA 5. 10/2013-Suzy Brooks 

'Peppermint Star' PP20369   flowers   add sparkle to your pots or flower beds with this bright, single lavender flower with a dark pink eye. Vigorous and reblooming, it also has a spicy fragrance. About 8" tall and twice as wide, give it sun or part shade and average watering. An evergreen mound of grey foliage that looks great in groups, containers or lining a walk. All Sunset zones/USDA 5. rev 1/2013-Suzy Brooks 

'Pop Star' PP18222  fine foliage and a compact plant, only 7" tall with flowers, which are very frilly edged, lavender pink with a dark eye and spicy scented. A beauty in groups, containers, along a path, or in a border. Repeat bloomer, into fall with deadheading. Makes the cutest little bouquets! Needs well drained soil and can get along with little watering once established. Sun or part shade. Sunset zones 1-24/USDA 5. rev 5/2012-Suzy Brooks 

'Raspberry Surprise' PP16029  flowers  compact, blue grey foliage, double pink flowers are salmon pink with a darker raspberry zone in the center. Has a strong carnation scent, really nice! Great in containers, in with rocks, wherever you like it. rev 2/2010

'Raspberry Swirl'  first flowers  a relatively compact clumper, blue grey leaves, with arching sprays of single flowers, light pink with a stark, broad black maroon zone in the middle. Wonderful fragrance! To about 12" tall.  rev 2/2010

'Red Beauty'  flowers  small, very compact, silvery leaves and appropriately proportioned, deep red, zoned flowers with a spicy fragrance. Only 5-7" tall, adorable in groups or a masses. Sunset zones 1-24/USDA 4. rev 4/2012-Suzy Brooks 

'Rosie Cheeks'  flowers   see Devon Cottage

'Ruby's Tuesday'  gorgeous   see Devon Cottage

'Scent First Tickled Pink'  PP14919   powerfully fragrant flowers  a noseful of spicy fragrance and dark lavender, semi-double flowers on strong stems attract butterflies to your garden and make nice bouquets. Long blooming if old flowers are trimmed off, spring through fall. About 12" tall and wide. Just right for containers, edging, in the herb or vegetable garden or planted in groups in the border. Sun or part shade, average to little watering once established. Sunset zones 1-24/USDA 5. rev 3/2012-Suzy Brooks

'Shooting Star'  PP16431  cute little rose pink flowers  another new variety that just keeps blooming and blooming. Magenta pink flowers are displayed above grey green foliage that reaches about 7" tall. Easy to grow and fragrant. Sun or part shade. Use it in pots, along walkways, and in the herb garden. Sunset zones 1-24/USDA 5. rev 4/2011

'Starlette'   can you smell the vanilla and cinnamon fragrance?  from England comes a real beauty with frilly double raspberry pink flowers with a darker center. A repeat bloomer with terrific spicy fragrance and blue green leaves growing about 6-7" tall and wide. Use it in borders, along walkways, in pots, and as a cut flower. Sun or part shade, good drainage, and average watering. All Sunset zones/USDA 4. rev 3/2012-Suzy Brooks

Diascia 'Flirtation'®  TWINSPUR, BRIDE'S SADDLE  Flirtation Pink  typical compact growth (12" tall), typical endless clouds of bloom. Bicolor flowers are dark rose pink on the reverse, light pink on the face. Cute! Sun to part shade, average watering, best used as a very long annual, short perennial, or very best used as a somewhat longer lived container or combo element plant. Sunset zones 5-9, 14-24/USDA zone 7 (or annual). Genus is native to South Africa. rev 10/2009

Dicentra  BLEEDING HEARTS  deciduous or evergreen perennials grown for their pendant flowers and often striking foliage. Domesticated varieties prefer part shade. Fumariaceae. rev 6/2011

'Burning Hearts' PP 20,797  flowering  this spectacular sterile hybrid is finally available at a reasonable cost. It bears dark, intense rosy red flowers on short stalks against almost blue grey to almost blue white foliage. In addition it produces a modestly strong fragrance somewhere between Grape Crush and bubble bath. And if it never flowered it would still be be worth growing for its frosty blue foliage alone. It is not a tall grower in our climate, certainly under 8" total height, and spreads a little wider. Mature plants begin flowering about April and will continue sporadically through summer. Better and more vigorous with a reasonable amount of chill (500 hours?) but will survive on less. Probably good in Sunset zones 1-8, 14-16/USDA 3. rev 4/2012

‘Luxuriant’    closeup    a wonderful hybrid, featuring low, light glaucous green foliage and spikes of dark rose pink to rose red flowers well displayed from spring through late summer. A choice selection, tolerant of mild winters and almost everblooming through the growing season. Nice for its wonderful blue green leaves as well as its flowers. rev 4/2012

spectabilis    closeup    very closeup    very large leaves and looooooong horizontal flower spikes which are held well above the foliage. Deep rose pink and white flowers are also somewhat larger than other varieties. This species needs a long period of vernalization to be successful in the  garden. Japan. rev 4/2012

‘Alba’    closeup    pure white flowers. Same cultural conditions rev 4/2012

Dichondra argentea 'Silver Falls'    SILVER PONYFOOT, ALUMINUM VINE, SILVER NICKEL VINE   at Evelyn Weidener's   at Blue Bamboo Nursery    at Luis'  house   this is a trailing perennial groundcover from the American Southwest desert (Western Texas, Arizona, etc.) with a downright pendant habit. This silvery selection is grown for its shimmering foliage. It makes a striking specimen used by itself (as a featured container plant or hanging basket) and is of course a natural for mixed combos. It receives little water in its natural habitat and can get many feet across in the ground, rooting in as it goes, but it is going to want good drainage, full sun, and some degree of heat. In containers it needs average watering or less. It only grows under long day conditions. Sunset zone 5-9, 14-24/USDA zone 9. Convolvulaceae. rev 6/2006 

sericea   SILVERLEAF PONYFOOT    Spring Trials HB specimen     a more southerly-distributed relative of D. argentea, differentiated by larger leaves (to over 1" across), a more evergreen habit in winter and some minute taxonomic differences. Will take 25F before burning back, but won't tolerate as cold a climate as the reliably-dormant D. argentea. During the growing season it's foliage is even lusher and more silvery though. At least part sun, average watering, most soils, great in baskets or anywhere it can let it all hang out. USDA zone 9/Sunset 8-9, 14-24. Central and South America. rev 9/2015 

Dichroa febrifuga    commercial landscape    closeup    winter foliage    striking blue berries   a Hydrangea relative that has smaller harder, more formal looking deep blue green and evergreen foliage, and rather modest fertile flower heads whose flower color changes according to soil conditions (pink-violet-blue). It likes part sun to shade, rich soil, regular to infrequent watering, and mulch. It looks especially good in formal, woodsy landscapes but it can be used almost anywhere. Under the right conditions the flowers can be quite a striking blue. They set very showy iridescent dark blue berries that are held from late summer through winter. It even continues blooming well through winter in our climate, with blue flowers set against foliage turned a healthy purple black by near-freezing night temperatures, a most attractive combination. To about 4' tall and wide. USDA zone 8/Sunset zones 8-9, 14-24. Apparently most plants in cultivation derive from a single collection from China. Southeast Asia. Hydrangeaceae. rev 3/2006 

Dicksonia    TREE FERN    one of two common encountered species of tree ferns in California (the other is Cyathea), this genus tends to retain its stipe bases against the trunks. Dicksonia antarctica is the hardiest tree fern commonly available. See additional notes under Cyathea.

antarctica    SOFT TREE FERN, TASMANIAN TREE FERN    soft fronds    cleaned and naturally skirted, UC Berkeley Botanic Garden    commercial planting    row planting    natural stand under Eucalyptus    fine brown fur on croziers    the Fern Dell at Golden Gate Park    another fine commercial example    new fronds    happy, Paradise Park   to 15’ tall in cultivation, to about 40' tall and 400 years old in the wild in very protected situations. Bears a dense crown of light to medium green tripinnate (finely divided) fronds to 10’ long. The scientific name is misleading since it isn't found in Antarctica, and as far as the “Tasmanian” common name is concerned it is actually found throughout southeastern Australia, not just island of Tasmania. A short, tough segment of stipe (frond stem) remains attached to the robust, almost black trunk after the fronds dehisce, probably the easiest way for beginning tree fern enthusiasts to distinguish this species from the more gracile C. cooperi (see notes there, especially on cultural tips), which drops its fronds cleanly to leave an oval scar. The trunks are substantially thicker than  C. cooperi, up to a foot thick. This is the hardiest of the tree ferns commonly found in the trade in California, surviving 20°F often without damage, except that the fronds may be deciduous. This species is often encountered growing in thick  Eucalyptus groves in Australia, including heavily littered stands of E. globulus, and will tolerate the secondary compounds that usually stunt other plants. It grows best in shade to part sun, with regular watering, although plants will take relatively dry conditions when established. It is at its best growing under trees, with even diffuse light coming in from all directions and some wind protection from the trunks and overhead canopies. The fuzz from the frond stems is particularly obnoxious in this species and care should be taken to avoid getting it on sensitive skin and especially from getting into the eyes, where it can be quite dangerous. Australia. Cyatheaceae.

     The fronds of this species are held in a relatively upright position, especially if planted against a building or when supplied with light from predominately one direction. When growing in forests in nature it often has a much more horizontal habit, and dead fronds are often retained as a very ornamental skirt below the current season's growth. At higher elevations, populations often show many individuals whose fronds droop substantially with the onset of winter, probably as an adaptation to shedding snow. Some variation of frond habit can be seen in mixed plantings in cultivation. Some individuals are also of considerably smaller stature than others, a feature that would be quite a useful trait if it could be selected for.

     This is one of the very few species of tree ferns which will reroot if cut off above ground level. The cut trunks can be potted up in a nice, moist potting soil and if generously watered along the stem as well in the soil, and kept in a protected, shady, moist site, they will establish and grow with a reasonable degree of success. No guarantees, however. The cut trunk base WILL NOT begin growing again and if you landscaper tells you it will, fire him or her, hopefully BEFORE he or she has sawed it off to “shorten” it, as I have sadly seen done many, many times.

     Like most tree ferns, the growth cycle is rather seasonal. The previous year's fronds are retained until new growth pushes and hardens in spring, although some fronds can be produced at almost any time, and fronds can last more than one year. While mature  C. cooperi crowns often have no more than seven to ten fronds, large specimens of  D. antarctica can have in excess of eighty. For more information on tree ferns in general, see Ian Barclay's The Cold Hardy Tree Fern Web Page (link is here). Ian's excellent work and general tree fern enthusiasm has inspired me to attempt to expand our inventory of species, no easy task since there are no ready commercial sources of young plants. rev 3/2004

Didelta 'Dawn'  container  this is probably just a selection of the species carnea, which grows across a range of habitats in the form of various subspecies. One form grows as a a tight, silvery, hummocky mound to about 12-15" tall by 2-3' across or more, along the coastal strand of South Africa. Others are smaller, and inhabit the Namib Desert or Namaqualand. In many ways it acts like Osteospermum as far as flowering cycle, initiating buds under cool conditions. It needs little or no summer water, tolerates heat and light well with its furry white, leathery, semi-succulent foliage, and bears single, dark golden yellow flowers to about 2" across from late winter through early summer, or whenever it starts to get hot. It makes a nice silvery-cottony white statement even with no flowers. Figure frost to about 20-25F, likes at least average drainage, and likes its summers on the dry side. Expect it to go green in any amount of shade. Compositae/Asteraceae. rev 5/2010

Dietes vegeta    FORTNIGHT LILY    closeup    mature clump    clumping evergreen rhizomatous perennial bears dark green, iris-like foliage to 30" tall. Bears white flowers marked purple in the center on stalks to 3’ tall. This plant appears to be completely resistant to gophers, from my experience. Upright and evergreen, forming a clump to 2' tall and increasing slowly but inexorably outwards unless pick-axed and shoveled back into bounds. Can live happily in a container for many years if you take the time to rogue out the old, bloomed-out fans and dead flower stalks. Sun to part shade, little or no summer watering when established, damaged below 20°F. USDA zone 8/Sunset zones 8, 9, 12-24. South Africa. Iridaceae. rev 10/2017

'Sunstripe'  backlight   a different look for Fortnight Lily, with yellow stripes running up the leaf plus the usual white and purple flowers.rev 10/2017

'Variegated'    flowers    nicely used    leaves striped creamy white. Slower growing. rev 10/2017

Digiplexis 'Illumination Flame'    sunset colors at sunset   a hybrid between Digitalis and Isoplexis, this is a shrubby perennial foxglove with lipstick! Tall spikes of yellow orange flowers with violet red lips grow to 3' tall, and with side branching, blooms from late winter through fall. Large, textured, dark green leaves form a robust clump, a beauty in sun or part shade. Average to regular watering in well drained soil. Great in containers, beds, and borders. Sunset zones 8, 9, 12-24/USDA 8. rev 2/2014-Suzy Brooks 

'Illumination Raspberry'    strong color   strong stems of ruby colored flowers with speckled orange throats bloom and rebloom into fall. rev 4/2015-Suzy Brooks 

Digitalis  perennial to biennial herbaceous plants, producing central stalks of flowers. Everything we've grown has acted as either chill-initiated at maturity or facultative short day plus chill. Plantaginaceae, previously Scrophulariaceae. rev 8/2016

dubia   softly felty, grey green leaves, upright stalks of light pink, spotted flowers produced almost all year in cool-summer climates, spring and fall in others. To about 18-30" tall by 24" across at most. rev 8/2016

Digitalis hybrid   anything Digitalis x Isoplexus but not belonging to Cultivaris, who owns "Digiplexus©".

'Foxlight Plum'     flower spike   a new cross from Ball Darwin Perennials, this perennial produces a 3' tall flower spike bearing tubular, bright rosy pink, outward-facing flowers, with throats speckled deeper maroon. It grows as a rosette of large, dark green leaves, and spikes seem to initiate during or close to short-day conditions, with the initiated stalks extending One of the stars of the summer garden, according to the hummingbirds I asked. Sun, average soil and watering, frost hardy to USDA zone 7/Sunset 5-9, 14-24. rev 10/2015

'Foxlight Rose Ivory'   check it out - pollinator and beneficial in the same shot!  another Ball Darwin Perennials introduction, this with dark green, slightly felty foliage and typical upright stalks of light rose flowers with warm, pale golden orange throats. Good for cutting, good for honeybees and other pollinators, good for beneficals, good for the Earth. Good for your conscience, good for your eyes and good for your garden too! Probably facultative short day initiation, without chill modification, as far as I can tell. Sun to half shade, average drainage, showing acceptable drought tolerance on established plants. USDA zone 9/Sunset zones 8-9. 14-17, 21-24. rev 9/2015 

'Foxlight Ruby Glow'  glowing flowers   the third in Ball/Darwin Plant's series, this variety features glowing, ruby magenta, tubular flowers with rich orange-gold throats. Like the rest it will continue to initiate throughout fall, winter and early spring, and develop flowers from those buds right through most of summer. Sun, average soil/drainage, average to infrequent watering. This should be a good cut item but I'm having trouble getting them to reliably condition, as sometimes they wilt after cutting and sometimes not. rev 10/2015

Dioon edule  CHESTNUT DIOON  first crop    a strong, tough cycad growing to over 12' tall in nature but rarely seen with trunks over 5' tall in collections. It has rather fine, blue green to grey green leaves to 6' long, forming a crown that spreads up to 10' across at maturity. The new leaves emerge with tiny, fuzzy hairs and a faint coppery color. It is very slow except under optimal conditions, and you should expect to use this plant for its wonderfully perfect rosette of foliage only. Growing an honest trunk takes patience, to say the least, with 5-40 years required for a foot of height. I have had palm/cycad enthusiasts tell me this plant is substantially more cold hardy than most realize. Although it drops its fronds at temperatures much below 28F, it reportedly simply acts as a deciduous plant down to about 20F, regrowing its crown in spring. I have seen it listed as surviving as low as 15F but I don't have any personal experience with it in hard freezes. It likes part shade, warm summer temperatures, and need some watering, though it is very drought tolerant. Like all cycads, this gymnosperm (cone-bearing, as opposed to flowering plants or angiosperms) is dioecious (Latin, "two houses," meaning male and female cones on separate plants). The female cones can be as large as your head. The seeds it produces are edible, but the skin of the seed is poisonous, carcinogenic by one report. Grow it in part shade in coarse soil if possible. It makes a superb container plant and even a good house plant with enough light. Mexico. Zamiaceae.  rev 9/2008

Distictus buccinatoria    RED TRUMPET VINE    closeup    small plant    one of the most glorious of perhaps the most gloriously showy families in the plant world. This is a fast, robust evergreen vine, ultimately to a very large size in favored locations, that bears 4-6" long, trumpet shaped, brilliant scarlet red flowers to over 3" across at the face, against medium yellow tubes, from mid spring through early fall. Bright yellow throats age to gold, then eventually dark rose pink just before the flowers fall. Flowers age to orange red and eventually lighter rose red. When new, the flowers look like they have been painted, the colors are so strong. They have a thick, heavy texture, almost like thin leather. The flower spikes have one flower per branchlet, 6-15 in a normal spike. Full sun, average to little summer watering when established. It often fails to bloom for one to three years after planting, especially with generous conditions (sun, water, fertilizer, good soil, ROOM TO SPREAD), as it channels energy to vegetative growth. Juvenile grown has small, compact foliage and relatively close internodes. Three to five fingered claw-like tendrils will attach it to any wall, even “smooth” concrete. Mature, flowering wood has larger leaves and slower growth. Damaged below 25°F but survived below 20°F all over Santa Cruz, resprouting easily from the tuberous roots. Mexico. Bignoniaceae.

     One of the most impressive plantings of this plant in the US, in fact one of the most impressive plantings of ANY plant in the United states, was the specimen which formerly completely covered the south face of the “A” Dorm at Merrill College at UC Santa Cruz. It formed a solid wall of flowers five stories tall by a couple of hundred feet long. It would have gotten bigger but it ran out of building. It lived from the late 1960's until some unknown point in the late 1980's or early 1990's when it was apparently either killed by frost (1990) or was removed by dain bramaged idiots. rev 5/2005

laxiflora    LAVENDER TRUMPET VINE, VANILLA TRUMPET VINE    closeup    habit    more flowers    a tender evergreen vine, very fast under most conditions but never ultimately anywhere near as large or vigorous as  D. buccinatoria. The leaves are rounder than  D. buccinatoria, glossier, and lack the wavy edge. Reportedly it can't take as much frost. The buds are ivory white with lavender purple tips, they open to deep, luxuriant, lavender purple to light royal purple flowers against the same ivory white tube, with white throats brushed with pale yellow. They grow to 3-4" long, 2" across the face, in branched clusters of over 20, often to 30-40, with three flowers per branchlet. They age to almost white before they fall, for a mixture of purple and white flowers. They have the strong fragrance of white jelly beans (mostly vanilla). Bloom time is more restricted than D. buccinatoria or 'Rivers,' being from mid-summer on. It clings by three-clawed tendrils. For protected spots in Northern and Central California, or a wider range of conditions in Southern California, it is probably severely damaged or killed below 20°F rev 1/2006

‘Rivers’    ROYAL TRUMPET VINE    closeup    a hybrid of D. buccinatoria and D. laxiflora, with flowers emerging deep violet purple against cream tubes flushed with pink, aging to rosy magenta, and eventually pale pink. The brilliant yellow throats age to rose pink before the flowers fall. Flowers from mid spring through late fall.  Leaves are half way in between the two parents, but it has the three to five-clawed tendrils of D. buccinatoria, the solitary flower branchlets like  D. buccinatoria, and the faint black lines on the twigs like  D. laxiflora. It seems a little more tender than  D. buccinatoria, but all the plants in Santa Cruz survived the sub-20°F temps of 1990 and quickly regrew. It is slightly less vigorous than D. buccinatoria. Several selections of this cross have reportedly been sold in the trade in the past, but material sold now is probably uniform. rev 5/2005

Dodonea viscosa v. purpurea   PURPLE HOPSEED BUSH    big bush, old image    compact, pruned specimen, Capitola     leaf detail     tiny flowers     greener juvenile foliage    have you noticed we're re-introducing plants from very early in our nursery history? Usually they're tough, drought tolerant varieties that have found new respectability and appeal in today's more water-conscious environment. This is still a great plant for hedges, screens or even use as a small tree, growing quickly to 10-15' (but images show, easily maintained much lower). The tough, raspy, willowy foliage takes considerable heat, dry wind, almost any soil, and needs little or no summer watering when established. Dark bronze leaf color is of course strongest in full sun and with minimal irrigation. It drops a small amount of litter: dry, easy-to-sweep leaves and in summer, seed heads from insignificant winter flowers. Bark is usually quite attractive on old plants, being stringy and often hanging in long shreds. This California-trade form was sourced from Australia but the species is much more widely distributed. It has survived 20F with minimal damage. USDA zone 8/Sunset 7-24. Australia. Sapindaceae. rev 7/2015 

Doodia media    COMMON RASP FERN    new frond    at Blue Bamboo Nursery, Santa Cruz    at Strybing Arboretum    clumping fern, spreading slowly by stolons, bearing slightly hairy, narrow, pinnate fronds to 16" tall. New growth emerges very coppery red in winter and spring. Part sun to full shade, average watering. Plants are found over a large area of Eastern and Southeastern Australia, some forms should be hardy to about 20°F without damage. To keep this species looking good, it can be given an occasional haircut in late January or February, just as the new fronds show signs of starting to push. Remove all old growth and it will be a much nicer, cleaner plant. Polypodiaceae.

Doryopteris   a genus of small, clumping ferns, widely distributed but mostly tropical, mostly New World, mostly small to medium size, and all bearing fronds that are roughly triangular in shape but cut into different interesting patterns. Sterile and fertile fronds tend to be almost identical. These are really best as house or patio plants and will need protection from hard freezes but they are so intriguing and rewarding they are worth that special spot. This genus is a good example of the amazing variety of form and habit that is out there in the natural fern world but is so poorly represented in cultivation. Polypodiaceae. rev 7/2012

nobilis  uplifting  deeply cut light green fronds and wiry black stems, growing to 2' long with maturity (largest in the genus) and a warm, humid, protected situation. Smaller with more light, heat, and lower humidity. Can creep slowly but mostly clumping habit. Best in a container with rich, moist, drained soil, regular moisture, and bright indirect light. Sunset zones 21-24/USDA 10 or as house/patio/frost protected everywhere. South America. rev 7/2012 

pedata    form    HAND FERN    a small clumping species with an attractive hand-like frond, to about 12" tall and 2' wide. Looks a lot like a heavily divided maple leaf, with nice black petioles. Striking and very nice in a container. Part sun to full shade, regular watering, I doubt it will take much if any frost. Tropical America. rev 8/2007 

Draceana draco      DRAGON TREE, DRAGO    young Santa Barbara specimen   commercial landscape, Santa Barbara   Santa Cruz City Hall    a very stout trunk and thick branches support a dome of thick, pointy. grey green leaves. Very dramatic! Grows slowly to 25', with the trunk and stems branching after they flower. Cut stems exude the legendary, mythical "dragon's blood," a deep burgundy red resin, which dries to a hard, translucent, crystal-like material. It's quite useful if you decide you want to be mummified. The flowers resemble those of Cordylines and other Dracaenas, being small, not showy and held in branched terminal spikes. Plant in sun or part shade, or use as a houseplant/patio plant where it gets cold in the winter. Needs really good drainage, little watering. For thick trunks it must be grown very dry. Makes a good large container specimen. Excellent examples can be see at Lotusland in Santa Barbara. USDA 9. Canary Islands. Asparagaceae. rev 5/2016

Drimys lanceolata    PEPPER TREE    small female flowers    at Strybing Arboretum   a neat, cone shaped to columnar shrub or tree to 10' (in cultivation), with very attractive, dark, almost holly-blue-green, tight, fine textured foliage which emerges coppery red. It makes a very good, tough, outstandingly dense clipped hedge of intermediate height. The new growth emerges dark red, and dark red twigs and stems offset the leaves nicely. Tiny flowers are ivory white, noticeable but not highly showy. Plants are dioecious (separate sexes) and currently ours are all females. If you are one of the very few with both sexes you will see enjoy small, purple black berries, which taste sweet then peppery. A small bite of the leaf (meaning just crush it, don't chew it all up!) will reveal the origin of its name. Those and the fruits are currently popular as for seasoning and bush tucker, and both have a range of culinary and medicinal applications. Sun to mostly shade, infrequent to generous watering, average to good drainage. Hardy to at least 15°F and probably lower. Southeastern Australia, Tasmania. Winteraceae. rev 6/2016

Drosonthemum bicolor  DEW FLOWER  shocking bicolor  you want to get really, really close to this one when it goes off in spring, the flowers are so intensely and perfeclty colored. To about 2' tall with an ope growth habit, it thrives in sun and heat without much water when established. Sunset zones 14-24/USDA 9. South Africa. Mesembryanthemaceae/Aizoaceae. rev 3/2013 

Dryopteris as a rule I avoid Dryopteris unless they do "something different." Back East this genus is valued because many form neat, circular rosettes that are evergreen through winter. But here in California we have more choices in that direction (Polystichum, Woodwardia, etc.), and we don't need yet another fern that looks like Western Sword Fern, or Japanese Tassle Fern. All our varieties do something distinctive and wonderful, so you should own them all. rev 9/2014

cycadina (atrata)    BLACK WOOD FERN, SHAGGY SHIELD FERN    foliage    young plant    an evergreen species that bears rather broad sword-like fronds to 2’ long, pinnate, dark green, and with undivided pinnae. The trailing edges are finely toothed. The fronds are held in circular rosettes resembling  Polystichum polyblepharum (Japanese Lace Fern), but with dense black hairs (instead of brown) covering the crown and base and undersides of the fronds. This fern makes a great substitute for Western Sword Fern,  Polystichum munitum, which can be hard to establish or maintain in nice condition. This will need more summer watering, but is still reasonably tough and drought tolerant for a fern. It is also a little more formal looking, and very distinctive with its sophisticated black fur. Cut off all old fronds in February as the new ones just emerge to keep it looking especially nice. Shade, regular watering. Survived 20°F without damage in containers. USDA zone 5. China, southern Asia. rev 6/2016

erythrosora    AUTUMN FERN    new frond    Strybing Arboretum    why you grow it    just emerging    an evergreen fern with relatively small, dark green, shiny, bipinnate (twice divided) fronds to 18" long. New fronds appear glossy, bright rosy red, age to copper, then turn green by summer. Can push new growth in late summer as well. Part sun to shade, regular watering but somewhat drought tolerant when established. Frost hardy. China, Japan. Polypodiaceae.

'Brilliance'  new fronds   supposedly brighter red, but actually we see it as lighter and softer in color when pushing new growth, more of a soft strawberry bronze. rev 4/2008
'Prolifica'   young plants   a very compact, dwarf, and slower growing version of Autumn Fern, growing to just 12-18" tall and about as wide. For very compact spaces. rev 4/2008 
'Compacta'   fronds   darker green, typical copper-red new growth, better density, and tops out at 18". Sunset zones 2-9, 14-24/USDA 5. rev 10/2010

koidzuminana  BARBARA JO'S WOOD FERN   why you grow it   this is my favorite fern, and my own version of a common name. Introduced by Barbara Jo Hoshizaki herself, this is essentially a do-over of Autumn Fern and is considered a variety of that species (D. erythrosora) by some. But this particular form the new fronds have much more intense and complete bright, brick red color when emerging in spring, then richer, darker green when mature. It's size and habit are the same, upright and arching to 2' tall by about 18" wide. It prefers shade and moist, well-drained soil. This will make a great focal point container specimen, or can be used spotted or massed in drifts in formal or informal gardens. USDA zone 6/Sunset zones 2-9, 12-24. Yakushima Island, Japan. rev 3/2017

labordei    GOLDEN MIST FERN   young frond   this is a special form of the species, and functions as another interesting and worthwhile version of the closely related Autumn Fern, D. erythrosora. In this case the new fronds vary towards a lighter, golden orange before aging to deep, glossy bue green. As the plant matures the frond color ranges towards an even lighter, rich, deep gold.Easy to grow, resists deer and rabbits. Evergreen, up to 20-24" tall and wide, it likes morning sun or shade, regular to average watering. Sunset zones 6-9, 12-24/USDA 5. rev 3/2012

pseudo-felix-mas   nursery plant    a large fern, to 4' tall and wide, that mostly resembles a Sword Fern, with dark green sword-like fronds arising from compact rosettes. Sourced from very high elevation in Oaxaca, Mexico (8,000') this clone of this species is facultatively deciduous, shedding fronds with very hard freezes but performing as an evergreen variety over almost all of California. It does best in areas with cool, foggy summers but is quite successful across the U.S. and tends to form new fronds almost continuously. Sunset zones 5-9, 14-17, 21-24. Triploid. Central America. rev 10/2006

sieboldii     fronds    in my garden   this is a quite rare, dramatic and distinctive variety, medium size (under 2'), open, with very large dark green to olive green leaves cut into very large, coarse leaflets, just three to nine in all. The new light green to bronzy fronds feel like squeaky rubber when they are new and mature to a tough, leathery texture. It likes typical shaded to part sun fern conditions, though is found in drier understory situations in nature. It is surprisingly and impressively drought tolerant for us here in full shade (personal testimony, 2014!) but can take much moister soils of course, and is hardy to USDA zone 6 (Sunset all zones) or lower. It makes a nice container or combo item. Slow, choice, durable, now hard to get. Evergreen almost to -F readings, producing fronds only in spring. China, Taiwan, Japan. USDA zone 6/Sunset all zones. rev 7/2017

tokyoensis
   TOKYO WOOD FERN    nursery foliage    an erect, very vertical, rosette-forming species with somewhat large-textured, sword-type fronds. To 2-3' tall, fast growing, winter deciduous. Very frost hardy, to Sunset zones 3-9, 14-17/USDA zone 5. Japan, Korea. rev 10/2006 

Dudleya   for the first botany professor at Stanford, William Russell Dudley. A genus of succulent plants, close to and greatly resembling Echeverias, often found on cliffs or road cuts. Many dry down substantially in summer. Most should be planted either in very sharply drained soil, and planting at an angle is supposed to help the crown survive very wet, mld winters. Many species bear leaves conspicuously coated with a waxy white powder, others are green or grey green. Flowers are borne in short or tall stalks and are yellow to greenish yellow. Species have been variously classified as Echeveria, Sedum or Cotyledon Western North America. Crassulaceae. rev 7/2015

brittonii 'Green Form'    green rosette   a species from Baja California. While the usual white-leaved form has "the highest measured ultraviolet reflectivity of any plant" (Mulroy, 1979)  this unusual variant bears thick, apple green leaves, in a rosette to about a  foot across. Needs little summer watering on the coast, more water and shade inland. Small yellow flowers appear on tall stalks above the leaves in summer. This green thing looks a whole lot like an Echeveria! A great choice for pots, espceially those not located close to a hose. USDA zone 9 (8?)/Sunset zones 8-9, 14-24. rev 7/2015 

caespitosa   SAND LETTUCE     Marina Beach State Park dunes   flowers     garden    going vertical   Calflora shows this native beauty growing in mostly coastal locations from Fort Bragg through a few locations around the SF Bay, and along the immediate coast to darn near downtown Huntington Beach. It really hits its stride in directly coastal environments in Central California. These are seedlings from what is one of the most colorful and attractive populations, found on the coastal dunes within and adjacent to Fort Ord and Marina Beach State Park. They feature, tall, deep coral red stems, and their basal bract-leaves, that reach high above the clump. The  very large, flattish clusters of deep golden yellow flowers emerge from dark coral red buds. This flower display shows well against tight, compact domes of white-grey leaves, whose leaf tips become nicely accented purple or red from cold or stress. It needs very good drainage in gardens, so is best used in a rockery. It really shines as a small to eventually-quite-large container plant, where it can be left almost anywhere from full sun to mostly shade and needs almost no care in our dry-summer Mediterranean climate. Our form probably has considerable historical frost hardiness, and should survive freezes to 20F or more without damage. (They all did in the sand dunes in 1990!) They certainly appreciate occaisonal water if their site is sufficiently windy, dry and/or sun-scorched. USDA zone 9 (8? 7?), Sunset zones 14-24 (5? 7?). rev 9/2014 

Dyckia 'Burgundy Ice'   young plant   this terrestrial bromeliad shouts out with stiff, deep red, almost black leaves, whitish spines, and silvery undersides. Great accent for containers or a well drained garden spot. Clumping, to just 12" tall and wide. Would look great with a small succulent groundcover under it. Can be brought indoors in zones colder than Sunset 16-24/USDA 9. rev 10/2010

'Arizona' x 'Brittle Star'  dark and spiny!    combines danger and excitement! Like a 1970 Mustang with the outragesou SOHC 427 engine that got banned by NASCAR, you know it's trouble, but it's so much fun! Shiny dark leaves contrast so well with those big, white teeth. Sun, likes watering during the growing season but drier in winter. Does well in the ground with good drainage and takes the lower temperatures better. Quite the accent in a container, grows in clump. Sunset zones 8, 9, 14-24/USDA 8. rev 5/2013 

'Cabernet'  young plant   a new(er) Kelly Griffin hybrid, with leaf margins that are smooth to sparsely toothed. Juvenile plants are very dark burgundy green, mature plants become deeper burgundy red, and even a "black red" in full sun. I haven't seen it flower yet, most likely the small flowers will be golden yellow to intense orange, on typical narrow, tall, vertical spikes, initiating in or close to short days and showing color later in winter through spring. Sun to mostly shade (it's gonna be greener!), infrequent but occasional watering, average to good drainage. No honest , firm cold hardiness reports yet but it should take something under 32F, say 25F? Let us know! rev 11/2015

choristaminea  flowers, leaves too!   a real gem. Very small, mounding (4-8" tall), compact and freely but tightly clustering, gentle (soft, mostly spineless, doesn't hurt), easy to grow, and like all Dyckias, cold hardy, often into the teens or even below. Puts on a wonderful show of small, but richly colored golden flowers, emerging from the hot coppery buds at the tops of 6-28" spikes in spring. This form has its silvery green leaves tinted burgundy. We got this from Paul Bonine at Xera Plants in Portland years ago, it proved quite hardy for him and others in the PNW we have spoken with. Should be reliably to about 10F, probably lower, most reliably if kept drier in winter. Rock walls, mounds, but probably most rewarding as a container plant. Very tough and drought, needs water during the growing season. USDA zone 8. Brazil. rev 9/2017 *New for 2018!*

'Grape Jelly'  peanuts for peanut butter  shiny, deep, dark purple leaves with spines that can't be ignored grow up to be a 3' clump with yellow and orange flowers. Likes sun for best color, well drained soil, and water while growing, drier in winter. Handsome in containers mixed with silver or white, just not too close to the sidewalk. Sunset zones 8, 9, 14-24/USDA 8. rev 6/2012-Suzy Brooks

marnier-lapostellei     usually less than a dozen leaves, wider than usual, and a lovely color. Shy about making pups, it grows slowly 10-12" across and 12" tall.  Wonderful for containers where the older leaves will curl down. Full sun near the coast or part shade. Likes watering spring through summer. Do protect from cold and rain in winter. Sunset zones 17-24/USDA 10. rev 6/2014 

'Nickel Silver' nickel silver foliage color  gun metal grey leaves are subtle and those spines demand some attention, but the whole package is is very handsome. Nice one for the landscape, easy to grow in some sun and well drained soil. Sends up a spike to about 4' of orange flowers every year and just makes a bigger clump. Single rosettes about 12-15" across, a beauty in containers too. Little watering once established. Sunset zones 8, 9, 14-24/USDA 8. rev 4/2012-Suzy Brooks 

'Sabertooth'  silvery clump  now this is not properly named. It should be called something like "Rattlesnake Tooth" because the famous Dyckia marginal spines are so very thin and sharp. I know you want to touch the picture but please don't because we aren't responsible for injury. Steely grey edging towards white as it matures. Sun or part shade. Houseplant/patio or otherwise probably Sunset zones 17, 21-24/USDA zone 10. rev 8/2012 

'San Juan'    impressive!     add some danger and excitement to your succulents with this rosette of barbed spears! A clump forming specimen with glorious silver over taupe color and minutely hairy, toothy texture for containers. Orange flowers on tall spikes will appear in summer on older plants. Sun and little watering. Sunset zones 8, 9, 14-24/USDA 8. rev 2/2013-Suzy Brooks 

Dymondia margaretae    topiary from Seaside Gardens    up close   feels so good on barefeet! Ground hugging, evergreen, with small yellow daisies appearing summer. Quite drought tolerant when established, and very tight, compact foliage and stems is usually enough to suppress most weeds. Use as large scale groundcover, in between pavers, or in containers. Does appreciate at least average drainage. USDA zone 9/Sunset 9, 15-24. rev 4/2015