Gaura also goes by bee blossom, wand flower, and whirling butterflies, and if you see it growing you totally understand where these fanciful names come from. Dainty pink flowers dance on long sprays of thin stems that shoot up from the ground. The flowers start in early spring and continue on until winter comes.
Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans)
Salvias (sages) are a wide-ranging group of plants native to a variety of habitats around the world. What they seem to have in common are brightly colored, tubular shaped flowers that hummingbirds and butterflies just love. This particular Sage is no exception, and has the added bonus of sweet smelling leaves that give off a pineapple scent (hence the name). The leaves and flowers are both edible, and are usually used fresh.
Friend or Foe? Ladybug (Coccinellidae)
Most definitely friend!! Though this bizarre looking creature may give you the heebie-jeebies just looking at it, you will want to welcome them with open arms. You are looking at the juvenile stage of everyone’s favorite aphid-eater: the ladybug!
California Fuchsia “Silver Select” (Epilobium canum ssp.)
It was by pure accident that I discovered California fuchsias. The Old Man and I were in the process of transforming our dull, and rather dead (thank you drought), yard into a more water-wise and heat tolerant landscape. An internet search for drought tolerant plants to use led us to the discovery of a nursery, not too terribly far away in the neighboring foothills, that specializes in California native plants, which by their nature are rather used to not getting much rain.
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Orange Mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua)
This has to be one of the most interesting plants in our garden. The small, but profuse, orange blossoms coat the stems that emanate from the base of the plant and stick around for months on end. The leaves are an eye-catching bright green. Plant this and you will be able to enjoy the quintessential hum of summer as bumblebees and hummingbirds will flock to your yard. When the sun shines on it just right, the flowers seem to glow like magical little lights.