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  • Acanthus
    • mollis ‘Hollard's Gold’   CAG01102

      (Golden bear's breeches)
      Height1m
      Width1.5m
      Flowering SeasonSpring
      WaterL - M
      LightSun - L. Sh.
      Acanthus mollis ‘Hollard's Gold’
      for $7.00earn 35 points

      One of the most beautiful chartreuse leaved plants you could ever grow.

      Large, 60cm plus, sharply scalloped, red stemmed leaves form spectacular rosettes over Winter, from the centre of which emerge each Spring, sturdy, 1m tall stalks topped with large hooded pink and white flowers, enclosed in sharp leafy bracts.

      Both the leaves and flowers are excellent for cutting and the flowers remain interesting even when dried.

      Will happily go dormant over Summer if grown dry, my prefered option as it can then be grown in full sun for best colour and the curled golden leaves erupting from the bare earth each Autumn are a breath taking sight.

  • Amaryllis
    • belladonna   CAG01045

      (Easter lily, Naked lady)
      Height1m
      Width60cm
      Flowering SeasonAutumn
      WaterL
      LightSun - Shade
      Amaryllis belladonna
      for $7.00earn 35 points

      A super tough South African that should need little introduction, though, where once its autumn spectacle was taken for granted through the South West it is now being increasingly displaced by fleeting makeover starlets.

      Clusters of large. flaring, funnel shaped flowers, pale pink and deepening with age, are carried atop sturdy, fleshy stems. The strappy, dark green leaves emerge after flowering from the necks of large, papery, brown bulbs that are typically somewhat exposed, adjusting to their preferred depth with the aid of contractile roots. Becoming deciduous with rising temperatures in spring and then requiring zero water over summer.

      Infallible in any soil, in any position except the densest shade. Usually takes several years to settle in and commence flowering for perpetuity.

      For me, nothing heralds more the imminent return of cooler weather and rain than the sight of fat buds thrusting naked from parched ground. I imagine it is the same joy that gardeners in cold regions feel on seeing the first hint of spring in a shoot emerging from snow.

    • belladonna Deep pink   CAG02331
      Height40cm
      Width40cm
      Flowering SeasonAutumn
      WaterL
      LightSun
      for $7.00earn 35 points

      Clusters of deep magenta-pink, widely flaring trumpet-like flowers pop up on juicy stalks at the end of summer to be followed by tidy clumps of strappy dark green leaves that emerge from plump papery tuniced bulbs.

      More richly coloured flowers and lower, narrower foliage than typical A. belladonna fare, I suppose this to have some Nerine influence (x Amarine maybe) or it may just be natural variability within the species.

      Summer dormant and indestructibly hardy, grows anywhere in anything and lives forever. My mother found this years ago sitting on clay pan, in standing water (not recommended), surrounded by horses, a relic of early settlement given the size of the clump. Native to southern Africa.

  • Arctotis
  • Artemisia
    • alba ‘Canescens’   CAG00991

      syn. A. armeniaca, A. versicolor ‘Seafoam’
      Height20cm
      Width50cm
      Flowering SeasonSummer
      WaterL
      LightFull Sun
      for $7.00earn 35 points

      A grouncovering shrub of the utmost hardiness, forming a fine, silver, coral-like cushion, purple tinted under drought stress or in autumn before shedding its leaves over winter. Relatively slow growth yields years of undemanding beauty besides paths or scattered through boulders and is a perfect cover for summer dormant bulbs or other low plants of fine form. Tapering spires of pale yellow, button-like flowers lend an elegant effect but are of little import and, here at least, are seldom seen.

      Easily grown in any soil, or rock crevice, though not so happy in clay. Summer water unnecessary but tolerated, though not likely to last long in regions with high summer humidity. At it's best where lesser plants scorch and fry.

    • arborescens   CAG00857

      (Tree wormwood)
      Height1.5m
      Width1m
      Flowering SeasonSp - Su
      WaterL
      LightSun
      for $7.00earn 35 points

      An upright shrub from the Mediterranean, of irrefutable hardiness, with soft, finely dissected, silver leaves, its fluid texture sets it apart from other silver shrubs allowing for more liberal use, even by gardeners dainty of heart. As a background foil or informal hedge it is hard to beat and was once used often on fence lines to separate garden from landscape, a duty it will fulfill for decades with utter neglect but a little judicious annual pruning yields a plant of far higher calibre, at home in the most well manicured urban designs. It should be common place in carparks.

      Indestructible in any well drained sunny soil, summer irrigation is irrelevant.

      Panicles of insignificant flowers are borne in spring.

    • ludoviciana ‘Valerie Finnis’   CAG00925

      (Prairie sage, White sagebrush)
      Height1.2m
      Width60cm
      Flowering SeasonSu - Au
      WaterL
      LightSun - L. Sh.
      for $7.00earn 35 points

      A staple of gardens the world over though indigenous through most of North America. A suckering carpet of silver, broadly lance shaped leaves for borders and edgings or combined with other vigorous perennials, Bearded Iris maybe, in drifts or clumps. Cut down regularly to maintain broadest foliage and low growth or if left unchecked it will eventually form a dense mound of wiry, branching stems bearing irrelevant, small, pale yellow, button-like flowers, quite an effective silver shrub in wilder parts of the garden or fence line.

      Very vigorous and perfectly drought tolerant on well drained soils, struggling in heavy clay though more successful in lower rainfall regions. Impervious to any heat and cold experienced in this country but, as with most of the genus, unlikely to tolerate the summer humidity of more tropical climes. Dead easy and indestructible.

      Might work as a silver, water efficient lawn when mown routinely.

      Broader, more simple leaved than A. ‘Silver Queen’ and perhaps better when kept low.

  • Cistus
    • ladanifer ‘Bennett's White’   CAG00992
      Height2m
      Width2m
      Flowering SeasonSpring
      WaterL
      LightFull Sun
      for $7.00earn 35 points

      Many that consider themselves familiar with the Rockrose let a little gasp escape when seeing this in bloom for the first time. Despite the species being the most famed, and possibly the most drought loving given its distribution through much of the Mediterranean and northern Africa, it seems little grown in this country.

      Huge, creped, pure white, five petalled, saucer shaped flowers, centred with a showy golden boss of stamens (looking like poached eggs), are borne abundantly from plump buds over glossy, dark green, lanceolate foliage, held sparsely enough so as not to hide the richly caramel stems, sticky to the touch and pleasingly aromatic (see Labdanum). Becoming a sizable shrub and ground hugging with time as the branches gradually bow under the weight of successive upright new growth.

      This select form lacks the prominent wine stain spots on each petal that is characteristic of the species.

      Easily grown in any well drained, preferably unirrigated, sunny soil. The more exposure the better with any shade impacting performance and density, though even poorly grown it will still impress.

      I find this is much more palatable, than other species, to gardeners to which the beauty of the garrigue does not appeal.

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