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  • Limonium
    • cosyrense   CAG02787
      Height30cm
      Width50cm
      Flowering SeasonSu - Au
      WaterL
      LightSun
      for $7.00earn 35 points

      A Maltese species with neat rosettes of dark green, rounded leaves forming a low shrubby mound and bearing a profusion of tiny, pale lavender flowers on fine, branching scapes that last all summer.

      Terribly adorable in any well drained soil and remarkably shade tolerant though maximum sun and exposure yields higher definition. Salt tolerance and a love for coastal conditions should be taken for granted as with much of the genus. Cold tolerance questionable though it so far seems able to handle any frosts W.A. can throw at it. Self sows when happy.

      Annual removal of spent flowers should be all the effort ever required to keep it looking its best.

      Makes a fine potted specimen, at least for a few years, easily mistaken by visitors as some challenging alpine and bolstering your horticultural street cred.

  • Centaurea
    • cineraria   CAG00715

      (Dusty miller)
      Height1.2m
      Width1m
      Flowering SeasonSp - Su
      WaterL
      LightFull Sun
      Centaurea cineraria
      CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE

      A too rarely encountered perennial from coastal Italian cliffs, often confused with the yellow flowered Jacobaea maritima or other species, and still one of the best plants I have ever had the privilege to grow and one whose more common use can only benefit our gardens.

      Tufts of softly pinnate leaves cut from white suede form a shrubby mound, bearing fine, branching, white stems of lilac coloured, thistle like flowers. A florists dream. Used to great effect in mass planting or as common foil for formal or informal gardens, beside driveways or in moon gardens as reflective lighting, or just as an exceptional component amongst other well defined mediterranean type plants.

      If its leggy, flops in the heat or is short lived then conditions are too soft, it has no adaptations to shade. At its best in exposed sites with freely draining, lean, alkaline soil, gardeners on the coastal plain should have no difficulty. Summer irrigation is mostly detrimental. A good test, quick and easy to grow but the standard and longevity of this plant will directly reflect your understanding of gardening for a mediterannean climate.

      A good annual or biannual cut back, when and where strong new shoots are seen, will keep it looking tip top for many years. Don't cut it down to bare stems, without leaves it may starve to death before it can regenerate.

  • Dianthus

    (Pink, Sweet william, Carnation)
    Caryophyllaceae

    The commonly encountered garden varieties are European plants of garden antiquity grown for their attractive, often perfumed, flowers which pick well. They are on the whole easily grown but demand excellent drainage and plenty of sun and are ideally suited to poor, dryer, well drained, alkaline soils. They are often encountered overgrown and root bound, tucked away in the shade, to which they are intolerant, and once purchased are good naturedly smothered with too much "good" garden practice.


    Pinks are known to all by name, which they lent to the colour, if not in person. Classic perennials of English cottage gardens. They have extensive root systems and most varieties offered are quite hardy in Perth with a good drink once a week over summer. They invariably have narrow, glaucous foliage resistant to dry air and high light intensity.

    Sweet williams (Dianthus barbatus) are biennials that will often persist for several years and typically have tall stems bearing clusters of small fringed flowers. They have broader leaves and require a bit softer conditions than the Pinks. The Nigrescens group seem the hardiest of the bunch and can become quite shrubby, potted colour varieties, often sold by the punnet, are worth growing but usually amount to little more than tender annuals.

    Carnations (Dianthus caryophyllus). Those developed for the cut flower market are mostly ugly plants needing support and are best left to the dedicated enthusiast or florist. Better garden plants are the seldom seen border carnations, they have the same beautiful flowers of the florist types but are less gawky, don't need staking, are often perfumed and are almost as hardy as the pinks.
    • japonicus   CAG01001
      Height30cm
      Width40cm
      Flowering SeasonSp - Su
      WaterL - M
      LightSun
      CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE

      A truly remarkable biennial, grown as much for it's unique form as it's flowers.
      Rosettes of wax-like, dark green, 2cm wide, lance shaped leaves form mounds that appear completely at home in the otherwise exposed locations they prefer to inhabit.
      Large heads of small, five petalled, blue pink flowers cover the plant from late spring, only after your garden has been graced by the foliage for a full year.

      Found growing on cliffs by the sea in Japan, it has proved extremely tolerant of excessive exposure and reflected heat, as well as sea spray. Ideal for gravel gardens, on the edge (or in the cracks) of paving or on barren sand. Self seeds nicely in any seemingly inhospitable place, the delightful little seedings are easily removed as they grow larger. Extremely tough. Likes good drainage.

  • Eriogonum
    • arborescens   CAG02925

      (Santa Cruz Island buckwheat)
      Height80cm
      Width1m
      Flowering SeasonSu - Wi
      WaterL
      LightFull Sun
      CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE

      A dome of fine silvery grey rosettes bearing flattish heads of palest pink flowers that darken to burnt sienna and last until stripped by winter rain. From the Channel Islands off California and revelling in coastal conditions and hot dry summers.

      Offers great potential for avant-garde designs with earth toned pottery or paving, or brightly coloured glass forms and background walls for more modernity.

      For any well drained soil though the leaner the better. Tolerant of some irrigation but less so with increasing temps.

      Questionable in eastern states and definitely not for the tropics.

  • Pancratium
    • maritimum   CAG01666

      (Sea daffodil)
      Height60cm
      Width30cm
      Flowering SeasonAutumn
      WaterL
      LightFull Sun
      Pancratium maritimum
      CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE

      A dramatic bulb, the umbels of pure white, perfumed, daffodil-like flowers appear as if by magic after the first autumn rain, on naked, very glaucous 60cm stems. Such delicate and exuberant beauty seemingly incongruous in the exposed and baking environ it prefers.

      The strappy, glaucous winter leaves die down with the onset of summer drought, if they remain evergreen you are providing too much water and any chance of flowering is likely to be non-existent. In a warm autumn repeat blooms are not uncommon.

      Found on coastal dunes in hotter parts of the Mediterranean it is ideally suited to growing in hot barren sand, though mine do fine in clay, and should be indifferent to salt spray. Self seeds if your lucky, though it will be at least several years before the seedlings are large enough to flower. Newly planted bulbs will usually need a year or two to settle in as well before they will resume flowering.

      Mass plant for best effect, either densely or as scattered individuals.

  • Silene
    • uniflora ‘Robin Whitebreast’   CAG00813

      (Sea Campion)
      Height5cm
      Width30cm
      Flowering SeasonSp - Su
      WaterM - L
      LightSun
      CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE

      A true garden treasure from the coastlines of Europe.

      From a flat carpet of waxy, blue green, spoon shaped leaves grow impossibly large, fully double, pure white flowers, strongly perfumed with a beautiful sweet musk, weighing down slender stems to hang gracefully or lie face up on the ground.

      At it's best with plenty of sun in lean, preferably alkaline, well drained soil where it can drape over walls, across paths or between rocks with the addition of a few small Dianthus for a water efficient rock garden.

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