This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Community Favorites, 75 can't-fail, easy-care plants well-adapted to our region and recommended by local gardeners.
Caledonia bush veronica
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."
Read more about the Arboretum's 75th anniversary at arboretum75th.ucdavis.edu. For more on the Community Favorites and Arboretum All-Stars, click on arboretum.ucdavis.edu.
See a photo gallery of the Community Favorites online at www.sacbee.com/ home_garden.