Water-Efficient Landscape Gardens in June
At this time, the garden is temporarily closed and our Open Garden has been canceled for Saturday, June 20.
Click here for resources about gardening with limited water.
Although the calendar says summer arrives June 21 our early June weather feels like we are in midsummer now. The garden is definitely trying on it’s summer wardrobe. Many of our ornamental grasses are starting their long lasting bloom cycles as fresh yellow, green and pink flower heads dry and fade to golden browns that catch the light and shimmer as accents and background screens. Fresh blossoms of summer flowering sages, goldenrod, hummingbird plant, and santolina (and more…come visit!) delight the eyes and beckon birds, bees and other beneficials. Occasionally, we are able to spot a ‘Big Orange Bee’ or BOB, the amber colored, non-stinging, green-eyed male Valley carpenter bee, also known as a ‘Teddy Bear’ bee. See information about attracting beneficial insects to your garden (PDF 171kb).
Garden chores this month include weeding out newly germinating annual weeds such as bedstraw, spotted spurge, and oxalis before they set seed, controlling bindweed and pulling up oak and other tree sprouts while watching out for garden pests and diseases. (A good guide to identifying and controlling weeds can be found at http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/weeds_all.html).
In addition to the plants, pathways, patios, raised planters, drip irrigation, a dry creek bed and permeable pavement demonstrate water wise, sustainable alternatives for gardeners who are considering replacing or reducing their lawns.
This native of Uruguay is an amazingly durable and long blooming perennial plant. The blooms can be up to 2 feet tall and the mounding plant may reach 3 feet across. Stems and leaves are covered with velvety gray felt which makes a dramatic setting for the tubular orange flowers which are produced summer into fall that are beloved by hummingbirds.
Preferring full sun and good drainage the plant is not picky about soil types. (Ours is planted on a slight slope to improve drainage). It dies back in winter but regrows in spring which makes it a good choice for areas where spring bulbs can star before it comes back to life.
Eriogonum umbellatum var. polyanthum
This native of Northern California mountain areas adapts well to our climate and soil. It grows as a mounding small semi-evergreen subshrub 1-1/2 feet tall to 3 feet wide. The bright yellow pom-pom like spring blossoms dry to a long lasting sulfur colored seed head. It can tolerate some shade and prefers good drainage.
Just inside the entrance gate to the Horticulture center garden, a visitor first sees the glorious Hesperaloe parviflora, or coral yucca, growing in the center planter. Its clusters of rose-pink flower stalks arch up and outward like fireworks just in time for the 4th of July.
Native to the Chihuahuan desert of west Texas east and south into central and south Texas and northeastern Mexico around Coahuila, the coral yucca has become popular throughout California and the Southwest. Some of its qualities include drought tolerance, heat resistance, low maintenance needs, hummingbird-attracting flowers, and an architectural form. In addition, it has few disease or pest problems.
A UC Davis Arboretum All-Star selection.
Punica granatum ‘Nana’
Pomegranates, natives of Northern Africa, Afghanistan, Iran, and the Himalayas, have been in California since the 1770s. Featured at the entrance to our commonly available garden, this dwarf variety blooms from spring to fall. Small fall ripening fruit is primarily decorative. Mostly evergreen here, it will lose its leaves if frosted. Tolerant of many soil types including alkaline soils, as well as heat, cold, and drought tolerant, it makes a good foundation shrub, hedge, accent or small tree. ‘Nana’ grows to 3 feet high by 6 feet wide.
Salvia clevelandii ‘Whirly Blue’, Winnifred Gilman’
These California native, sun loving, small evergreen shrubs grow 3 to 5 feet tall and 5 to 8 feet wide. Brilliant blue-violet flower whirls on maroon colored stems appear from spring to early summer. Flowers invite hummingbirds, butterflies and beneficial insects to visit, and make attractive dried flowers. A member of the sage family, it has an easily recognized aromatic fragrance when the leaves are bushed lightly. Heat and drought tolerant once established.
‘Winnifred Gilman’ is a UC Davis Arboretum All-Star.
Salvia greggii ‘Hot Lips’, ‘Lipstick’, Raspberry’, ‘Red Lady’, ‘Blaze’, ‘Sparkle’
Commonly called Autumn sage, these evergreen members of the sage family with charming red, pink, red and white blooms (depending upon variety) start blooming in spring and often bloom non-stop through fall, especially if spent flower stalks are pruned back. They typically grow 1 to 4 feet tall and wide. If properly sited in full sun or part shade, they are practically "goof proof," easy care, drought tolerant plants that attract hummingbirds, bees and other beneficial insects. They can be pruned in late winter to keep compact.