UC Davis Arboretum: Community favoritesLoading
  • 6N9FAVORITE
    Orange semi-double geum
    Geum chiloense
    Size: Under 2 feet tall
    Bloom season: Spring, summer, early fall
    Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    Pruning needs: Little or none; remove spent flower stems.
    Water needs: Once established, water deeply once a week.
    Snapshot: What a pretty perennial! This little flower packs plenty of color power with little care. Drought-tolerant and tesistant to frost, geums are free-flowering from late spring through late summer and well into fall. A favorite of butterflies, geums stay evergreen through the winter, then break out with instant bouquets of red-orange flowers on wiry stems. They're deer-resistant, too. The Prinses Juliana hybrid variety looks more tangerine than darker orange. Its flowers are sterile and do not set seed. You can see specimens in the arboretum teaching nursery on the UC Davis campus.
    Why it's a favorite:"I love the almost roselike flowers, and the fact that it blooms nearly all summer," said arboretum volunteer Kathryn Shack.
    Bee file
  • 6N23FAVORITE
    Pink mulla mulla
    Ptilotus 'Platinum Wallaby'
    Size: Under 2 feet tall
    Bloom season: Spring, summer, early fall
    Exposure: Full sun
    Pruning needs: Little or none; remove spent flower stems.
    Water needs: Once established, water deeply every one to two weeks.
    Snapshot: Here's a garden conversation starter. From spring through early fall, this odd Australian native pumps out lilac-pink bottlebrush-type flowers covered with fine hairs. Combined with its silver foliage, the funny flowers give mulla mulla an eye-catching sparkle that looks great in drought-tolerant gardens. A ground-hugging shrub, mulla mulla thrives in sandy but well-drained soil.
    It grows well in containers, too, but can be sensitive to hard frost. You can see specimens in the arboretum teaching nursery on the UC Davis campus.
    Why it's a favorite: "Thrives in hot, sunny locations," said arboretum volunteer Chris Denton. "Good drought tolerance. Unique pinkish-purple blossoms shaped like little thatched huts bloom nonstop all the summer."
  • 6N26FAVORITE
    Rocky Mountain sage
    Salvia lanceolata
    Size: Under 4 feet tall
    Bloom season: Late spring, summer, fall Exposure: Full sun
    Pruning needs: Little or none; prune to shape
    Water needs: Once established, water deeply once a week.
    Snapshot:Also called lance-leaf or rusty sage, this striking perennial is a butterfly magnet with blooms from May until frost. Despite its Rocky Mountain nickname, it's actually native to South Africa, where it grows in sandy, well-drained soil. A tough and easy-care shrub, this pretty sage has aromatic, lance-shaped silver-gray leaves and rosy-pink flowers that turn rusty-orange in summer heat. As an added benefit, the leaves can be used in cooking. You can see specimens in the arboretum's teaching nursery on the UC Davis campus.
    Why it's a Favorite: "(I) really love the rosy pink bracts and pinkish flowers of this plant," said master gardener Kristen Kolb, a volunteer at UC Davis' Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. "They look great with the silver-gray foliage, and make a nice, rounded plant."
    Ellen M. Zagory
  • 6N15FAVORITE
    Crimson Treasure dianthus
    Dianthus 'Crimson Treasure'
    Size: Under 2 feet tall
    Bloom season: Summer
    Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    Pruning needs: Little or none; remove spent flower stalks
    Water needs: Once established, water deeply once a week
    Snapshot: Hardy and easy to care for, this pretty little perennial is an update on an old-fashioned favorite, "pinks." This hybrid dianthus (a close relative of carnations) features velvety red flowers flecked with light pink or white dots. The fine-leafed foliage is a handsome blue-gray. As a bonus, it's extremely fragrant. You can see specimens in the arboretum's teaching nursery on the UC Davis campus.
    Why it's a favorite: "These beautifully speckled, red velvety flowers are nicely complemented by the gray foliage," said Francesca Claverie, the arboretum's assistant nursery manager. "I adore the very classic and vintage feel this dianthus evokes!"
    Courtesy UC Davis Arboretum
  • x
    San Miguel Island red buckwheat
    Eriogonum grande var. rubescens
    Size: Under 2 feet tall
    Bloom season: Summer, fall
    Exposure: Sun to partial shade
    Pruning needs: Little or none; remove spent flower heads in late fall or winter
    Water needs: Once established, water deeply twice a month
    Snapshot: Butterflies can't resist this California native – and many birds like it, too. An eye-catching perennial from the Channel Islands, this red buckwheat needs little care or water; it can go most of the summer with little irrigation. One of the showiest small buckwheats, it fits nicely into dry perennial beds and butterfly gardens. The big, long-lasting flower heads range from pink to deep red. San Miguel Island buckwheat thrives in salt air and sandy soil, but can tolerate clay and frost, too. It's hardy down to 20 degrees. You can see specimens in the arboretum's Ruth Risdon Storer Valley-Wise Garden on the UC Davis campus.
    Why it's a Favorite: "I like this plant because it's beautiful, bulletproof and very attractive to bees and butterflies!" said arboretum volunteer Lynda Ives.
    Ellen Zagory | Special to The Bee
  • 6N17FAVORITE.JPG
    Narrow-bell correa
    Correa schlechtendalii
    Size: Under 6 feet tall
    Bloom season: Late fall, winter
    Exposure: Sun to partial shade
    Pruning needs: Little or none; prune to shape after flowering.
    Water needs: Once established, water deeply once a week.
    Snapshot: This interesting winter-blooming shrub produces its own Christmas ornaments. An Australian fuchsia, this correa pumps out loads of eye-popping green and red flowers that almost glow in light shade. Hummingbirds can't resist these trumpets. This drought-tolerant evergreen shrub – which can reach 6 feet wide as well as tall – is often used as a screen or hedge in Australia. You can see specimens in the arboretum's Australian collection on the UC Davis campus.
    Why it's a Favorite: "One of my favorite Australian fuchsias, with hanging, two-tone flowers in day-glo green and red all winter," said Ryan Deering, the arboretum's GATEways horticulturist. "Great upright growth to 6 feet and best in light shade."
    Ellen Zagory | Special to The Bee
  • 6N10FAVORITE.JPGx
    Caledonia bush veronica
    Hebe "Caledonia"
    Size: Under 2 feet tall
    Bloom season: Late spring, summer, fall
    Exposure: Sun to partial shade
    Pruning needs: Little or none; prune to shape in late winter
    Water needs: Once established, water deeply once a week
    Snapshot: This attractive evergreen shrub puts up with almost anything. It can tolerate salt, pollution and poor soil – and still look beautiful. Its striking glossy foliage is bordered with red-purple margins. Staying compact, the shrub is covered with purple flowers from late spring into October, making it a favorite for bees. Hardy in winter, bush veronica can make an attractive border or container plant year-round. In Sacramento, it can get sunburned in full-sun locations, particularly in summer, but thrives with morning or filtered sun. It does particularly well with a northern exposure where other blooming shrubs may struggle. You can see specimens in the arboretum's Ruth Risdon Storer Valley-Wise Garden on the UC Davis campus.
    Why it's a Favorite: "The mature green leaves look gorgeous and unique with the purple-red stems, new growth and flowers," said Francesca Claverie, the arboretum's assistant nursery manager. "There's nothing 'jeebie' about this Hebe! Dainty, but tough."
    Ellen Zagory | Special to The Bee, 2009
  • x
    Bee's Bliss purple sage
    Salvia leucophylla 'Bee's Bliss'
    Size: Under 2 feet tall
    Bloom season: Spring, summer
    Exposure:Full sun to partial shade
    Pruning needs: Little or none; remove spent flower stalks
    Water needs: Once established, water deeply twice a month
    Snapshot: As its name implies, this low-growing, pretty blue-purple sage is a favorite for bees and other beneficial insects. The attractive gray foliage forms a nearly evergreen groundcover with a beautiful spreading habit. Fast growing in sandy or well-drained soil, this perennial gets by with little summer water, too. You can see specimens in the arboretum's Mary Wattis Brown Garden of California native plants on the UC Davis campus.
    Why it's a Favorite: "Prolific blue flowers in the spring provide bliss for bees," said arboretum volunteer Candace Cross-Drew. "Nice gray foliage the rest of the year. Does not tolerate much water; definitely drought tolerant."
    Bee file | Sacramento Bee Staff Photo
  • x
    Formosan flame tree
    Koelreuteria elegans subsp. formosana
    Size: 20 to 40 feet tall
    Bloom season: Late summer, fall
    Exposure: Full sun
    Pruning needs: Little or none; prune to shape in winter
    Water needs: Once established, water deeply once or twice a month
    Snapshot: This Asian shade tree adds a tropical note to drought- tolerant gardens, along with lots of fall color. In early autumn, it boasts broad clusters of bright yellow flowers, followed by large coral-red seedpods that look like lipstick-colored ping-pong balls. Besides offering its unusual beauty, this flame tree is adaptable to various soils and watering schedules. You can see specimens in the arboretum's East Asian Collection on the UC Davis campus.
    it's a favorite: "This gorgeous tropical-looking tree celebrates late summer and fall first as a cloud of yellow flowers, and then as a party with thousands of red balloons," said Warren Roberts, the arboretum's superintendent emeritus.
    Photo courtesy UC Davis Arboretum
  • x
    California phacelia
    Phacelia californica
    Size: Under 2 feet tall
    Bloom season: Spring, summer, early fall
    Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    Pruning needs: Little or none; remove spent flower stems
    Water needs: Once established, water deeply once every two weeks
    Snapshot: Also called scorpionweed, this pretty native can be found in many parts of Northern California, particularly in coastal regions. It's botanical name means "cluster," referring to the bunches of bell-shaped lavender flowers. Resembling a scorpion's tail, the fiddlehead stems uncoil with new growth. This pretty perennial is an important nectar source for the endangered Mission Blue butterfly, but it's also a favorite for bees and other beneficial insects. You can see specimens in the arboretum's Mary Wattis Brown Garden of California native plants on the UC Davis campus.
    Why it's a Favorite: "I love this California native plant because it provides food for native bees," said Carmia Feldman, the arboretum's assistant director. "It also has fun, long-lasting flowers that start out coiled and unravel as they bloom over the summer."
    Bee file photo
  • 6N13FAVORITE.JPG
    Brick red monkeyflower
    Mimulus aurantiacus 'Brick red'
    Size: Under 3 feet tall
    Bloom season: Summer, early fall
    Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    Pruning needs: Little or none; prune to shape
    Water needs: Once established, water deeply once a week
    Snapshot: Descended from a favorite California native, this hybrid offers lots of large brick-red flowers throughout the summer and into fall. Its distinctive flowers – which reminded early botanists of little smiling monkey faces – attract hummingbirds and beneficial insects. This perennial grows into a small shrubby mound, covered with flowers. It prefers good drainage and sandy soil. It combines well with many Mediterranean plants such as lavenders and salvias. You can see specimens in the arboretum's Mary Wattis Brown Garden of California native plants on the UC Davis campus.
    Why it's a Favorite: "A great summer bloomer!" said arboretum volunteer Kathy Olson. "I love the soft, brick-red color of the flowers."
    Robert Potts | California Academy of Sciences
  • x
    Mexican petunia
    Ruellia brittoniana
    Size: Under 3 feet tall
    Bloom season: Late spring, summer, early fall
    Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    Pruning needs: Can be aggressive grower; cut stems back to keep compact
    Water needs: Once established, water deeply once a week
    Snapshot: This pretty evergreen perennial offers abundant deep blue-purple flowers from spring well into fall. Each tubular bloom lasts only a day, but this plant is rarely out of flower – to the delight of butterflies. In Sacramento, it thrives in partial shade and well-drained soil. Eye-catching in borders or beds, ruellia also grows well in containers. Its one drawback: It reseeds easily and can grow aggressively. You can see specimens in the shade of the arboretum's conifer collection on the UC Davis campus.
    Why it's a Favorite: "Tall vertical structure, with deep green leaves, maroon stems, and purple petunia-like blooms that last just one day," said Margaret Kralovec, the arboretum's community outreach manager. "Makes a striking impression in a close grouping."
    Photo by Ellen Zagory | Special to The Bee
  • Red autumn sage

    Salvia greggii "Flame"

    Size: Under 4 feet tall

    Bloom season: Spring, summer, fall

    Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

    Pruning needs: Remove old flower stalks. Prune to maintain compact shape.

    Water needs: Once established, water deeply every two weeks.

    Snapshot:Its nickname is autumn sage, but that belies its long bloom season. This colorful shrub actually produces loads of bright orange-red flowers from spring until frost. These showy blooms are a hummingbird magnet. Beneficial insects like them, too. This drought- and heat-tolerant favorite thrives in Sacramento gardens with little care or water. You can see specimens in bloom in the Arboretum's Terrace Garden and the Ruth Risdon Storer Valley-Wise Garden on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a Favorite: "I get to watch a hummingbird feast on its nectar out of my breakfast window almost every morning," said arboretum docent Lois Crowe.

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    Monrovia Nursery
  • 6N29FAVORITE2.JPG
    Gold tooth aloe

    Aloe x spinosissima

    Size: Under 3 feet tall

    Bloom season: Winter, early spring

    Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

    Pruning needs: Little or none; look out for sharp spines

    Water needs: Once established, water deeply every two weeks

    Snapshot: Also called spider aloe, this handsome succulent looks great in a rock garden, container or drought-tolerant landscape. More compact than most aloes, this hybrid forms a clump about 2 to 3 feet across. The dramatic red-orange flower spikes add bursts of color in winter when little else is blooming. It's deer-tolerant and is frost-hardy down to 22 degrees. You can see specimens in the arboretum's Ruth Risdon Storer Garden of Valley-Wise Plants on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a favorite: "From these attractive whorls of leaves, dramatic red spikes of flowers emerge in winter and early spring," said arboretum volunteer Joe Frankenfeld. "These plants make a great accent and make large specimens if smaller pups are removed."

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    Ernesto Sandoval | Special to The Bee
  • x
    Mexican petunia

    Ruellia brittoniana

    Size: Under 3 feet tall

    Bloom season: Late spring, summer, early fall

    Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

    Pruning needs: Can be aggressive grower; cut stems back to keep compact

    Water needs: Once established, water deeply once a week

    Snapshot: This pretty evergreen perennial offers abundant deep blue-purple flowers from spring well into fall. Each tubular bloom lasts only a day, but this plant is rarely out of flower – to the delight of butterflies. In Sacramento, it thrives in partial shade and well-drained soil. Eye-catching in borders or beds, ruellia also grows well in containers. Its one drawback: It reseeds easily and can grow aggressively. You can see specimens in the shade of the arboretum's conifer collection on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a Favorite: "Tall vertical structure, with deep green leaves, maroon stems, and purple petunia-like blooms that last just one day," said Margaret Kralovec, the arboretum's community outreach manager. "Makes a striking impression in a close grouping."

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    Photo by Ellen Zagory | Special to The Bee
  • Monch aster

    Aster x frikartii 'Monch'

    Size: Under 2 feet tall

    Bloom season: Summer, early fall

    Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

    Pruning needs: Little or none; cut stems back to ground in winter

    Water needs: Once established, water deeply once a week

    Snapshot: This easy-care hybrid aster, originally developed in the early 1920s by Karl Frikart in Switzerland, is a dependable garden star in Sacramento. Throughout the summer, this compact perennial is covered with 2-inch, lavender-blue daisylike flowers. As a cut flower, it makes beautiful bouquets. Butterflies love it, too. It grows in almost any kind of soil – as long as it has good drainage. You can see specimens near the gazebo in the arboretum's teaching nursery on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a favorite: "I love the big, showy flowers on this aster," said Emily Griswold, the arboretum's assistant director of horticulture. "Unlike the fall-blooming asters, this one pumps out flowers all summer long – much to the delight of garden butterflies." Learn more about Community Favorites and Arboretum All-Stars
    Ellen M. Zagory | Special to The Bee
  • Variegated Japanese sedge

    Carex oshimensis "Evergold"

    Size: Under 1 foot tall

    Bloom season: Early summer

    Exposure: Partial to full shade

    Pruning needs: Little or none

    Water needs: Once established, water deeply once a week

    Snapshot: This graceful grasslike sedge grows in well-behaved clumps and loves shady places in the dry garden. The evergreen leaves are striped with creamy yellow. Easy to care for and drought-tolerant, this sedge is ideal for rock gardens or borders. In woodland settings, it's deer resistant, too. You can see specimens near the gazebo in the arboretum's Carolee Shields All-White Garden on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a favorite: "The weeping form and striking variegation makes this a sedge-sational eyecatcher," said Dorothy Yerxa, a volunteer at the arboretum's teaching nursery.

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    Maureen Gilmer
  • Seeds
    Sour Grapes penstemon or beardstongue

    Penstemon "Sour Grapes"

    Size: Under 2 feet tall

    Bloom season: Summer, early fall

    Exposure: Full sun

    Pruning needs: Little or none; prune after flowering to keep tidy and encourage more bloom

    Water needs: Once established, water deeply once a week

    Snapshot: A hybrid version of a native wildflower, this bright purple perennial is a standout in hot, sunny flowerbeds or rock gardens. It can take the Sacramento heat without fading and tolerates drought. This hummingbird and butterfly favorite makes a great cut flower, too. Penstemons prefer well-drained soil and don't like to be crowded. You can see specimens in the arboretum's teaching nursery on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a Favorite: "I love the gorgeous grape-purple flowers of this penstemon," said arboretum nursery manager Lisa Fowler. "Blooms for weeks and weeks in early summer when many other plants are in a lull, adding color and presence when the garden really needs it!"

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    Renée C. Byer | rbyer@sacbee.com
  • 6N25FAVE.JPG
    Coronation Gold fern-leaf yarrow

    Achillea 'Coronation Gold'

    Size: Under 2 feet tall

    Bloom season: Summer and fall

    Exposure: Partial shade to full sun

    Pruning needs: Little or none; prune after flowering to keep tidy

    Water needs: Once established, water deeply once a week

    Snapshot: An easy-care and sun-loving perennial, this yarrow boasts feathery, gray-green foliage topped by tall clusters of flowers that are magnets for beneficial insects. At home in a container or garden border, this clumping variety holds its bright-yellow color for weeks before turning a burnished fall gold – which makes an excellent dried flower. You can see specimens in the arboretum's teaching nursery on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a Favorite: "This bright yarrow is growing happily in a large pot right outside our back door," said Bob Segar, UC Davis' associate vice chancellor. "This plant likes the summer sun and keeps producing bright yellow suns of its own with a minimum of maintenance."

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    Illustration by Jim Chaffee
  • 6N18FAVORITE.JPG
    Hardy hybrid echeveria

    Echeveria 'Perle Von Nurnberg'

    Size: Under 1 foot tall

    Bloom season: Summer and fall

    Exposure: Partial shade to full sun

    Pruning needs: Little or none

    Water needs: Once established, water deeply once or twice a month.

    Snapshot: This pretty succulent creates a border of perfect pearl-gray rosettes. Sun brings out deep pink highlights on the leaves' edges. In summer and early fall, bright coral flowers emerge on foot-long red stems, attracting hummingbirds. It's wonderful in rock gardens, but also is well suited to containers. Once established, this succulent can take the heat (as well as drought) while also coping well with colder temperatures in winter. You can see specimens in the arboretum's Ruth Risdon Storer Garden of Valley-wise plants on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a Favorite: "The perfect 'edge filler' plant in my garden in small groups of three to five," said longtime arboretum volunteer Mary Patterson. "They grow as big as dinner plates with morning light and afternoon shade."

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    Ellen Zagory | Special to The Bee
  • Farmer's Fred Garden
    Jazze purple rose

    Alstroemeria hybrida


    Size: Under 2 feet tall

    Bloom season: Spring, summer and early fall

    Exposure: Partial shade

    Pruning needs: Little or none

    Water needs: Once established, water deeply once a week

    Snapshot: Easy care and prolific, this showy Peruvian lily hybrid, introduced by Pan American Seed, offers plenty of large purple-rose flowers from spring through October. The flowers tend to fade if grown in full Sacramento sun, but this lily loves a spot with a little afternoon shade. This is a great pick for cut flowers, too. You can see specimens in the arboretum's Chilean collection on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a Favorite:"Puts on amazing show in our front yard in spring and early summer – then comes back for a small encore in late summer and fall," said UC Davis Vice Chancellor John Meyer. "This performer shines without much help from the director – my kind of actor!"



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    Paul Kitagaki Jr. | pkitagaki@sacbee.com
  • 6N24SEEDS.JPG
    ROZANNE CRANESBILL GERANIUM

    Geranium "Gerwat"

    Size: Under 2 feet tall

    Bloom season: Spring, summer and fall

    Exposure: Full sun and partial shade

    Pruning needs: Little or none; may get lanky if overwatered

    Water needs: Once established, water deeply once a week.

    Snapshot: With large purple-blue flowers, this showy true geranium was honored as the 2008 Perennial of the Year. (It gets its "cranesbill" nickname from the shape of its seed pods.) From spring until frost, Rozanne is almost constantly in bloom. Ideal in mixed perennial beds, it does best with a little afternoon shade and well-drained soil. The silver-mottled foliage is attractive, too. In winter, hardy geraniums tolerate frost. You can see specimens near Mrak Hall on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a Favorite: "Geraniums make great fill-in plants, and the blue flowers of this one are eye-catching," said retired UC Davis botanist Marilynn Vilas. "Easy to grow and care for. Everyone should have this one!"

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    Blooms of Bressingham North America
  • CHILEAN LILY OF THE VALLEY TREE

    Crinodendron patagua

    Size: 15 to 25 feet tall

    Bloom season: Spring and summer

    Exposure: Full sun

    Pruning needs: Little or none

    Water needs: Once the tree is established, water deeply once or twice a month

    Snapshot: As the name implies, this South American native is known for its enchanting spring flowers. Its small, shiny evergreen foliage looks a lot like live oak. But in late spring and early summer, this tree produces masses of delicate, white, inch-long, bell-shaped flowers – like lilies of the valley, dancing overhead. Reliably heat- and drought-tolerant, this ornamental tree grows very upright with a narrow profile, making it a good screen or patio tree. You can see specimens in the arboretum's White Flower Garden on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a Favorite: "I especially love this glossy evergreen in early summer when it becomes a campanile of delightful ivory bells," said Warren Roberts, the arboretum's supervisor emeritus.

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    Ellen Zagory
  • PINEAPPLE GUAVA

    Acca sellowiana or Feijoa sellowiana

    Size: 8 to 12 feet tall

    Bloom season: Spring

    Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

    Pruning needs: Little or none; prune to shape

    Water needs: Once the plant is established, water deeply once or twice a month.

    Snapshot: You can have an attractive, drought-tolerant hedge – and grow tropical- tasting fruit, too. An edible ornamental, pineapple guava is gaining popularity in the Central Valley for its pretty, blue-green foliage, exotic flowers and flavorful fruit. Each spring, the white and red flowers (which are edible, too, and sweet) attract hummingbirds. In the fall, the smooth, silver-green fruit matures into 3-inch long kiwilike "berries" that taste like pineapple and make great preserves. You can see specimens in the Arboretum Terrace Garden on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a Favorite: "This plant is an easy-care, good looker with gray-green leaves," said arboretum volunteer Cindy Anders. "Prune it into a shrub or let it become a small tree. Exotic-looking red and white flowers taste incredibly sweet. Better yet, blooms become a delicious fruit that you can't find at the market!"

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    Owen Brewer | Bee file photo
  • RAY HARTMAN CALIFORNIA LILAC

    Ceanothus "Ray Hartman"

    Size: Up to 15 feet tall

    Bloom season: Spring

    Exposure: Full sun

    Pruning needs: Little or none; prune after bloom to shape

    Water needs: Once the plant is established, water deeply once or twice a month

    Snapshot: With its vibrant blue flowers, this California lilac ranks among the best for Sacramento-area gardens. The Ray Hartman hybrid of this native shrub is well-adapted to home landscapes because it can tolerate some summer irrigation. With handsome, dark-green foliage, it makes a good screen hedge or small specimen tree. Bees love it, too. You can see specimens in the Mary Wattis Brown Garden of California native plants on the UC Davis campus. The Sacramento Historic City Cemetery also has several Ray Hartman lilacs in its California native plant demonstration garden.

    Why it's a Favorite: "Who doesn't love our California lilacs covered with clouds of heavenly blue flowers?" said arboretum volunteer Linda Schmidt. " 'Ray Hartman' makes a real statement with its large size and shiny, dark-green foliage."

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  • CUT-LEAF LILAC

    Syringia x laciniata

    Size: 6 to 8 feet tall

    Bloom season: Spring

    Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

    Pruning needs: Little or none; prune after bloom to shape

    Water needs: Once the plant is established, water deeply every two weeks

    Snapshot: A hybrid with origins in 17th-century China, this true lilac is a favorite for its lacy foliage as well as its fragrant lavender flowers. This deciduous shrub bursts into bloom in midspring, but the attractive foliage keeps it pretty all summer and fall. It's also more drought-tolerant and disease-resistant than other lilacs. You can see specimens in the Arboretum Terrace Garden and the Ruth Risdon Storer Garden of "Valley-wise" plants on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a Favorite: "I love the fragrant blooms, which bring back memories of growing up back east," said state Sen. Lois Wolk, who represents Davis. "This lilac, unlike others, blooms well in Davis."

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    Lezlie Sterling | lsterling@sacbee.com
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    OTTO QUAST SPANISH LAVENDER Lavandula stoechas "Otto Quast"

    Size: Under 3 feet tall

    Bloom season: Spring

    Exposure: Full sun

    Pruning needs: Cut back to remove old flower stalks and keep compact

    Water needs: Once the plant is established, water deeply every two weeks

    Snapshot: Considered the showiest of all lavenders, the Otto Quast variety of Spanish lavender pumps out lots of beautiful purple blooms, attracting plenty of bees and butterflies. It thrives in sunny, dry conditions, making it ideal for drought-tolerant gardens. You can see specimens in the Arboretum Terrace Garden and the Ruth Risdon Storer Garden of Valley-wise plants on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a Favorite: "The flowers of this neat, fragrant, gray-green lavender are a real stand-out," said arboretum volunteer Linda Schmidt. "I love the medium-purple, bunny-ear bracts that stick up from the top of the darker purple flower heads."

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    Ellen Zagory | Special to The Bee
  • HYBRID SOAPWORT
    Saponaria x lempergii "Max Frei"
    Size: Under 1 foot tall
    Bloom season: Summer and fall
    Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    Pruning needs: Little or none; prune to maintain compact shape
    Water needs: Once the plant is established, water deeply every two weeks
    Snapshot: Hybrid soapwort has pretty, pink flowers that bloom through summer into autumn. Dependable in even the hottest weather, this low-growing perennial is perfect for rock gardens or around roses and taller plants. Its low maintenance and low-water needs make it ideal in Sacramento. You can see specimens in the arboretum's teaching nursery on the UC Davis campus.
    Why it's a Favorite: A "Beautiful clusters of pinkish purple blooms nonstop throughout the summer," said arboretum volunteer Chris Denton. "Low effort, high yield!"

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    Ellen Zagory /Special to The Bee
  • PINK GRUSS AN AACHEN FLORIBUNDA ROSE

    Rosa 'Grüss an Aachen'
    Size: 3 to 4 feet tall
    Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    Bloom season: Spring, summer and fall
    Pruning needs: Prune in winter. Remove spent flowers throughout season to promote bloom.
    Water needs: Once established, water deeply every one to two weeks.

    Snapshot: Originally introduced in 1929, this may be the perfect Sacramento rose for an eastern exposure. It's a "sport" (a natural mutation) of the first floribunda rose, the lighter pink Grüss an Aachen. This variety boasts beautiful pink flowers in showy sprays April through November. The blooms smell as good as they look. In fall, the rose hips look attractive, too. And the stems are nearly thornless. In hot Sacramento summers, this bush prefers afternoon shade to protect the leaves from sunburn. It also grows well in areas of the garden that receive less than six hours of sun a day. You can see specimens in the Ruth Risdon Storer Valley-Wise Garden on the UC Davis campus.

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    Ellen Zagory | UC Davis Arboretum
  • CANYON SNOW PACIFIC IRIS

    Iris 'Canyon Snow'
    Size: Under 2 feet
    Bloom season: Spring
    Exposure: Partial shade
    Pruning needs: Little or none; remove old flower stalks; can be dug up and divided in the fall.
    Water needs: Once established, water deeply every two weeks.

    Snapshot: With showy white flowers, this California native shines brightly in dappled shade. Canyon Snow is a tough hybrid of Pacific iris, found naturally up and down the coast. This drought-tolerant perennial grows and flowers with little if any maintenance. The narrow leaves form an attractive evergreen, grasslike mound. You can see specimens in the Arboretum's Mary Wattis Brown Garden of California native plants and the Arboretum Terrace Garden on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a favorite: "It's so stark and gorgeous, almost pure with its white-white petals and yellow tongue," said volunteer Adele Shaw of Davis. "It's very dramatic in the garden."

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    Ellen Zagory | UC Davis Arboretum
  • WINTER JASMINE

    Jasminum nudiflorum
    Size: Under 4 feet tall
    Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    Bloom season: Winter
    Pruning needs: Little or none; prune to shape after bloom.
    Water needs: Once established, water deeply once or twice a month.

    Snapshot: With glossy, dark-green stems exposed in winter, this attractive deciduous shrub's bright yellow flowers cheer up the winter garden. Although the blooms don't have that strong jasmine scent, this drought-tolerant variety can be used as an arching shrub or trained as a cascading vine. You can see specimens in the arboretum's Ruth Risdon Storer Valley-Wise Garden on the UC Davis campus.

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    UC Davis Arboretum
  • DEERGRASS

    Muhlenbergia rigens
    Size: 3 to 5 feet tall
    Bloom season: Summer
    Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    Pruning needs: Cut to ground every three years to renew.
    Water needs: Once established, water deeply every two weeks.

    Snapshot: Want the look of turf with less work? This grass needs mowing every three years. Tall and elegant, this California native moves with the breeze, swaying gently on a warm summer evening. Clumps can form a low, informal screen while adding interesting texture to a drought- tolerant garden. Flower stalks reach 5 feet tall. With almost no care and very little water, it looks great in combinations with other natives or on its own. You can see specimens in the Arboretum's Mary Wattis Brown Garden of California native plants and the Arboretum Terrace Garden on the UC Davis campus.

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    Owen Brewer | Sacramento Bee Staff Photo
  • LITTLE KITTEN MAIDEN GRASS

    Miscanthus sinensis "Little Kitten"
    Size: Blooms reach 3 feet tall.
    Bloom season: Summer.
    Exposure: Full sun.
    Pruning needs: Cut to ground in winter; divide clumps every two to three years.
    Water needs: Once established, water deeply every two weeks.

    Snapshot: Little Kitten is one of several dwarf varieties of this popular ornamental grass, also called Japanese silver grass. This variety is very compact, with clumps growing no more than 18 inches wide, which makes it a great choice for small gardens or containers. The feathery flowerheads add motion to the late summer garden. Besides being drought-tolerant, this grass thrives in clay soil and is deer resistant. You can see specimens of Little Kitten near Mrak Hall on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a favorite: "This is a little grass I grow in my own garden," said arboretum director Kathleen Socolofsky. "It's a beautiful, sculptured plant that dances in the breeze. I love it."

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    Ellen Zagory | UC Davis Arboretum
  • ESTRELLA DEL MAR ALOE

    Aloe 'Estrella del Mar'
    Size: Under 1 foot
    Bloom season: Spring and fall
    Exposure: Partial shade
    Pruning needs: Little or none; remove old flower stalks.
    Water needs: Once established, water deeply every two weeks.

    Snapshot: This "Star of the Sea" can be a star in your succulent or drought-tolerant garden. With a compact growing habit, this unusual clumping aloe features loose spirals of 8-inch long "arms." In spring and fall, it shoots up stalks of down-turned tubular orange flowers, rimmed in yellow and green. You can see specimens in the arboretum's Teaching Nursery on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a favorite: "Bright orange-red blooms create a sea of stars in late spring," says succulent expert Dick Bruga, a longtime UC Davis arboretum volunteer from Woodland. "Its compact form makes it easy to place in the garden."

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    Ellen Zagory | UC Davis Arboretum
  • GHOST PLANT

    Graptopetalum paraguayensis
    Size: Under 1 foot
    Bloom season: Spring
    Exposure: Partial shade
    Pruning needs: Little or none; remove old flower stalks.
    Water needs: Once established, water deeply every two weeks.

    Snapshot: Named for Paraguay but actually a native of Mexico, this little succulent's botanical name is a mouthful. In winter, it looks almost white, hence the "ghost plant" moniker. Its shiny light gray, almost pink fleshy leaves also give it another nickname: mother-of-pearl plant. The rosettes also sprout white flowers in spring. The plant easily spreads, staying close to the ground. The leaves can be very brittle and break off easily. Those lost leaves root easily, often forming new plants where they drop. You can see specimens in the arboretum's Teaching Nursery on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a favorite: "A great succulent for winter interest," says succulent expert Dick Bruga, a longtime UC Davis arboretum volunteer from Woodland. "It's a low rambler that works perfectly in the front of a border or a container. Very hardy!"

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    Ellen Zagory | UC Davis Arboretum
  • SISKIYOU BLUE FESCUE

    Festuca idahoensis 'Siskiyou Blue'
    Size: 1 to 3 feet
    Bloom season: Spring
    Exposure: Prefers partial shade
    Pruning needs: Little or none; remove old flower stalks in fall for tidy appearance.
    Water needs: Once established, water deeply every two weeks in sun; once a month in shade.

    Snapshot: Right at home in the Sacramento Valley, this Idaho native adds a striking note of bright spruce-blue foliage in the drought-tolerant garden. That blue color looks beautiful paired with silver-leaved plants. Taller than other fescues, it prefers dappled shade, making it a great choice for plantings under native oaks. In late spring, it produces tall light-tan flower spikes that flutter in the breeze. Another plus: It's deer resistant. You can see specimens in the arboretum's Teaching Nursery on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a favorite: "We love the silvery-blue foliage and the larger size of this native fescue," says Dick Bruga, a longtime UC Davis arboretum volunteer from Woodland. "It performs beautifully in dry, filtered shade, such as under our oak trees."

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    Ellen Zagory | UC Davis Arboretum
  • CLARET VERBENA

    Verbena "Claret"
    Size: 12 to 18 inches
    Bloom season: Spring, summer and fall.
    Exposure: Prefers sun; will tolerate afternoon shade.
    Pruning needs: Remove old flower stalks for tidy appearance and to encourage more flowers.
    Water needs: Once established, water deeply every two weeks.

    Snapshot: Want bees and butterflies to spend more time in your garden? A favorite for pollinators, this colorful perennial which is often treated as a mounding annual makes a great ground cover or border, blanketing beds with rich wine-red flowers. With trailing growth and plentiful blooms, it also looks attractive in a hanging basket or container. Ideal for Sacramento, easy-care verbena loves heat, sun and well-drained soil but will still bloom in areas with afternoon shade. This tough little beauty makes a perfect addition to a drought-tolerant butterfly garden. You can see specimens in the arboretum's Teaching Nursery at UC Davis.

    Why it's a favorite: "I love remembering this plant from my grandparent's farmhouse, where it lined the driveway and attracted countless bees," says The Bee's Debbie Arrington, who was asked by the arboretum to nominate her personal Community Favorite. "In summer, it is almost constantly in bloom, with rich, wine-red flowers that live up to its 'claret' name."

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    Ellen Zagory | UC Davis Arboretum
  • PALMER'S SEDUM

    Sedum palmeri
    Size: Under 1 foot
    Bloom season: Spring and summer
    Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    Pruning needs: Little or none
    Water needs: Once established, water deeply once or twice a month.

    Snapshot: With large clusters of rich golden-yellow, star-shaped flowers from April into September, this popular sedum offers a lot of color with little care. A low-growing perennial, it tolerates shade and drought. It can double as a ground cover over small areas or as a companion planting to larger shrubs. It works great in borders, too, and looks wonderful paired with dark foliage ground covers such as ajuga. You can see specimens in the Arboretum's Southwest Collection on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a favorite: "I like the beautiful yellow flowers and the fact that I can't kill it," said arboretum volunteer Lyn Taylor. "It is easy to propagate and share."

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    Ellen Zagory | UC Davis Arboretum
  • PURPLE SMOKE BUSH

    Cotinus coggygria 'Velvet Cloak'
    Size: Up to 10 feet tall
    Bloom season: Summer
    Exposure: Full sun
    Pruning needs: Little or none; prune in late winter to shape
    Water needs: Once established, water deeply once or twice a month.

    Snapshot: This spectacular shrub adds dramatic color and contrast to the drought-tolerant garden. Very adaptable, the smoke bush can handle moist conditions, too. In summer, billowy puffs of pink-purple flowers create interesting "smoke" clouds. The dark purple leaves turn an equally eye-catching brick red in fall. Another plus: Deer don't like to eat it. You can see specimens in the Arboretum's teaching nursery and outside the arboretum headquarters on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a favorite: "I love the purple leaves that stand out against the greens in the garden," said longtime arboretum volunteer Nancy Foster. "Its unusual flowers look like puffs of 'smoke' in summer."

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    Owen Brewer | Sacramento Bee Staff Photo
  • CALIFORNIA FUCHSIA

    Epilobium canum
    Size: 1 to 3 feet
    Bloom season: Summer and fall
    Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    Pruning needs: Cut to the ground after flowering in late fall
    Water needs: Water deeply once or twice a month

    Snapshot: In constant demand at UC Davis nursery sales, this perennial ranks among the most popular plants propagated by arboretum volunteers. In the hottest heat, this California native keeps putting out brilliant, lipstick-shaped flowers throughout summer and into fall. Tough and reliable, it's easy to grow and tolerates high temperatures and drought. Different varieties have interesting leaves, too, ranging from silver to bright green and narrow to broad. You can see specimens in the UC Davis Arboretum's Mary Wattis Brown Garden of California native plants on campus.

    Why it's a favorite: "The orange-red flowers of this incredibly tough, sun-loving native bring a much-needed spot of color to the fall garden," says nursery volunteer Chris Denton, who prefers the dwarf variety, Everett's Choice. A prolific bloomer, it's compact and does not form runners, unlike some varieties of this plant.

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    Ellen Zagory | UC Davis Arboretum
  • FLOWERING MAPLE

    Abutilon
    Size: Up to 6 feet; can be pruned smaller
    Bloom season: Mid-spring to late fall
    Exposure: Partial shade
    Pruning needs: Prune to shape in winter
    Water needs: Water deeply once a week

    Snapshot: Also nicknamed Indian mallow, this evergreen shrub has no relation to maple trees, but its pointy lobed leaves look similar. From mid-spring through fall, scores of bell-like flowers hang from its branches. It's hardy down to 20 degrees. The blooms of the shade-loving 'Apricot' variety Ð which stays compact and under 3 feet Ð feature soft coral petals below a cap of bright red-orange sepals. You can see specimens in the UC Davis Arboretum's teaching nursery on campus.

    Why it's a favorite: "I love the cute little red 'hat' that tops the delicate orange flower," said longtime arboretum volunteer Terry Davison, who prefers the apricot abutilon variety. "It grows quickly and fills in shady spots."

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    Florence Low | Sacramento Bee Staff Photo
  • BLUE WATERFALL BELLFLOWER

    Campanula poscharskyana 'Camgood'
    Size: Under 1 foot
    Bloom season: Late spring to early fall
    Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    Pruning needs: Remove spent flowers to prolong bloom; occasionally prune back foliage for tidy appearance; requires division every few years.
    Water needs: Water deeply once a week

    Snapshot: This trailing perennial is a hybrid Serbian bellflower, featuring months of bloom for little work. Bellflowers are an easygoing, deer- resistant ground cover that attract hummingbirds with their blankets of blooms. Blue Waterfall (also called Camgood) offers a steady stream of lavender blue, 1-inch, star-shaped blossoms that bloom reliably from late spring to early fall. The foliage remains evergreen in winter. Campanula appreciates moderately rich, well-drained soil. In particular, Blue Waterfall flows beautifully along bed edges and through rock gardens. You can see specimens in the UC Davis Arboretum's teaching nursery on campus.

    Why it's a favorite: "It has really long trailing flower stalks that hang down and are perfect for containers," said longtime arboretum volunteer Nancy Crosby. "The flowers are a beautiful medium-blue color."

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  • River friendly landscape at the California State Fair.
    REGAL VELVET KANGAROO PAW

    Anigozathos 'Regal Velvet'
    Size: Up to 4 feet
    Bloom season: Spring, summer, fall
    Exposure: Full sun
    Pruning needs: Remove flower stems after blooming.
    Water needs: Once established, water deeply once a week.

    Snapshot: An evergreen perennial, kangaroo paw thrives in well-drained, sandy or rocky soil with little care. This Australian native features shiny grasslike foliage that forms a 2-foot clump. But it's the unusual red, green and yellow fuzzy flowers Ð like little paws Ð that make people stop and stare. The profuse tubular flowers cover 4-foot stalks, attracting bees and beneficial insects. Hardy to 25 degrees, this variety withstands cold better than other kangaroo paws and also needs less grooming. You can see specimens in the Arboretum's South Australian collection on the east end of the University of California, Davis, campus.

    Why it's a favorite: "I love the velvety flowers and delicate yellow stamens," said longtime arboretum volunteer Terry Davison. "They are prolific and pop out of the ground brightly."

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    Michael Allen Jones | The Sacramento Bee
  • GEORGIA BLUE VERONICA

    Veronica umbrosa "Georgia Blue"
    Size: Up to 1 foot
    Bloom season: Spring and summer
    Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    Pruning needs: Little or none
    Water needs: Once established, water deeply every one to two weeks

    Snapshot: Also known as "speedwell," this tough and versatile ground cover puts up with a wide range of growing conditions. (This particular variety was discovered in the Republic of Georgia, not the state.) With very little maintenance, it thrives in sun or shade, can deal with excessive rain or drought and copes well with rocky soil or in spots where other plants struggle. In spring and summer, it transforms into a ground-hugging blanket of bright, blue flowers. A favorite of butterflies, veronica also can be used in containers, rock gardens (or rock walls) or as a companion ground cover over spring bulbs (even under trees). It's wonderful paired with daffodils. Forming an almost flat mat, its small, dark-green leaves turn glossy purple or deep burgundy in winter. You can see specimens in the UC Davis Arboretum's teaching nursery on campus.

    Why it's a favorite: "It grows almost anywhere with little to moderate water and (blue) flowers cover it in spring over green foliage with purple tones," said longtime arboretum volunteer Nancy Crosby. "It transplants easily, too."

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    UC Davis Arboretum
  • KENT BEAUTY ORNAMENTAL OREGANO

    Origanum "Kent Beauty"
    Size: Under 1 foot
    Bloom season: Spring, summer, early fall
    Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    Pruning needs: Little or none; cut to ground in winter
    Water needs: Once established, water deeply once a week

    Snapshot: This isn't your pantry's oregano. With large heart-shaped leaves, this trailing ornamental oregano softens the edges of walls or containers with cascades of pastel pink and chartreuse bracts. Tucked into the bracts, the tiny actual flowers are pale pink and turn purple as they dry. Great for hanging baskets or rock gardens. Besides being an attractive garden addition, this oregano can be dried for use in crafts or arrangements. And it smells good, too. The edible leaves can be used like culinary oregano although they're not as pungent. A vigorous grower, it performs well in partial shade as well as sun but does not handle foot traffic well. Drought- tolerant, it needs good drainage and does extremely well in gritty, sandy soil. You can see specimens in the UC Davis Arboretum's teaching nursery on campus.

    Why it's a favorite: "It's a good plant for trailing over a wall or container with soft, subtle colors," said longtime arboretum volunteer Nancy Crosby. "It is a profuse bloomer and tidy plant when not in bloom."

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    Ellen Zagory | UC Davis Arboretum
  • BABY SUN COREOPSIS

    Coreopsis lanceolata "Sonnenkind"
    Size: Under 2 feet
    Bloom season: Summer, fall
    Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    Pruning needs: Remove spent flowers in summer to keep plants in bloom; cut back to ground in winter.
    Water needs: Once established, water deeply once a week

    Snapshot: Looking for a summer flower that keeps on giving? Coreopsis also known as tickseed offers lots of bloom with little work. This perennial forms clumps that will be covered throughout the summer with daisylike gold flowers. In fall, the blooms turn a burnished gold. While staying compact, the Baby Sun variety which can have a dark maroon splotch at the base of each petal is exceptionally free-flowering. Bees and beneficial insects like it, too. You can see specimens in the UC Davis Arboretum's teaching nursery on campus.

    Why it's a favorite: "It has bright yellow flowers that bloom forever," said Nancy Foster, a longtime volunteer in the arboretum nursery. "I like to use the flowers in bouquets because they make the other colors pop."

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    Monrovia Nurseries
  • TOWER OF JEWELS

    Echium wildpretii
    Size: 4 to 8 feet
    Bloom season: Late spring, summer, fall
    Exposure: Full sun
    Pruning needs: Little or none; remove flower stalk before it goes to seed to control spread.
    Water needs: Once established, water deeply every one to two weeks

    Snapshot: This unusual biennial is a show-stopper in the drought-tolerant garden. Bees and hummingbirds love it, too. The first year, the plant forms dense rosettes of silver foliage. But in its second spring, Tower of Jewels sprouts a massive column of bright red or blue tubular flowers. The "tower" often reaches 6 to 8 feet tall. After two seasons, the whole plant dies back, but it freely reseeds if allowed. Tower of Jewels prefer well-drained soil and sunny conditions, but need protection from wind; otherwise, the towers tumble. You can see specimens in the UC Davis Arboretum's teaching nursery on campus.

    Why it's a favorite: "Tower of Jewels is bedazzling in its tall and architectural blooming glory," said arboretum volunteer Francesca Claverie. "My favorite biennial of all!"

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    Owen Brewer | The Sacramento Bee
  • HEN AND CHICKS

    Echeveria "Imbricata"
    Size: Under 1 foot
    Bloom season: Spring
    Exposure: Partial shade
    Pruning needs: Little or none; remove old flower stalks.
    Water needs: Once established, water deeply every two weeks.

    Snapshot: This old "hen" has come back to roost again. A longtime favorite, this popular succulent spreads by producing plantlets ("chicks") that slowly cover the ground. The sculptured foliage forms rosettes that look like blue-green flowers, but the blooms are actually carried on bright pink spikes each spring. This succulent is naturally drought-tolerant and makes an interesting edging in partial shade. You can see specimens in the arboretum's Ruth Risdon Storer Valley-Wise Garden on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a favorite: "I love this humble little plant that likes being tucked into corners and is happy just about anywhere," said arboretum volunteer Ernie Lewis.

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    Ellen Zagory | UC Davis Arboretum
  • HONEY BUSH

    Melianthus major
    Size: 6 to 8 feet
    Bloom season: Spring
    Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    Pruning needs: Little or none; remove old flower stalks. Cut runners to keep plant from spreading.
    Water needs: Once established, water deeply every two weeks.
    Snapshot: A native of South Africa, this striking drought- tolerant plant has distinctive, large blue-green leaves with sawtooth edges. When crushed, they smell like peanuts. The foliage grows in large clumps. But it's the flower stalk that gives this plant its sweet nickname. In spring, the clump shoots up a tall, dark-red flower spike. The flowers drip sweet sticky nectar Ð like honey Ð and attract hummingbirds better than any feeder. You can see specimens in the Arboretum Terrace Garden on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a favorite: "I have used this as the centerpiece of many a perennial flower bed," said arboretum volunteer Mary Patterson. "The beautiful gray-blue foliage is the perfect foil for bright colors, and the pleated leaves add texture year-round."

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    Florence Low | The Sacramento Bee
  • SILK TASSEL BUSH

    Garrya elliptica 'Evie'
    Size: 6 to 10 feet
    Bloom season: Late winter, early spring
    Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    Pruning needs: Little or none; prune to shape.
    Water needs: Once established, water deeply every two weeks.

    Snapshot: Also called coast silk-tassel, this slow-growing native shrub grows in the coastal ranges of Northern California and southern Oregon. Drought-tolerant, it thrives in dry, well-drained soils, but can handle summer water, too. Salt- and wind-tolerant, this evergreen shrub can grow as wide as it is tall with a well-rounded shape and makes an excellent screen or informal hedge. But it's the cascading flowers that give this bush its nickname. In late winter, foot-long catkins of creamy-white flowers with a maroon tinge hang like silk tassels from the branches. You can see specimens in the Arboretum Terrace Garden on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a Favorite: "I love this evergreen California native plant because of its long, silky tassels," said Carmia Feldman, the arboretum's assistant director. "It's stunning in the winter and early spring."

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    Ellen Zagory | UC Davis Arboretum
  • PURPLE FALSE HOLLY or HOLLY OLIVE

    Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Purpureus'
    Size: 6 to 10 feet tall
    Bloom season: Fall
    Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    Pruning needs: Little or none
    Water needs: Once the plant is established, water deeply every one to two weeks.
    Snapshot: With leaves that look like holly, this slow-growing, dense shrub makes a dependable, low-maintenance screen or hedge in partial shade, even on the north side of buildings where other shrubs often refuse to grow. It thrives with low or medium irrigation and tolerates heavy clay soil. New foliage is tinged with purple and slowly turns dark green. The white blooms have a fabulous fragrance and attract beneficial insects. You can see specimens in the arboretum's White Flower Garden near the gazebo on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a Favorite: "This 'false holly' gets its name from the deep purple of its new growth," said arboretum community outreach manager Margaret Kralovec. "Tiny, powerfully fragrant flowers are a welcome treat in fall."

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    Ellen Zagory | UC Davis Arboretum
  • GARNET GERANIUM

    Pelargonium sidoides
    Size: Under 2 feet tall
    Bloom season: Late spring, summer
    Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    Pruning needs: Little or none; cut off spent flower stems to keep plant tidy
    Water needs: Once the plant is established, water deeply every two weeks.

    Snapshot: Nicknamed South African geranium for its country of origin, this hardy perennial is grown mostly for its pretty foliage and grows great in drought-tolerant borders, rock gardens and containers. The leaves are mildly aromatic, heart-shaped and velvety. A favorite of bees, the distinctive dark, reddish-purple (almost black) flowers start popping up in late spring but are especially abundant in summer. This pretty plant does well in all sorts of soil, especially gravelly or sandy spots, but will tolerate clay, too. An adaptation to its native grasslands, its underground rootlike branches help it survive drought and fire. You can see specimens in the arboretum's Ruth Risdon Storer Garden of Valley-Wise Plants on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a favorite: "A lovely plant that provides year-round texture to the garden," said longtime arboretum volunteer Jim Fowler, a Yolo County master gardener. "Honeybees love its burgundy, late-summer blooming flowers."

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    Ellen Zagory/ | UC Davis Arboretum
  • SPANISH SAGE

    Salvia lavandulifolia
    Size: Under 2 feet tall
    Bloom season: Late spring, summer
    Exposure: Full sun
    Pruning needs: Little or none; cut off spent flower stems to keep plant tidy
    Water needs: Once the plant is established, water deeply every two weeks

    Snapshot: This pretty and compact sage forms a low carpet of downy, silvery gray foliage that adds texture and sparkle to the dry garden. Its pale lavender 1-inch blooms form loose whorls that hummingbirds can't resist. A native of rocky terrain in Spain, this sage has a stronger flavor and aroma than common garden sage. Spanish cooks love its intensity. This sage also is popular for scenting soaps and potpourri. More pluses: It's deer resistant and hardy to 20 degrees. That makes it a great choice for foothill gardens. You can see specimens in the arboretum's Ruth Risdon Storer Garden of Valley-Wise Plants and the Mediterranean garden on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a favorite: "I admire this low-spreading salvia for its carefree success in dry gardens, the attractive gray-green sage leaves and the pale lavender flowers," said Warren Roberts, the arboretum's superintendent emeritus and popular guide to the gardens.

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    UC Davis Arboretum
  • WHITE OXALIS

    Oxalis purpurea "Alba"
    Size: Under 1 foot tall
    Bloom season: Late winter, spring
    Exposure: Partial shade
    Pruning needs: Little or none
    Water needs: Once the plant is established, water deeply every one to two weeks

    Snapshot: Growing from underground corms, this pretty little flower makes itself at home in rock gardens and dry shade. The white flowers open when the sun comes out. This variety stays more compact and spreads less than its weedy cousins. It forms cloverlike cushions of foliage in winter, blooms through early spring, then goes dormant in summer. You can see specimens in the arboretum's gazebo garden on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a favorite: "This pure white blossom caught my eye at an Arboretum plant sale, and I had to have it for my 'white garden,' " said arboretum volunteer Candace Cross-Drew. "More than 10 years later, I am still delighted with the flowers!"

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    Ellen Zagory | UC Davis Arboretum
  • DWARF OAKLEAF HYDRANGEA

    Hydrangea quercifolia "Pee Wee"
    Size: Under 3 feet tall
    Bloom season: Summer Exposure: Partial shade; can take full sun with afternoon shade
    Pruning needs: Little or none; prune to shape in winter
    Water needs: Once the plant is established, water deeply every one to two weeks

    Snapshot: One of the few hydrangeas native to North America, this pretty deciduous shrub offers both lovely white flowers in summer and gorgeous fall foliage. In October, the bright green leaves turn rich purple or bronze, making this bush stand out in the autumn garden. Unlike other hydrangeas, oakleafs (which get their name from their distinctive foliage) prefer dry soil with excellent drainage and can withstand more sun than their lace-cap cousins. The dwarf "Pee Wee" variety stays compact, making it ideal for smaller gardens. You can see specimens in the arboretum's gazebo garden on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a favorite: "I love how this deciduous hydrangea magically leafs out in spring with large woodland-like leaves that change from green to brilliant bronze-purple in fall," said Dorothy Yerxa, a volunteer at the arboretum's teaching nursery. "Tough and beautiful!"

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    Scott Lorenzo | The Sacrmento Bee
  • "SMOKE" COAST ROSEMARY

    Westringia fruticosa "Smokie"
    Size: 4 to 6 feet tall
    Bloom season: Spring, summer, fall
    Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    Pruning needs: Prune to shape; can be sheared into a hedge
    Water needs: Once the plant is established, water deeply every two weeks

    Snapshot: The thin leaves of this evergreen shrub remind gardeners of rosemary (hence the nickname), but this Australian native loves sunny California. Naturally drought-resistant and long- lived, it forms a dense bush up to 6 feet tall and wide. Tinged with violet, the small, white flowers make it a favorite for beneficial insects. The variegated "Smokie" variety stays more compact than other kinds of coast rosemary. Its distinctive leaves have cream-colored margins, making it a very attractive shrub. It's also hardy down to 20 degrees and can tolerate wind. You can see specimens in the arboretum's Australian collection on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a favorite: "This compact variety seems hardier than the others, and its white foliage really shines in light shade," said GATEways horticulturist Ryan Deering, a member of the arboretum's staff.

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    Ellen Zagory | UC Davis Arboretum
  • GOLDEN LADIES' EARDROPS

    Fuchsia magellanica var. gracilis 'Aurea'
    Size: 4 to 5 feet tall
    Bloom season: Summer, fall
    Exposure: Partial shade
    Pruning needs: Prune to shape
    Water needs: Once the plant is established, water deeply once or twice a week

    Snapshot: Among the hardiest of fuchsias and easiest to grow, this pretty perennial has gold-toned foliage to go with its pendantlike red and purple flowers. Hummingbirds can't resist them. This golden fuchsia makes an ideal potted plant and loves a spot on a shaded patio. Good drainage is a key to its success; it can't stand soggy soil. You can see specimens in the arboretum's teaching nursery on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a favorite: "I can never resist the beautiful and delicate flower of this species that I always wish could be made into a pair of earrings!" said Ellen Zagory, the arboretum's director of horticulture. "Needing shade and plenty of water, it can be grown on a porch or windowsill where you can enjoy it close up."

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    Ellen Zagory | UC Davis Arboretum
  • STINKING MADDER

    Putoria calabrica
    Size: Under 1 foot
    Bloom season: Summer
    Exposure: Full sun
    Pruning needs: Little or none
    Water needs: Once the plant is established, water deeply once a week

    Snapshot: This ground-hugging shrub's nickname may not be pretty, but the abundant pink flowers add interest to the rock garden. But don't step on the leaves; they emit an unpleasant scent when crushed. Slowgrowing, this Mediterranean evergreen stays only a few inches tall while spreading about a foot wide. It's virtually pest-free and can withstand intense summer heat. Drought-tolerant, it prefers well-drained soil and lots of sun. You can see specimens in the arboretum's Mediterranean collection on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a favorite: "A favorite of mine for years; I love the delightful clusters of long-blooming pink flowers which are followed by small, cherryred berries," said retired UC Davis botanist Marilynn Vilas. "Looks fantastic draped over rocks."

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    Manuel M. Ramos | UC Davis Arboretum
  • TROPICANNA CANNA

    Canna indica 'Phasion'
    Size: Up to 5 feet
    Bloom season: Summer, fall
    Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    Pruning needs: Cut back to ground in winter
    Water needs: Once the plant is established, water deeply once a week

    Snapshot: With dramatic striped foliage, this attractive perennial adds tropical flare to any garden. Its upright stalks stand out in the back of flower beds. Bright-orange flowers contrast with dark-red leaves striped with yellow and pink. A natural beside pools and water gardens, this canna also is a favorite of modern garden designers. It grows well in containers, too, for patio plantings. You can see specimens in the arboretum's teaching nursery on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a favorite: "While many people think of cannas as high water (users), they can actually be grown with less water and in part shade for the tropical foliage in summer," said Ellen Zagory, the arboretum's horticulture director. "This one has beautiful orange, red and maroon striping that pops out and above a mixed planting."

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    Monrovia Nurseries
  • SOUTHERN GLOBE THISTLE

    Echinops ruthenicus,
    Size: Up to 3 feet tall
    Bloom season: Mid-spring to early summer
    Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    Pruning needs: Little or none; remove spent flower heads
    Water needs: Once the plant is established, water deeply once a week

    Snapshot: This artichoke cousin is a hit with bees, butterflies and birds. Each spring, it produces big, blue globelike flowers above its crown of interesting silver-gray foliage. Drought-tolerant, this perennial can be used in xeriscapes as well as flower beds. It self-sows freely, so deadhead spent blooms unless you want many, many thistles the next spring. You can see specimens in the arboretum's teaching nursery on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a favorite: "I love designing with the glowing globes of these blue flowers," said Emily Griswold, the arboretum's assistant director of horticulture. "It's a great shape to contrast with wispy grasses or spiky salvias."

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    Ellen Zagory | UC Davis Arboretum
  • BLUE BEAKED YUCCA

    Yucca rostrata 'Sapphire Skies'
    Size: Up to 5 feet tall
    Bloom season: Summer
    Exposure: Full sun
    Pruning needs: Little or none
    Water needs: Once the plant is established, water deeply every two to three weeks

    Snapshot: Add a lot of impact with little water or effort. Easy care, this slow-growing yucca produces a big burst of dramatic blue-green foliage, almost as wide as it is tall. Evergreen, it's frost-hardy as well as drought-tolerant and can grow in gravelly soil. It grows great in containers, too. You can see specimens in the arboretum's teaching nursery on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a favorite: "One of my favorites for a sunny spot Ð like a living fireworks explosion of beautiful blue!" said Ryan Deering, the arboretum's GATEways horticulturist. "This plant is also a more compact and less spiny cousin of the (Arboretum) All-Star Dasylirion wheeleri (desert spoon)."

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    Ellen Zagory | UC Davis Arboretum
  • INDIAN CHEIF SEDUM

    Hylotelephium spectabile 'Indian Chief'
    Size: Up to 2 feet
    Bloom season: Late summer, fall.
    Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.
    Pruning needs: Little or none; remove spent flower heads.
    Water needs: Once the plant is established, water deeply once a week.

    Snapshot: Providing lots of show with little work or water, this easy-grow perennial pumps out loads of coppery-pink flowers in late summer that gradually turn deep red. Butterflies can't resist. Drought-tolerant and heat-loving, it thrives during Sacramento summers with weekly watering once established. Good drainage is a must. It prefers gravelly soils and can make itself at home in rocky locations. You can see specimens in the arboretum's teaching nursery on the UC Davis campus.

    Why it's a favorite: "I love succulents and this plant is great because it brightens up the garden in the fall, when everything else is starting to fade," said arboretum curator Mia Ingolia. "An added plus is that it is wonderfully drought- and heat-tolerant."

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    illustration by Jim Chaffee | The Sacramento Bee
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