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.
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
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
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:
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
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'
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
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
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
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
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. Sun to part shade, little or no summer watering when established. Damaged below 20°F. South Africa. Iridaceae.
'Sunstripe' backlight a different look for the Fortnight Lily, with yellow stripes running up the leaf with the white and purple flowers. Upright and evergreen, forming a clump to 2' tall. Can live in a container for years. Sun or bright shade, average watering. Sunset zones 8, 9, 12-24/USDA 8. rev 11/2013-Suzy Brooks
variegated flowers nicely used leaves striped creamy white. Slower growing. rev 11/2004
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
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
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.
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.